Saturday, May 25, 2013

Will It Play In Rapid City? Or What Happens When An Atheist Delivers An Invocation?

I think I've scooped Cory on an atheist in politics story, the irony.

Arizona State Representative Juan Mendez delivered an invocation prior to the opening of a recent session of the Arizona House of Representatives:
Most prayers in this room begin with a request to bow your heads. I would like to ask that you not bow your heads. I would like to ask that you to take a moment to look around the room at all of the men and women here, in this moment, sharing together this extraordinary experience of being alive and of dedicating ourselves to working toward improving the lives of the people in our state.
This is a room in which there are many challenging debates, many moments of tension, of ideological division, of frustration. But this is also a room where, as my Secular Humanist tradition stresses, by the very fact of being human, we have much more in common than we have differences. We share the same spectrum of potential for care, for compassion, for fear, for joy, for love…
Carl Sagan once wrote, “For small creatures such as we, the vastness is bearable only through love.” There is, in the political process, much to bear. In this room, let us cherish and celebrate our shared humanness, our shared capacity for reason and compassion, our shared love for the people of our state, for our Constitution, for our democracy — and let us root our policymaking process in these values that are relevant to all Arizonans regardless of religious belief or nonbelief. In gratitude and in love, in reason and in compassion, let us work together for a better Arizona.
In some ways, this invocation seems more like a Joel* Osteen sermon than a prayer, but I'm being a bit more snarky than I should be on a Saturday morning.

Christians in the chamber could probably reference Philippians 4:8 and not have their souls endangered:
Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable--if anything is excellent or praiseworthy--think about such things. 
 *This post originally referred to a Claude Osteen sermon. Claude Osteen was, a pitcher for the Dodgers and other teams during the 1960s and 1970s. The entry has been changed to refer to the smiling preacher Joel Osteen.


caheidelberger said...

I would love to be invited to the next Rapid City City Council meeting or the June special session of the Legislature to deliver an invocation on behalf of the people of non-faith.

Kal Lis said...

I believe the public square should be open to all. I would prefer folks not shout so much.