Atheists Challenge Rowlett City Council Prayers

In 2010, the Rowlett City Council in Texas changed their prayer policy. They used to have Christian prayers, then the Freedom From Religion Foundation warned them of the repercussions of doing that, so the council opted to go with non-sectarian prayers.

As it turned out, though, since the town is predominantly Christian, those non-sectarian prayers have turned out to be almost all Christian prayers, anyway.

Now, local atheists are calling them out on it:

“How would they like it if they were forced to pray to Muhammad or Allah or Ganesha the Hindu God — any of the others out there, because that’s what they’re doing to us,” said [atheist Chad] Aldridge. “They just don’t see the error that they are oppressing a smaller minority in us the atheists, the Hindus, any Muslims or even Jews in this town that don’t believe in Christ’s divinity and don’t want it enforced on us at the meetings.”

The atheists say they will keep fighting for the change.

Meanwhile, a prayer vigil is scheduled to precede Tuesday’s 7 p.m. city council meeting at Rowlett City Hall.

“Just because there are more Christians in Rowlett, does not give them the right, in the United States, to leave others out,” said Terry McDonald from the Metroplex Atheists.

The atheists will accept a moment of silence, they say, but the city council says they’re not budging… because all the people who matter are Christian:

The established bodies of religion in Rowlett are Christians,” Deputy Mayor Pro Tem Michael Gallops. “There’s a Catholic church here, there are multiple denominations of churches but there aren’t any from other religions.

“There is no reason for us to change the policy, the policy is constitutional, the policy is neutral, it’s non-discriminatory we’re gonna stick with it,” said Gallops.

Can you believe it? The policy is non-discriminatory to everyone who’s in the majority! And it’s “neutral,” too, unless you’re someone excluded from the neutrality! Amazing!

Until any change happens, the atheists say they’ll keep raising the issue. Good — I hope they remain a thorn in the side of the local government. If they can’t differentiate between church and city, they’re in the wrong line of work.

(Thanks to Casey for the link)

About Hemant Mehta

Hemant Mehta is the editor of Friendly Atheist, appears on the Atheist Voice channel on YouTube, and co-hosts the uniquely-named Friendly Atheist Podcast. You can read much more about him here.


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