Operation Inclusion In Action
After the Supreme Court upheld official prayers before meetings of local government, Americans United and its allies vowed to bring more diversity and inclusion to the process. And we’re doing just that! Here are some examples from around the country:
Why Americans United And American Atheists Are Suing The Pennsylvania House Of Representatives Over Its Invocation Policy
Americans United for Separation of Church and State, together with American Atheists, on Aug. 25 filed a lawsuit on behalf of five state residents against officials of the Pennsylvania House of Representatives. The suit alleges that the House, which routinely opens its meetings with prayers led by guest clergy, is engaging in discrimination by refusing to allow representatives of non-theistic groups to offer secular invocations.
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Earl Cell Coggins quotes Emma Lazarus in this Humanist invocation before a March 22, 2016 meeting of the Jacksonville City Council. Read the Transcript here.
With the threat of lawsuits looming, the Chino Valley Town Council voted to change its invocation policy at its meeting on Tuesday, April 12, 2016.
Letter Sent September 18, 2015, addressing council's vote to adopt an invocation policy that would limit all prayer givers to delivering Christian prayer.
The city of Longwood, Florida hosted an atheist invocation on September 10, 2015 — delivered by Loren Kahle.
Redwood City (California) has temporarily suspended invocations at city council meetings.
The decision comes after Pastor Stephen Converse of Grace Bible Church opened Monday's council meeting with a prayer that included his views on abortion and same-sex marriage.
No one interrupted Converse, who also serves as the city's volunteer police chaplain. But Mayor Jeff Gee later said the comments do not reflect the council's views.
"While I appreciate everyone's viewpoints, I do have to say tonight's invocation was not something I appreciate," Gee said.
"on behalf of the Central Florida Freethought Community, I want to thank you, Mayor and Commissioners, for allowing us to present this secular invocation this morning."
State of Idaho Senate - March, 2015
Town of Greece, New York - January 29, 2015
Winston-Salem, North Carolina - January 29, 2015
Huntsville, Alabama - November 6, 2014
Town of Greece, New York - July 15, 2014
The first secular invocation before a Greece board meeting since the Supreme Court ruling in favor of the town was mentioned in several news outlets. Here are some highlights & a video of the statement by Dan Courtney.
Other secular invocations:
Glendale, Arizona - August 12, 2014 | from the Friendly Atheist on Patheos: Atheist Delivering Invocation Praises Glendale City Council for Creating Change “Without Supernaturalism”
Sioux Falls, South Dakota - August 5, 2014 | from the Argus Leader: Atheist takes turn giving council blessing
Largo, Florida - August 5, 2014 | from the Tampa Bay Times: Atheists joining those making invocations at local government meetings
Shelbyville, KY - July 17, 2014 | from WDRB Louisville: "Secular invocation" sparks brief debate at Shelbyville city council meeting
More Updates From Operation Inclusion:
Americans United has been hard at work ensuring that local government bodies do not use the ruling in Greece to further violate church-state separation and restrict prayers to a single religion.
Our press release regarding the Roanoke County, Va., Board of Supervisors' attempt to permit exclusively Christian prayer at meetings. Americans United sent a letter advising against the measure.
In Hunstville, Alabama, When a Wiccan priest had his invitation to deliver a prayer before a city council meeting rescinded, Americans United responded, agreeing to formally represent him. The city has since relented and invited him back to deliver an invocation.