Usually when we talk about City Council invocation prayers, it’s because officials decided to deny atheists or Satanists a chance to speak.
In San Antonio this week, the story revolved around what a Christian pastor said.
When Pastor Theo Wolmarans said his prayers to open up the meeting, he used his time to throw everyone who didn’t believe as he did under the bus:
“Father, we thank you for the privilege we have for being your children. We know that there are many different races and colors and creeds and languages in our world, of which you are the creator of all of these,” he said during the brief invocation. “But even so, out of all of your creation are your children because only those who accept Jesus as their lord and savior are born into your family.
“And so, when you look down upon us today, you see two kinds of people only — those who believe in you and those who don’t know you. Those who believe in you are your children, and you work through your children to bring peace and love and blessing to the earth,” he said. “And the devil works through those who don’t know you to bring confusion and strife and division, the work of the enemy, because he came to steal, to kill and to destroy.”
Riiiight. Because Christians are always perfect, and Jews, Muslims, atheists, and Satanists only serve to ruin the world.
While many of the council members were appalled by the remarks and said such comments weren’t the point of invocations, they failed to do the one thing that could solve the problem: Ending invocations entirely and getting down to business.
Mayor Ivy Taylor defended Wolmarans’ remarks, denying that he said the very thing we all heard him say:
Taylor said she didn’t believe Wolmarans was saying that those who haven’t accepted Jesus are therefore working with the devil. She declined to explain why, however.
“I’m not going to explain to why. I think there are a lot more important things going on down here at City Hall that you can be writing about,” she said.
She has a point. Maybe reporters should be writing about how little she cares when many of her own constituents are being treat like trash by a guest she invited to her meeting.
San Antonio officials would do well to invite an atheist invocation speaking to an upcoming meeting. As much as we have reason to denounce religion, most of the people who have had the opportunity to speak at government meetings have focused on our shared humanity and kindness.
You know — characteristics that Wolmarans says we could never have.
(Image via Facebook)