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Yesterday, for the first time, an atheist delivered a secular invocation in the Florida Legislature.


Tee Rogers, the Humanist Chaplain at the University of Central Florida, spoke before a session of the State House thanks to a recommendation by (a very excited) State Rep. Carlos G. Smith‏, who himself happens to be the first LGBTQ Latinx legislator in the state. On Twitter, he expressed support for an invocation that was “inclusive of all faith + non-faith perspectives focused on the values all Floridians share.”

I can’t embed the video, but you can watch Rogers’ speech here. It begins around the 0:20 mark.

It is an honor to represent your Humanist, Atheist, and other non-religious constituents and colleagues with a secular invocation.

Those you serve, and those around us today, include people of different cultures and races, gender identities, levels of financial stability, and backgrounds. They vary in physical and cognitive abilities. They speak many languages. They include people of many faiths and non-faith perspectives.

The deliberations in this chamber are of the highest consequence to the people of Florida. As you work together toward solutions that address challenges facing our state, may you have the fortitude to make difficult choices while holding the needs of the diverse public at the forefront of your decisions. While we are diverse, we are united by our common humanity.

As we seek to honor the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. this month, I am reminded of his words: “The time is always right to do what its right.”

May your leadership be guided by integrity and compassion to uplift all people today and every day of this legislative session.

Thank you for your service and your work today to make a positive, meaningful difference for all.

On a day when the nation’s top Republican used the word “shithole” to describe predominantly black nations — and when most Republican leaders couldn’t even find the minimal amount of decency to denounce him for it — a Humanist chaplain and a gay legislator were in Florida celebrating our shared humanity as they honored Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

The GOP should be taking notes.

(via BE Orlando)

Hemant Mehta is the founder of, a YouTube creator, podcast co-host, and author of multiple books about atheism. He can be reached at @HemantMehta.

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