You may recall that Mayor John Rees, the leader of the Winter Garden City Commissioners (in Florida), kicked atheist Joseph Richardson out of last week’s meeting after he refused to stand for the invocation and Pledge of Allegiance:
Several atheist members of the Central Florida Freethought Community said they would stage a silent protest next week by attending the city’s next meeting and remaining seated during the invocation and Pledge in solidarity with Richardson.
That won’t be necessary anymore.The commissioners gathered today for a special meeting to decide how to handle situations like this. They were considering three possible options: replacing the invocations with a moment of silence, opening up the invocations to everybody (including — *gasp* — atheists), or eliminating the invocation and Pledge altogether.
Any of those would have been acceptable, and I’m happy to say it looks like atheists shouldn’t have a problem anymore:
On Friday, they voted 3-2 to replace prayer with a moment of silence and allow people to stay seated during the Pledge of Allegiance.
Smart move. It prevents a lawsuit and protects the inclusive nature of government meetings. And it wouldn’t have happened unless Richardson had knowledge of his rights and the courage to remain seated last week.
(Thanks to Brian for the link. Portions of this article were posted earlier)