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Federal Court Ruling Supports Religious Freedom, Strikes Down Florida County’s Prayer Practice

Over the weekend, a federal court struck down a Florida county’s practice of denying atheists, humanists and other non-theists the opportunity to offer invocations at the start of the county commission’s meetings.

The U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Florida ruled the policy of Brevard County’s Board of County Commissioners to allow only monotheistic, overwhelmingly Christian invocations violated both the U.S. and Florida Constitutions – namely by the government showing favoritism for certain faiths.

Federal Court Says Fla. County Board Cannot Discriminate Against Non-Theists

Brevard County’s Exclusionary Prayer Practice Found Unconstitutional

A federal court last night struck down the Brevard County, Fla., Board of County Commissioners’ policy of excluding non-theists from giving opening invocations, a ruling that is being hailed by the groups that sponsored the litigation.

In its ruling, the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Florida said a local governing body cannot limit its invocation speakers to those from monotheistic religions.  

Fighting For Religious Freedom In Arizona With An Invocation

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.

Falwell Fast One?: Lynchburg Preacher's Sectarian House Prayer Doesn't Track Chaplain's Online Version

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.

Secular Salutation: Georgia County Survives Non-Religious Invocation

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.