I’ve written a couple posts about Mayor Bill Knight of Greensboro, North Carolina and his decision to have prayers before city council meetings.
Students from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro Atheists/Agnostics/Skeptics have already spoken out against this absurd rule.
Another group pushing for the mayor to reverse his decision is the Greensboro Atheists Organization.
Last week, president of the group Heather Spealman spoke out against the invocation at a city council meeting:
My name is Heather Spealman… I am here representing over 140 members of the Greensboro Atheist Organization. As we all know, recently Mayor Knight decided that an invocation would take place at city council meetings. He implied that those of us who do not pray, both atheists and non-atheists, are somehow less American than those who do. This is an insult to us all. The ability to believe or not believe as you wish and to be treated equally and be represented as such is American.
Following the United States Constitution and adhering to the principles of separation of church and state, a phrase coined by Thomas Jefferson himself, is American. 15% of Americans choose to identify with no religion. Atheism is one of the fastest growing minorities in the United States. Out of almost 230,000,000 adults, that means 34 1/2 million are non religious and yet Mayor Knight stresses the need to be inclusive while leaving behind so many people.
Mayor Knight acted with the best of intention with his addition of an invocation at these meetings and the best of intentions deserves the scrutiny of every well meaning citizen. Neither can his choice be inclusive of the people of Greensboro nor withstand the history of American towns, both in and out of this state. We urge that all the people of Greensboro be included as they have always been. We are not here seeking the abolition of religion or prayer or seeking to infringe upon anyone’s right to pray; we are simply seeking equality.
A wonderful speech, all around.
(Thanks to Calvin for the link!)