Winter Garden City Council Wants a Do-Over

If you’ve been following the situation in Winter Garden, Florida, where the mayor had police remove a man from a city council meeting for refusing to stand for a prayer and the pledge of allegiance, you know that the city council voted to eliminate the prayer and have a moment of silence instead and to follow the First Amendment and allow people to sit during the pledge. But now they apparently want a do-over on those changes.

Winter Garden’s City Commission began its meeting Thursday evening with a moment of silence and the Pledge of Allegiance — its first gathering since ending a long-standing practice of opening with a prayer. But commissioners then asked their legal adviser to go back and study the possibility of bringing prayer back again…

Before debating regular business Thursday, Rees asked city attorney Kurt Ardaman to bring the commission another policy. He did not specify his preference but he said last week he preferred to keep prayer as a part of the ceremonial opening.

Commissioner Kent Makin who had voted to replace the prayer with a moment of silence also said he has had second thoughts.

“I don’t feel satisfied with the vote I gave,” Makin said. “Let’s take some time and review this and come up with a different policy.”

Let me translate that for you: “A bunch of authoritarian Christians who simply cannot stand the idea that they can’t force other people to listen to their prayers have inundated my office with complaints and I’m too much of a coward to tell them they’re wrong.” They are given the opportunity to pray during a moment of silence. Why is that not good enough for them? Because they absolutely demand that everyone else must sit through and listen to their prayers. You know who said that was a bad idea? The guy they claim to worship and follow.

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  • John Pieret

    Whatcha wanna bet that nothing good for the taxpayers of Winter Garden comes from this?

  • https://www.facebook.com/kcobb47 Ken Cobb

    Ridiculous. Here’s an idea: How about just starting the meeting. No ceremony, no silence, no pledges. Just bang the gavel and get down to business.

  • http://festeringscabofrealityblogspot.com fifthdentist

    Don’t be ridiculous, Ken Cobb!

    They have to ask for their lord’s blessing on their decisions to give all those fat government contracts to their buddies instead of those who would do a better job and save the taxpayers money in the long run.

  • vereverum

    Because they absolutely demand that everyone else must sit through and listen to their prayers. You know who said that was a bad idea? The guy they claim to worship and follow.

    He didn’t say it was a bad idea, he said don’t do it.

    But Jesus called them to him, and saith unto them, Ye know that they which are accounted to rule over the Gentiles exercise lordship over them; and their great ones exercise authority upon them. But so shall it not be among you: but whosoever will be great among you, shall be your minister: And whosoever of you will be the chiefest, shall be servant of all. (Mar 10:42-44)

  • eric

    How about just starting the meeting. No ceremony, no silence, no pledges. Just bang the gavel and get down to business.

    That would run contrary to the councilmembers’ goal…of getting reelected.

  • chilidog99

    It’s Florida. Surely they have a few residents that practice Santeria.

    I’d like to see a chicken sacrificed in the council chambers.

  • khms

    @4 vereverum

    Because they absolutely demand that everyone else must sit through and listen to their prayers. You know who said that was a bad idea? The guy they claim to worship and follow.

    He didn’t say it was a bad idea, he said don’t do it.

    And we all know what happens when someone says “don’t do that, guys“.

    But Jesus called them to him, and saith unto them, Ye know that they which are accounted to rule over the Gentiles exercise lordship over them; and their great ones exercise authority upon them. But so shall it not be among you: but whosoever will be great among you, shall be your minister: And whosoever of you will be the chiefest, shall be servant of all. (Mar 10:42-44)

    Try Matthew 6:5-6:


    And when you pray, do not be like the hypocrites, for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the street corners to be seen by others. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward in full. But when you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father, who is unseen. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.

  • vereverum

    @#7 khms

    Yes, but heddle would disagree with your application. I read his response to that citation a while ago. I forget his exact position but it may be he took the pericope to be aimed at ostentation or the public praying as an end in itself without relation to anything else. I may be wrong on this and if so perhaps he will correct me and I’ll make a note of it.

    I can see his point but I agree with you that they are doing it for the public approbation. In either analysis, however, the effect is the same: it is empty speaking in that “they have their reward.”

    IMHO the same is true of a lot o’ politicians when submitting legislation, etc. They are just standing on the street corner trying to show how righteous they are. Whited sepulchers.