Elected officials in Brown County, Wisconsin have a long habit of opening their meetings with Christian prayers.
Even in 2012, the Freedom From Religion Foundation was telling the County Board to put a stop to invocations that included mentions of Jesus and ended with “In Jesus’ precious name, Amen.” That was before the Supreme Court ruled those kinds of prayers were legal, but even now, they would be illegal if they’re the only prayers ever offered.
And that’s exactly what’s going on. The prayers are no longer as explicit, but they’re still undoubtedly Christian.
Supervisor Patrick Evans thinks he has a way to resolve this controversy, though: Let the voters decide!
On Monday night, the Catholic official proposed putting Christian invocations to a vote this November:
Evans on Monday submitted his proposal to the board office, the first step in having supervisors discuss the proposal. The measure would get its first public airing next week, when the Executive Committee would discuss it.
The proposed wording: “Should the Brown County Board of Supervisors continue to open their monthly board meeting with a Christian-style (prayer) invocation?”
Evans, who’s running to become mayor of Green Bay, is apparently unfamiliar with how laws work. The people don’t get to vote on whether or not they want to follow the rules. Even a unanimous vote wouldn’t make Christians prayers at government meetings legal, just as high school seniors don’t get to choose whether they want formal prayers at graduation.
How does Evans not know this?
And then, just to make everything worse, Evans kept talking.
He was voicing his opposition to his colleagues’ proposal to open up the invocations to people who aren’t Christians — which would make everything legal. His argument was that he didn’t want non-Christians offering prayers at meetings. Somehow, he made that awful sentiment even worse:
“There are some supervisors that want to open it up to anybody who comes in. Somebody wants to pray to trees, then they want to come in and pray. If they are Wiccan, they pray to the devil, they want them to come in as well; so I support where we have it now, having it Christian based,” said Evans.
Having the prayers be “Christian based” is a lawsuit waiting to happen. That’s illegal. It’s a clear establishment of Christianity by the government. He’s admitting that. Because he’s not a smart man.
Also, Wiccans don’t pray to the devil. And they’re pissed that Evans is suggesting they’re part of the dark side.
Lady Liberty League, a group that supports civil rights and religious freedom for Wiccans and Pagans, objected to Evans’ assertion that they worship “the devil.”
[Said Lady Liberty League Assistant Director Dianne Duggan:]
“… We suggest that Mr. Evans and any others who are misinformed become better educated and be more understanding about various world religions and the need to provide equal accommodation to all and by all in the public sector. In addition, it would be useful for any similarly-minded government representatives to become better versed in the separation of church and state within our country.”
I’m not surprised that Evans doesn’t know the basics about the very groups he’s criticizing. That’s how the anti-church/state separation crowd operates. It’s all ignorance, all the time.
Brown County has only two options: put a stop to the invocations altogether or make sure they’re open to everyone, including atheists, Muslims, Wiccans, and Satanists (who, while we’re at it, also don’t worship the devil).
That’s it. Let everyone in or keep everyone out. If the supervisors go through with a referendum on the subject and keep the Christian-only prayers in place, they will be sued, they will lose, and taxpayers will be on the hook for their irresponsibility.
(Screenshot via YouTube. Thanks to Brian and Jack for the link)