Earlier this week, atheist activist Preston Smith delivered the invocation at the Lake Worth (Florida) City Commission meeting.
Not only did four of the five commissioners walk out before he had said a single word, Smith showed what happens when the door to giving invocations is wide open thanks to Christians wanting to pray at government meetings. (Blogger Lynn Anderson said that Commissioner Christopher McVoy remained in the room, as did the city manager and city attorney.)
[After seeing commissioners walk out on him] Duly noted.
Our collective atheism — which is to say, loving empathy, scientific evidence, and critical thinking — leads us to believe that we can create a better, more equal community without religious divisions.
May we pray together.
Mother Earth, we gather today in your redeeming and glorious presence, to invoke your eternal guidance in the universe, the original Creator of all things.
May the efforts of this council blend the righteousness of Allah with the all-knowing wisdom of Satan. May Zeus, the great God of justice, grant us strength tonight. Jesus might forgive our shortcomings while Buddha enlightens us through His divine affection. We praise you, Krishna, for the sanguine sacrifice that freed us all. After all, if Almighty Thor is with us, who can ever be against us?
And finally, for the bounty of logic, reason, and science, we simply thank the atheists, agnostics, Humanists, who now account for 1 in 5 Americans, and [are] growing rapidly. In closing, let us, above all, love one another, not to obtain mythical rewards for ourselves now, hereafter, or based on superstitious threats of eternal damnation, but rather, embrace secular-based principles of morality — and do good for goodness’ sake.
And so we pray.
And with that, the four commissioners came back inside to say the Pledge.
To be sure, Smith’s invocation is not the one I would’ve given, but that’s not the point. The point is that if the commissioners aren’t happy with this, there’s a simple solution: Do away with invocations altogether. Stop wasting time with prayer and get down to business. Otherwise, they should expect more of these in the future.
(Thanks to Nikki for the link)