Last week, atheist Lindsey Bridges delivered a secular invocation at a meeting of the Seminole County Commission in Florida. It was a fantastic example of how to open a meeting without giving a shout-out to some higher power.
The Central Florida Freethought Community has a transcript of her speech:
Madame Chair, commissioners, staff, citizens, and guests, first let me thank you for including me in today’s proceedings.
The word “invocation” originates from the Latin invocare, meaning “to call upon” — an infinitive which generates a question. “To whom or to what do we call upon?”
Historically, and even today, we generally seek wisdom and guidance from god or muse, but today, at the helm of this new year, I invite you to call upon one one another.
Let us invoke our fellow Homo sapiens, who have learned that working together as a whole enhances and benefits the individual immensely. What we lack or strive for in ourselves, let us offer and find in others who share our passion for service.
In the words of the poet John Donne, “No man is an island entire of itself; every man is a piece of the continent, a part of the main.”As a lifelong resident of Seminole county, a former volunteer at the Winter Springs Police Department, and a member of the Central Florida Freethought Community, I champion this notion.
As one of our Constitutional Framers, Thomas Paine said, “Whatever is my right as a man is also the right of another; and it becomes my duty to guarantee as well to possess.”
So, let us fulfill this duty, this obligation to represent and manifest the will of the governed; our fellow citizens.
Let our shared experience color us and others’ unique experimentation enlighten us all. Let us pursue truth and toil, each day, for a better way to serve our peers, by extension, ourselves, and to foster maximal well-being for all.
Again, the words of Thomas Paine: “Those who expect to reap the blessings of freedom, must undergo the fatigue of supporting it.”
You have our sincere gratitude for setting the example of service we should all follow.
Thank you and Happy New Year to all.
Wonderfully done. For the people who complain about godless invocations and wonder how anyone can give an inspirational speech without invoking God, tell them to watch this video.