No, You Can’t Expel Someone for Not Saying a Prayer or the Pledge

Mayor John Rees of Winter Garden, Florida apparently thinks he has the power to have someone removed from a city council meeting if they don’t stand for an opening prayer or the pledge of allegiance. And it was all captured on video. The Freedom From Religion Foundation sent a letter to the mayor explaining why he was abusing his authority. Here’s the video:


And here’s the letter the FFRF sent to the mayor, who had better back down or he’s going to find himself losing very badly in court.

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  • D. C. Sessions

    Now’s his chance to Take A Stand For Jesus!

  • chilidog99

    So that is what circus clown does when he is not performing, he is the mayoral circus town

  • eamick

    Now’s his chance to Take A Stand For Jesus!

    Let’s hope Chief Brennan doesn’t decide to stand his ground for Jesus.

  • D. C. Sessions

    Eamick, it could have been worse. If the guy-not-standing had been black, he might have been shot in self-defense. Or pre-emptively tased to get his attention.

  • eric

    he’s going to find himself losing very badly in court.

    Well unfortunately, he the Mayor will not lose a thing, except some time taken to participate in the case. The town will lose.

    Absolute best case scenario for holding him personally responsible (but I give it about a 1% chance of happening), the Mayor gets informed by the city’s lawyers not to do it, he does it again anyway, and then he can be personally held responsible because at that point the plaintiff can argue that he knew what he was doing was outside the scope of his civil service job, and therefore not covered by his civil job immunity.

  • Jesus can’t hear Our prayers if the people that don’t believe in Him also appear to take part, and Jesus likes government-mandated prayer the best. And what’s the point of a loyalty oath if you can’t force everyone to do it?

  • Now that’s a diverse set of elected leaders right there.

    … What, are they all wearing uniforms? Matching Oxford shirts?

    Oh, and the school board in Lee County, Fla., had a raucous meeting last week when the school board voted to abandon the devilized Obama Common Core standards.

    The attorney told them that there could be repercussions from this, and when a couple of board members expressed trepidation they were booed and heckled.

    The superintendent had a great quote: “It’s an interesting time to be in charge of the school system.” Which is pretty much him saying: “WTF are you idiots doing?”

  • moarscienceplz

    Seig Heil, Amerika!

  • FYI for all interested and nearby, the Central Florida Free thought Community is planning a sit-down protest in front of the Winter Garden city hall on Sept. 11th at 6PM.

  • whheydt

    When is the next board meeting? Can we get a report of what happens?

  • chilidog99


    Apparently the vote wasn’t to opt out of the standards, but to opt out of the required standardized testing.

    Once the state told the school board that the students would not recieve their diplomas without taking the tests, the board rescinded their opt out vote.

  • If I were American, I would take issue with the references to “patriotism” in the letter. Patriotism is a primitive belief system, like religion, that has no place in a civilised world. One should never have to prove one’s patriotism, certainly not be joining the Empire’s military.

    Otherwise it is a good letter.

  • vereverum

    @ whheydt #10

    According to their city web page, the next meeting is 9-11-14 at 1830. Looks like every two weeks.

    On the commissioners picture page, the district 4 commissioner looks like the free thinker: he’s wearing a blue shirt.

    Probably be in the paper orlandosentinel{.}com,0,80941.story

    the video cannot be stopped and if you mute it, the next one will reset the volume.

    The comments (950 of ’em) are interesting. For a while.

  • jaytheostrich

    See this is what happens when municipal police see ‘enforcing the law’ as ‘whatever my bosses in the City tell me to do’.

  • John Pieret

    OK, this will be like a Little League team stepping up to the plate up against Mariano Rivera. Game over!

  • Hopefully there will be a dozen people in the next meeting who refuse to stand (but do nothing else to disrupt the meeting). Somehow, I suspect this will be the the end of demanding that people rise for the invocation.

  • Crimson Clupeidae

    If I lived anywhere near there, I’d try and show up just to not stand. I hope the invocations are next on the list. Some one else needs to apply to say the invocation before the meeting.