After Long Ignoring Their Requests, Chico City Council Invites Atheists to Deliver Multiple Invocations Next Year

The Atheists of Butte County (in California) have been urging the Chico City Council for a while now to let them deliver invocations at meetings.

For a while, the city council just ignored their requests, despite receiving a letter from the Freedom From Religion Foundation.

But group leader George Gold (below) kept trying:

Earlier this month, we found out that the Deputy City Clerk, in charge of selecting the invocation speakers, had a system that was effectively illegal — she just searched for groups that met in the Chico area and had a physical meeting space… a qualification that would exclude most atheist and minority religious groups. (FFRF made that point in a second letter to the council.)

After all that, there’s finally some good news to report.

The 2015 list of invocation speakers has just been released and the Atheists of Butte County are listed on it three separate times. Excellent! And a smart move, too, given that the city would’ve lost a lawsuit over the exclusion.

The atheist invocations will be delivered on January 6, April 7, and November 3.

In an email, Gold offered his thanks to the Mayor and council clerk for their “positive roles” in this process. Which I would say is extremely gracious of him.

Kudos to Gold, though, for his persistence. Can’t wait to hear what he has to say at the meetings.

This is probably a good time to remind everyone that FFRF is running a contest for best secular invocation address:

The individual or individuals judged to give the “best” secular invocation will be invited to open FFRF’s annual convention with the “invocation,” receiving an all-expenses-paid trip to FFRF’s annual convention (this year at the Los Angeles Biltmore Oct. 24-25), a plaque and an honorarium of $500.

The winner better be a reader of this site!

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