A fierce debate is brewing over how governmental agencies can be more “inclusive” during invocations, allowing for those of other faiths to be allowed an opportunity to deliver their version of an invocation. In some cities, Atheists, Wiccans, and other groups are demanding they be given a chance to give the opening invocations. Some municipalities are bowing to such demands.
One group of Atheists in Brevard County was told “no” by the chairman of that board, and that board’s lawyer.
Now, that Atheist group is considering a lawsuit against Brevard County.
\Some cities have come up with detailed rules and procedures to limit and strictly define who can deliver the invocations. Several cities have used this type of a template for their policy.
Some locally want to be able to barge right in and insert themselves into the rotation, crying discrimination if they are not IMMEDIATELY selected. That tactic won’t work with me-I don’t know if it will with my counterparts….we’ll see in the next few months I suppose.
I’m not one who discriminates, and I won’t here either. However, I think we need to think long and hard about making any radical changes to our current practice. While I do not think anyone I select would intentionally make a mockery of this solemn point in a meeting, who knows what someone with a massive "axe to grind" on this issue might do to make a splash in the media “spiking the football” in the face of the majority of meeting attendees who are overwhelmingly Christian?
I mean, should the majority of persons in attendance at one of our meetings really have to listen to a satanic verse? What if a “Witch Doctor” comes to the podium with a full-on costume, chicken-feet, a voodoo doll and other associated over-the-top regalia? It could easily get out of hand, so far as I can tell....(I wonder what our local media would say about this?)
And I won’t stay and listen if someone tries to be disrespectful like that. I’ll leave the room and come back after, or wear BOSE noise cancelling headphones. Or I'll turn around and raise my fist in the air like the '68 Olympians did(uh, I'm being sarcastic-I wouldn't really do that...)...... I won’t be part of someone's prank.
So we have to be careful about how this issue is managed.
Locally, I’ve been bombarded by people offering their willingness to give invocations lately…. However, as a current practice each board member has the latitude to select whomever he/she wants to deliver the invocation before the meeting. In my eight years on the board, I’ve utilized a priest, two pastors, a youth pastor, the leader of my bible study group, several members of the district staff, a school community volunteer, and I’ve delivered the invocation on a number of occasions myself. I like having the flexibility of the board’s rotation system, and I’m not in favor of changing it…
I’d even be willing to select someone other than a Christian to deliver the invocation. I’ve recently been contacted by someone of the Jewish faith, and I’m considering having that individual bring the invocation when it is next my turn, in January 2015.