Winter Garden (Florida) has been the site of a few church/state separation problems over the past year. It began when an atheist, Joseph Richardson, was kicked out of a public meeting for not standing during the invocation or Pledge of Allegiance (even though no one should ever be forced to participate in either). That led to a back and forth over whether religion should be at public meetings at all. This past March, after temporarily doing away with prayers at meetings, they voted to bring back the invocations.
And how has that gone? In the past seven months, there have been 14 meetings… and with one exception, when there was just a moment of silence, every invocation has been delivered by a Christian pastor. No diversity whatsoever and a very clear violation of the law. The Central Florida Freethought Community and Freedom From Religion Foundation sent letters to the Winter Garden Commissioners early last week, warning them about the First Amendment violations they were committing when, in what seemed to be a total coincidence, they decided to do the right thing.
Atheist Ed Lynch was invited to deliver an invocation on Thursday — and he made sure to make the most of it. He thanked Richardson for putting this whole process in motion and told the Commissioners, “Let us play.”