Two Florida Cities Recently Heard Incredible, Inspiring Secular Invocations June 27, 2018

Two Florida Cities Recently Heard Incredible, Inspiring Secular Invocations

You’ve heard of pub crawls? On Monday night, the Central Florida Freethought Community held an invocation crawl, going from one town to another, delivering pre-scheduled invocations at city council meetings.

One of them, in the city of Casselberry, was delivered by Anna Lonergan, a recent graduate of the University of Central Florida and a community leader.

Even in the Sunshine State, there can be darkness. Inequality. Injustice. Hatred. But I have seen the residents of Central Florida rise up and conquer these, time and time again. I have seen resilient men and women repairing not only their own hurricane damage, but also their neighbors’. I have seen parades, marches and protests in which our citizens have spoken out for what they believe is right. I have seen amazing research come out of the University that has helped improve lives across the globe. I have seen a community full of wonderful people of all different races, religions, genders, and socioeconomic backgrounds. I am thankful for this community.

Central Florida is a special place — one that I am happy to have known. As you conduct your governmental duties this evening, I implore you to keep each and every resident of Casselberry in your mind. Govern with a sense of duty, love and compassion for each and every constituent, even those who may be very different from you. Strive to listen earnestly, think critically, and live truthfully. Let your decisions tonight and every night lead to a better future for all.

What a beautiful speech. It was the fifth secular invocation delivered in Casselberry, according to CFFC, which is incredibly impressive.

A couple hours later, their group headed to the city of Sanford, where Joseph Richardson delivered a speech in a place that has been hostile to atheists in the past.

Last Thursday was World Humanist Day. The American Humanist Association offers this description of humanism. It “affirms our ability and responsibility to lead meaningful, ethical lives capable of adding to the greater good of humanity.”

As it applies to the city of Sanford, the work you do tonight dovetails with this philosophy. Specifically, to add to the greater good of Sanford.

I have no doubt that is the reason each of you is here, to help improve the lives of the citizens. Indeed, it is the reason for many of the activities that occur in Sanford and the surrounding area.

This meeting and your deliberations will improve the community of Sanford; everything you do in your job as commissioner moves the city toward this goal.

And so, even with all the administrative necessities that come with your job, I encourage you to keep that goal of the greater good in mind, to put aside personal preferences, to evaluate real data, to consider deeply the effects your decisions will have, to judge issues rationally, to debate respectfully, and to decide fairly.

Another lovely way to begin the evening and without any mention of the supernatural. Just as it should be. That said, Richardson was introduced as both a “reverend” and “pastor” invited to deliver a “legislative prayer.” (He corrected them.)

There’s a reason we see so many secular invocations coming out of Florida. Activists there have made a concerted effort to get their names on these lists of speakers because the law says it’s okay. And when they’ve had the opportunities to speak, they’ve given speeches that are inclusive and inspiring. It’s hard to reject atheists — or block them from giving invocations — when these are the words they’re effectively trying to censor. More power to these activists.

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