Yesterday, Arizona state Rep. Athena Salman stood before her colleagues and offered an invocation. At first, it appeared to be just like any other day in the statehouse, where the House always opens its session with a prayer. But then Rep. Mark Finchem stood up, alleged that the prayer violated House rules and asked to give a substitute prayer. Finchem’s objection: Salman is an atheist and her prayer did not speak to what he understood to be a higher power.
By Brian Fields
This weekend, for the first time since I have lived here, I found myself at a Washington-area Hindu temple.
That's because my parents were in town, and when my mom visits, it's on the top of her to-do list. So to satisfy my mother, and my religious quota for a while, I spent 10 to 15 minutes at a local temple.
I may not spend much time praying, but I still consider myself a Hindu and a follower of the faith. I don't need to listen to prayer all the time or have images of my faith displayed all around to know that.
I've been online today scanning news sites to see if Cobb County, Ga., has been struck by an earthquake, a hurricane or perhaps a plague of frogs. Apparently, this has not happened.
I'm surprised. Last night, a guy named Ed Buckner gave a secular invocation at a meeting of the Cobb County Commission. To hear some followers of the Religious Right tell it, if you dare to give any invocation that fails to mention Jesus Christ, look out! Your community will feel divine wrath.
I doubt Ed's invocation mentioned Jesus. He is, after all, the president of American Atheists.
Earlier this week, Dan Gilgoff at U.S. News and World Report reported that President Barack Obama has started a new tradition at some of his presidential events.
On some occasions, at least, it seems Obama's opening act will be a prayer vetted by the White House.