We always hear about city councils denying atheists the right to give an invocation at meetings. Priests and rabbis? They’re fine. But atheists are often turned away.
Usually, this is a long, drawn-out battle. It’s a lot of fuss over something that’s only symbolically meaningful, but it’s awful that there are people who would refuse to give atheists that opportunity (or walk out when the atheist finally does get to speak).
In Monroe, Michigan, atheist Mark Farris attended a city council meeting. These meetings, like many others, typically begin with a prayer. Farris voiced his objection to this.
This is how MonroeNews.com described it in their notes from the meeting:
Heard still more criticism from Mr. Farris, a self-described atheist, that the city shouldn’t be praying at the start of each council meeting. He said prayers don’t belong in government meetings, but since the city was allowing them, he wanted to say an atheist prayer.
Council permitted him to do so.
No walkouts or arguments.
Just an atheist saying a few words.
I don’t know what the “prayer” consisted of, but Farris makes this seem so easy…
Other city councils would do well to learn a lesson. An atheist said some secular words at a meeting and the world didn’t end.
It’s just that simple.