Members of the County Commission, staff, citizens, and guests of Lake County, thank you for including me today.
This invocation is not a prayer, so no need for bowed heads or closed eyes. I join you today in the spirit of inclusion. Inclusion is about all of us. It’s about living full lives together in our shared community.
The original motto of the United States of America was one of inclusion. “E Pluribus Unum,” which translates, “from many, one.” It’s a motto that unites us as Americans — All Americans in one nation, indivisible. It reflects the values upon which our country was founded, and it doesn’t seek to exclude or extol any citizen for any reason.
Our country’s Founders were critical thinkers, regardless of religious beliefs or lack thereof. In addition to an inclusive motto, they set the groundwork for a way to ensure all Americans could participate in society and in their government.
It has taken a while to provide a long-deserved equal footing to all and we continue to make progress — even today. This includes women, African Americans, and as recently as this year, the right for all to have their loving relationships recognized as equal by the State. More and more people are being included in the process of self-governance. And this is as it should be.
So today, let us consider our shared history as a nation, our successes as a community, and the continuing process of embracing more and more citizens and new perspectives — especially at the seat of government closest to our lives.
The Central Florida Freethought Community is organizing several more of these invocations all over the state. You can see their running list — along with a compilation of transcripts of secular invocations around the country — right here.
(Thanks to CFFC’s David Williamson for the video and transcript)