FL City Acknowledges Right to Sit for Prayer and Pledge

Remember the situation recently where the mayor of Winter Garden, Florida had police remove a man from a city council meeting because he refused to stand for an opening prayer or the pledge of allegiance? The city counsel has now fixed that situation, passing resolutions doing away with the prayer and explicitly acknowledging the right not to say the pledge.

The Winter Garden City Commission voted Friday afternoon to change the ceremony by which they open their meetings. The resolution they adopted calls for a moment of silence rather than a prayer and makes it clear no one has to stand during the Pledge of Allegiance…

At the beginning of the special meeting, the city attorney presented three resolutions: the one that called for the moment of silence, another that allowed commissioners to invite members of the religious community to give an invocation, and a third in which the commission made no changes to the current procedure. The city attorney advised against the third option.

All three resolutions made clear that citizens could choose to stay in their seat—or leave the room—at any time. The commission voted 3-2 to adoption the resolution that called for a moment of silence.

The mayor, however, seems not to have learned his lesson:

Rees cast one of the votes against adoption of that resolution, but he said he accepts the commission’s decision and he apologizes for the negative attention that Winter Garden has gotten over the past couple of weeks.

“I apologized to all of them, my wife included because let me tell you, you don’t know how many profane, rude calls my wife had to answer and she had nothing to do with it,” Rees said.

Really? When an elected official abuses his power and violates the constitution, people get mad and express their anger at the elected official? How terribly shocking.

POPULAR AT PATHEOS Nonreligious
What Are Your Thoughts?leave a comment
  • Chiroptera

    Rees: “I apologized to all of them, my wife included because let me tell you, you don’t know how many profane, rude calls my wife had to answer and she had nothing to do with it,” Rees said.

    Ed: Really? When an elected official abuses his power and violates the constitution, people get mad and express their anger at the elected official? How terribly shocking.

    Well, I do agree that people shouldn’t be calling this clown’s home and taking it out on his family; keep the communications to the Mayor’s office phone numbers and email. This may not be as bad as stalking the children on their way to school, but it’s still beyond the pale in my opinion.

  • http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_R2XG9CnOj8 Olav

    Chiroptera #1:

    but it’s still beyond the pale in my opinion.

    If it really happened, yes.

  • http://denkeensechtna.blogspot.com Deen

    That’s actually a better outcome than I’d expected, I was totally expecting them to opt for the “invite outside preachers” loophole. I still think people should be doing the praying in their own time, but a moment of silence is an acceptable second best solution.

  • Larry

    If it really happened, yes

    You’re saying that a fine, jebus-lovin’ xtian might actually lie about their persecution due to the simple exercise of their faith? Say it ain’t so!

  • http://denkeensechtna.blogspot.com Deen

    I wouldn’t be surprised if his wife is also his office manager and answers his office phone too.

  • cry4turtles

    Ahhh, some good news.

  • machintelligence

    you don’t know how many profane, rude calls my wife had to answer and she had nothing to do with it,

    Indeed we don’t, but I suspect the answer was few to none. I believe we have a real bull thrower here.

  • Pierce R. Butler

    Where is the League of the South when Winter Garden really needs some Indomitables?

  • abb3w

    @1, Chiroptera

    Well, I do agree that people shouldn’t be calling this clown’s home and taking it out on his family

    …provided he answers his phone at work. If not, home calls seem appropriate; but not taking it out on his family, not until and unless it becomes clear they’re helping to shield the politician from the politics.

  • busterggi

    If god wanted everyone to stand for prayers he’d heal all wheelchair-bound persons so they could do so.

  • matty1

    If he repeatedly refuses to answer his office phone there may be an argument for going round in person but even then I would struggle with the idea that even a politician is expected to be ‘on the job’ at all times, in all places and even more that members of his family are expected to do his job as well.

    I can happily accept he may be lying, this is based on the hypothetical case that it happened.

  • Synfandel

    Prayer? Pledge? Minute of silence? I don’t know how it is where you work, but my employer would not be happy if I started each work day with some time-wasting ritual. How about opening city council meetings by declaring the meeting in session and introducing the first item of business on the agenda.

  • whheydt

    Re: synfandel @ #12….

    You probably have a job where some work is expected to get done, rather than a job that consists primarily of political theater.