Yesterday afternoon, David Williamson delivered a secular invocation during a meeting of the Orlando City Council in Florida. There was no mention of God, yet I think even religious people would be hard-pressed to find fault with anything he said.
Good afternoon Mr. Mayor, Commissioners, and Staff.
I was thrilled to learn you proclaimed yesterday Equality Florida Day in celebration of their two decades of social justice work on behalf of LGBTQ Floridians. Congratulations to the volunteers, staff and my fellow supporters of Equality Florida, and to everyone in the city who has made concerted efforts toward full equality. For it is ONLY when we are treated equally by our government, by public charities, and by public accommodations, that we can truly achieve a greatness that can be measured by all.
It’s my honor today to join the city with its continuing efforts at inclusion by offering a secular invocation.
Through the millennia we’ve learned the hard lesson that the best way to govern the people is for the people to govern themselves. Today, in this tradition, we travel from our homes and businesses across the City to participate. Citizens, staff, and those elected; we all converge on this chamber to join as a community, united in the shared purpose of service to one another.
We each arrived today as individuals; all with unique ideas and experiences, but ALL with needs of many types. Citizens request assistance and collaboration with the City. They offer their concerns and we are grateful for their courage to speak and for their trust in this process. And those needs will be met by others — those who have the need to serve.
Staff provides invaluable expertise and we truly appreciate their continued work on our behalf.
Elected officials listen, deliberate, debate, and decide the path forward for the people of Orlando and our cherished visitors. We can never offer our thanks enough for that thankless task.
When we leave this chamber later today, let us carry with us this same spirit of service and goodwill, today, tomorrow and every day that follows. For together we can accomplish far more than we can on our own.
This is why and this is how we decided to assemble, to serve, and to govern, ourselves.
I love that he gave credit to the people who actually do the hard work of governing. They’re the ones who deserve praise, not some Higher Power.
Incidentally, the Central Florida Freethought Community, which organizes these invocations all over the state, says this is the 50th such speech they’ve helped put together — an incredible accomplishment. Those 50 invocations have covered 19 cities or counties and were delivered by 26 different people.
You can see their running list, along with a compilation of transcripts of secular invocations around the country, right here.
(Thanks to Joseph for the link)