Back in April, Han Hill delivered a secular invocation at a meeting of the Wilmington City Council in North Carolina. (He was labeled a “Humanist Minister,” though “Humanist Celebrant” would have been more accurate.)
It was short and sweet:
As the council gathers here to make laws affecting the people of Wilmington I ask you to lift your heads, to open your eyes and open your hearts.
Our most serious duty is to look to the community we share, the examples we make, and the legacies we leave. That should be our greatest, most courageous and noble intention.
Let this be our most constant success. Thank you.
Hill braced himself for the worst, but he ended up receiving a very different reaction:
From my vantage point I could see every reaction of the elected officials. Heads initially bowed out of habit were slowly raised. I had expected frowns, but found none. I suspect that some had thought I would denounce religion and were now pleasantly surprised. I then noticed that several members greeted my words with nods and smiles — a very unexpected approval.
The lesson I have taken is that positive human values of community, social responsibility, rational thought and action can thrive without any need for Christian or other religious trappings. Humanist thinking can find acceptance even here in the South. This is the truth of our human spirit and we must never stop invoking it.
Hats off to him for taking the opportunity to make our voice heard at the city council meeting. This was especially meaningful since the Wilmington council has been shown to promote Christianity in not-so-subtle ways during invocations in the past, leading the American Humanist Association to consider litigation against them.