On Tuesday July 15th, the Town of Greece, known recently for the Supreme Court ruling regarding opening prayers at town meetings, will open its meeting with a secular invocation. The address will be delivered by Dan Courtney of the Atheist Community of Rochester (ACoR), a local group of nonbelievers whose membership has been steadily growing.
News of the event has made its way through the Rochester, NY area, all the way into the national spotlight recently. More media outlets have been picking up the story every day it seems. As a result, atheist and secular advocacy groups have taken notice and are sending representatives to the meeting which will be followed by a press conference. Among the attendees will be roughly 30 members of ACoR, Annie Laurie Gaylor (co-president of the Freedom From Religion Foundation), David Niose (Legal Director at American Humanist Association), and Ron Lindsay (President of Center for Inquiry).
I will also be attending, and if I can keep up, will be live tweeting from the event with quotes and highlights. Follow #townofgreece to take part and join the conversation. As always, you can find me at @DividedUnderGod.
So what’s Dan Courtney going to focus on in his invocation? Inclusion — something that isn’t normally part of a religious opening prayer. Nothing divides us more than religion, and the removal of such from a meeting of government officials who are supposed to decide in the best interests of all residents, can only be a good thing in my opinion.
There have already been several secular invocations delivered throughout the country since the SCOTUS ruling, but this is of course the first one delivered where the case originated. Along with the spread of these events have come offerings of sample invocations for speakers to use as a starting point for their own talks. Jim Phynn, contributor at DividedUnderGod, has offered his own version here.
I’m looking forward to Tuesday, and hope you’ll join me on Twitter!