A few months ago, Arizona State Rep. Athena Salman delivered a secular invocation on the floor of the House, only to be chastised by a Republican representative who then gave his own Christian invocation… you know, to show his female colleague how it was done.
Salman received an award from the Secular Coalition for America last week, and reporter Kim Winston caught up with her for an interview.
Check out how the “only openly atheist woman legislator at the state level” talks about the response to her invocation:
… On social media I have only had positive feedback. No one told me they didn’t agree with my invocation. People from other districts, other states and other religions sent me emails saying thank you for doing this. There were people who said “I am a Christian, but separation of church and state is important to me and you are standing up for that.” I think I struck a nerve that expanded across faith backgrounds. People want religion to stay out of government and they want the government to make decisions based on secularism, not religion.
How about that? Overwhelmingly positive feedback on social media. I could write a post saying “Puppies are adorable,” and it wouldn’t get that sort of response online.
But that reaction shouldn’t be surprising to anyone who saw the text of Salman’s invocation, which was inclusive and optimistic. Let’s hope it sends a message to other politicians that there’s no reason they need to offer a shout-out to God at the beginning of any legislative session. They’ll be just fine without it.