Roanoke County Supervisor Reiterates That Non-Christians Will Be Banned from Delivering Invocations

A few days ago, I posted that Republican Al Bedrosian, a member of the Roanoke County (Virginia) Board of Supervisors, said that only Christians would be delivering invocation prayers at their meetings from here on out, a direct violation of the Supreme Court’s decision last week:

Al Bedrosian

“The freedom of religion doesn’t mean that every religion has to be heard,” said Bedrosian, who added that he is concerned about groups such as Wiccans and Satanists. “If we allow everything … where do you draw the line?”

The supervisor campaigned on the idea of eliminating the policy, and the ruling has breathed new life into his idea for a policy that could lead to the exclusion of non-Christian groups from the invocation.

When asked if he would allow representatives from non-Christian faiths and non-faiths, including Jews, Muslims, atheists and others, the Hollins District supervisor said he likely would not.

If a non-Christian wished to pray during a meeting under his idea for the prayer policy, Bedrosian said, he or she would be able to do so during the allotted time for citizen comment.

“I think America, pretty much from founding fathers on, I think we have to say more or less that we’re a Christian nation with Christian ideology,” Bedrosian said. “If we’re a Christian nation, then I would say that we need to move toward our Christian heritage.”

On Friday, speaking to The Roanoke Times, Bedrosian doubled-down on those statements:

Reached Friday for comment, Bedrosian stuck with his original comments. He was asked again how he would respond to a non-Christian’s request to offer the invocation at the Roanoke County Board of Supervisors meetings.

“I would say no,” he said. “That does not infringe on their freedom of religion. The truth is you’re trying to infringe on my right, because I don’t believe that.”

Can anyone explain the logic of that last statement to me? I’ve read it over and over and it still makes no sense…

Bedrosian says he’ll hold a news conference on Monday to explain his views even more. I guess I should be thanking him for the inevitable news fodder.

About Hemant Mehta

Hemant Mehta is the chair of Foundation Beyond Belief and a high school math teacher in the suburbs of Chicago. He began writing the Friendly Atheist blog in 2006. His latest book is called The Young Atheist's Survival Guide.


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