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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:

Recent Developments:

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. Read More »  

Secular Invocation Delivered before City Council in Jacksonville, Florida

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.



Arizona town changes prayer policy after AU intervenes

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.


Demand letter sent to the City Council of Coolidge, AZ

Letter Sent September 18, 2015, addressing council's vote to adopt an invocation policy that would limit all prayer givers to delivering Christian prayer.  

Secular Invocation Delivered in Longwood, Florida

The city of Longwood, Florida hosted an atheist invocation on September 10, 2015 — delivered by Loren Kahle.


Redwood City Suspends Invocations at City Council Meetings

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.


After 14 Months of Waiting, Atheist Delivers Invocation Address at Orange County Budget Meeting

"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

Idaho Lawmaker Objects To Non-Christian Prayer Before Legislative Session  

Town of Greece, New York - January 29, 2015

Will include two atheists delivering town meeting invocations this year.


Winston-Salem, North Carolina - January 29, 2015

Latest invocation policy draft includes the need for a "leader of an organized assembly of agnostics or non-believers”


Huntsville, Alabama - November 6, 2014

Wiccan priest opens Huntsville City Council meeting with prayer for 'a spirit of peace and comity'


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.

Charisma news wonders: Did The Supreme Court Prayer Win Backfire on Christians?

Chicago Tribune Op-Ed: Non-Believers Now Offering Invocations Rather Than Fighting Them



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.

A similar measure in Chesterfield County, Va., would have allowed only ministers ordained by monotheistic religions to open meetings. Read AU's letter in this matter here.

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.


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