I mentioned last month that the Brevard County Commissioners in Florida had adopted a new invocation policy that finally appeared to be inclusive of non-Christian groups. They needed to be extra careful they weren’t violating the law because their previous invocation policy, from a few years earlier, essentially limited the prayers to Christians. They were sued over the matter and it resulted in penalties costing the county roughly half a million dollars.
That new policy went into effect this past week, and the first invocation was explicitly Christian. But when the Commission meets again on January 26, the invocation speaker will be David Williamson, an atheist who represents the Central Florida Freethought Community. He also happened to play a key role in the lawsuit that ended the previous invocation policy.
Williamson — who was the lead plaintiff in the lawsuit against the county over its previous invocation policy — said he will deliver “a message of unity and hope for the community” in his invocation.
Williamson said he believes that is the type of message that should always start a commission meeting.
He’s not kidding about that. CFFC’s members have delivered numerous invocations over the past decade and they’re always inclusive and positive.
It’ll be a welcome change of pace for a county that actively tried to block this from happening for so long. As much as I’d prefer for them to get rid of the practice altogether, this is what they need to hear if they’re determined to keep invocations around.
(Thanks to Brian for the link)