Another Great Speech Against the Greensboro City Council Invocations

I’ve written a couple posts about Mayor Bill Knight of Greensboro, North Carolina and his decision to have prayers before city council meetings.

Students from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro Atheists/Agnostics/Skeptics have already spoken out against this absurd rule.

Another group pushing for the mayor to reverse his decision is the Greensboro Atheists Organization.

Last week, president of the group Heather Spealman spoke out against the invocation at a city council meeting:

The transcript:

Good Evening.

My name is Heather Spealman… I am here representing over 140 members of the Greensboro Atheist Organization. As we all know, recently Mayor Knight decided that an invocation would take place at city council meetings. He implied that those of us who do not pray, both atheists and non-atheists, are somehow less American than those who do. This is an insult to us all. The ability to believe or not believe as you wish and to be treated equally and be represented as such is American.

Following the United States Constitution and adhering to the principles of separation of church and state, a phrase coined by Thomas Jefferson himself, is American. 15% of Americans choose to identify with no religion. Atheism is one of the fastest growing minorities in the United States. Out of almost 230,000,000 adults, that means 34 1/2 million are non religious and yet Mayor Knight stresses the need to be inclusive while leaving behind so many people.

Mayor Knight acted with the best of intention with his addition of an invocation at these meetings and the best of intentions deserves the scrutiny of every well meaning citizen. Neither can his choice be inclusive of the people of Greensboro nor withstand the history of American towns, both in and out of this state. We urge that all the people of Greensboro be included as they have always been. We are not here seeking the abolition of religion or prayer or seeking to infringe upon anyone’s right to pray; we are simply seeking equality.

Thank you.

A wonderful speech, all around.

(Thanks to Calvin for the link!)

  • http://www.youtube.com/user/gettingfreeftw gettingfree

    Great speech.

    It’s nice to see another group working on this issue. We non-believers are a minority, but that minority is not so very small. I hope between the facts she gave in her speech and the fact there are 2 groups on this now they will realize they are excluding more people than they might have first thought by praying before these meetings.

  • NewEnglandBob

    “Mayor Knight acted with the best of intention with his addition of an invocation at these meetings…”

    I do not agree that he did it with the best of intentions.

  • http://miketheinfidel.blogspot.com/ MikeTheInfidel

    I do. I’d chalk it up to ignorance and poor judgment rather than malice.

  • http://www.youtube.com/user/gettingfreeftw gettingfree

    In a similar situation…

    ‘Disgust’ as councillor skips prayer for Bob Dylan

    I find this very amusing. :)

  • Trace

    Not sure about some of the numbers/nomenclature/conclusions (0.49/second paragraph) but overall great message and very well delivered.

    Thanks, Heather.

  • phryne143

    Its always good to see someone doing *something* about a cause they care about.

    Great speech!

  • Pingback: Greensboro secular groups seeking equality « Le Café Witteveen

  • BoomerChick

    I recommend everyone click on gettingfree’s above link about ‘disgust’.
    It is refreshing to see the overwhelming support in the comment section for the protester of prayer in a public meeting. It’s also noteworthy that the objections were mostly because of a perceived lack of manners and not because of prayer per se.
    If only America could follow Britain’s example…

  • Jolly

    Just get some Wiccans to give the prayer one night and that would be the end of it.

  • pinksponge

    This speech and the previous one were both quite good. I especially like this speech’s emphasis on “Americans” and Americanism. After all, separation of religion and state isn’t there just to coddle us atheists. It protects the rights of all Americans, period. I wish more (Christian) Americans realized that.

  • http://churchofspiritualhumanism-mi.webs.com/ Rev. Michael R. Burhans

    Religious observations have no place in governmental meetings. Religion and government are toxic to each other when they mix.


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