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News & Politics News & Politics

Florida county unanimously bans atheists from delivering invocations at public meetings

Posted by on Aug. 20, 2014 at 9:52 AM
  • 44 Replies

Florida county unanimously bans atheists from delivering invocations at public meetings

Wednesday, August 20, 2014 8:39 EDT

brevard county commission

The county commission in Brevard County, Florida, voted unanimously on Wednesday to prohibit atheists from offering invocations at public meetings, Hemant Mehta reports.

The commissioners voted to send a letter to David Williamson, founder of the Central Florida Freethought Community, indicating that his group doesn’t qualify to deliver the invocation because it is defined as “an opening prayer, presented by members of our faith community.”

“The prayer is delivered during the ceremonial portion of the county’s meeting, and typically invokes guidance for the County Commission from the highest spiritual authority, a higher authority which a substantial body of Brevard constituents believe to exist,” the letter reads. “The invocation is also meant to lend gravity to the occasion, to reflect values long part of the county’s heritage, and to acknowledge the place religion holds in the lives of many private citizens in Brevard County.”

As county resident Joseph Richardson noted during Tuesday’s meeting, if a government activity requires the exclusion of “atheists, humanists, or any segment of your population, no matter how small, from full participation in government activities — if any government activity requires such an exclusion, then that activity is patently unfair, unequal, unconstitutional, and should no longer be a part of the government.”

He went on to compare the exclusion of atheists by comparing the commission’s decision to relegate atheist statement to a “Public Comment” session at the conclusion of meetings to pre-Civil Rights era separate-but-equal statutes.

David Kearns, a candidate for the Florida House of Representatives, followed by noting that the commission’s decision to only allows religious groups to offer invocations could have unintended consequences. “You could have the Spaghetti Monster people here,” he said. “You’re going to have the Wicca here. You’re throwing down the gauntlet against people who might not believe precisely as you do.”

The commission responded to Kearns assertion by asking him where he got the impression that only specific groups of faiths would be allowed to offer invocations. When he responded, “the newspaper,” Commissioner Trudie Infantini said, “you may want to do other research than the paper, I’m just going to throw that out there. Because sometimes I’ve found it to be a little bit less than accurate.”

“My staff and I, we search — I don’t have any specific religion in mind, we will go anywhere” she said, before directly contradicting herself. “Wait — not anywhere. No, not anywhere.”

After the meeting, Williamson told Florida Today that he would consult with legal experts about how to proceed.

Watch the August 19, 2014 debate below via David Williamson on YouTube.

by on Aug. 20, 2014 at 9:52 AM
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Replies (1-10):
mcdun
by Humboldt California on Aug. 20, 2014 at 11:38 AM

Wow, i'm not an atheist and still think this is messed up, i'm so happy I don't live in Florida.  

TCgirlatheart
by TC on Aug. 20, 2014 at 1:31 PM
*facepalm*
Clairwil
by Platinum Member on Aug. 20, 2014 at 1:42 PM
2 moms liked this

So that's what a summoning of the Church of Satan looks like.

AdrianneHill
by Bronze Member on Aug. 20, 2014 at 3:00 PM
Oh they are so going to regret that. Flying spaghetti monster will be slapping those people with wet noodles any day now
-Celestial-
by Platinum Member on Aug. 20, 2014 at 6:13 PM
5 moms liked this

Atheists pay taxes and get no voice.

Churches pay no taxes and get special privileges.

romalove
by SenseandSensibility on Aug. 20, 2014 at 6:24 PM
2 moms liked this
But the atheists shouldn't sue for equal time because that makes them bad. Good atheists suck it up.
PamR
by Platinum Member on Aug. 20, 2014 at 6:44 PM
1 mom liked this
If atheists are allowed to participate, it's Christian persecution.
D-Town
by Silver Member on Aug. 20, 2014 at 8:16 PM
1 mom liked this

Personally, I do not believe an invocation should be done at all during a meeting of our government officials. 


With that being said, an invocation is a prayer. Who are atheists going to pray to? 

Farmlady09
by Silver Member on Aug. 20, 2014 at 10:39 PM
6 moms liked this

By definition, an invocation is a prayer ~ and while I may be wrong, I was under the impression that Atheists don't pray. By default, they should be JUST as offended by a prayer offered up to the Spaghetti Monster as one to God, or Allah.

Atheists hardly suffer from no voice in this country. They are in every courtroom, and judges side with them. I personally have come to believe that Atheists DO have a god. They call it 'judge', although they seem to prefer collective tithing rather than personal. Whatever.

All of that being said, the government of the US is that of a democratic republic. It's a government OF the people and FOR the people. You can no more eliminate all religion from elected officials than you can compel it of them. Atheists need to learn that they have the freedom to choose no religion, but not that of silencing all religion (thus compelling people around them to give lip service to their beliefs while ridiculously refusing to show any tolerance or respect for the beliefs of others). If you won't show tolerance, you don't deserve any ... and if you (generic ~ for all Atheists) wish to deliver an invocation, you are either demanding to get up in front of people and lie ... or mock them. Both are really bad form.

Pema_Jampa
by 2HotTacoTini on Aug. 20, 2014 at 10:45 PM
2 moms liked this

http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/politics/2014/07/16/atheist-invocation/12726957/

Example of an atheist invocation.

Quoting D-Town:

Personally, I do not believe an invocation should be done at all during a meeting of our government officials. 


With that being said, an invocation is a prayer. Who are atheists going to pray to? 


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