Guess Who’s Insulted by Florida House Prayers in Jesus’ Name?

Not news: The Florida House of Representatives holds invocation prayers before legislative sessions.

Not news: People are complaining about it.

News: It’s not atheists!

A Jewish lawmaker in Florida approached the Speaker of the House this week on behalf of other Jewish legislators who state that they are offended and insulted by the practice of praying in the name of Jesus during House sessions.

Jim Waldman of Coconut Creek contacted Speaker Will Weatherford to explain why what he called “the J.C. moment” presents a problem.

“This year more so than others, every time the prayer comes up, it’s in Jesus’ name,” he said. “This is my seventh year talking about it, and it’s getting to be too much. It would be nice to have an inclusive prayer.”

It’d be even nicer if they did away with the public prayers and got down to work. But how else are they supposed to get re-elected? By writing and debating meaningful legislation?! That’s crazy talk.

You wish, Will Weatherford

At one point, the speaker said to Waldman “I hear your concern but I can’t tell someone how to pray.”

To which Waldman responded:

“Well, you can actually… It’s supposed to be non-denominational. I mean, that’s the law actually, it’s supposed to be non-denominational, not proselytizing, and it’s just not been. This year, in my opinion, it’s been worse than any of the years I’ve been here. The chaplain, who of course did it himself, is supposed to give them a form that says it’s supposed to be non-denominational. For Jewish members, it’s an insult.”

This whole problem would be solved if Christians in the House prayed before they came to work. It’s not like the prayers help them vote any more wisely, anyway.

This idea that the prayers are okay because each representative gets to choose someone to do it is absurd. When non-Christians have a rough time getting elected, it’s no surprise that the prayers end up being Christian. The idea that the prayers should continue because it’s tradition is equally ludicrous.

Maybe if one of these politicians brought a Muslim or atheist or Wiccan to deliver the invocation, that point would finally get through to the Speaker.

(Thanks to Richard 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.