I get tired of this sort of nonsense:
Atheists, agnostics, humanists, and other nontheistic Washington, D.C. residents will have no representation at Mayor-Elect Vincent Gray’s first official inaugural event—an ecumenical prayer service entitled “One City … Praying Together” at 8 a.m. Sunday, January 2, 2011.
“We would prefer that a government function such as an inauguration not be entwined with religion,” said Amanda Knief, a Humanist Celebrant and government relations manager for the Secular Coalition for America (SCA). “However, we find it overtly discriminatory when we request to be part of an ecumenical prayer service that is supposed to unite the entire city and are told there is no place for nontheists.”
How can a prayer service unite an entire city if atheists don’t believe in prayer or a deity? Obviously, the word “prayer” is key to the phrase as it refers to those who both believe in prayer and a deity. Just as obviously, the prayer service is aimed a those in the city who do. And why would an atheist want to go to a prayer service in the first place?
Oh, I know – “inclusion”.
Well, in reality, they wouldn’t want to attend – “inclusion” is a false flag. And they’re not “left out” of anything – atheism is their choice. With that choice comes consequences – like not being invited to attend prayer meetings.
Instead this is really about banishing such services altogether. And their assumed leverage here is it is a government event – a city government holding an “ecumenical” service, i.e. not touting a single religion and in perfect conformance with the 1st Amendment (which, btw, doesn’t apply below federal level, but I thought I’d point it out anyway). But it isn’t “inclusive”.
Love the line, “we would prefer that a government function such a an inauguration not be entwined with religion.”
Cool. Go out and win an election and then you can run the inauguration any way you wish. That’s the basic message here. Freedom is choice – and you can choose to not have such an inauguration if you win. But if you won’t make the attempt or lose, tough nuts – the winner gets to “choose”, note the word, how he or she will run the inauguration within the confines of the law.
A prayer meeting isn’t about anything in particular which will effect an atheist that I know of. It’s a meeting of like minded people to ask for help and guidance of their deity of choice. How that is “overtly discriminatory” against those who don’t believe in prayer or a deity is beyond me.
Oh, and in case you were wondering:
A Humanist Celebrant is the nonreligious equivalent of a clergyperson. He or she may receive national certification from several organizations, including The Humanist Society, the American Ethical Union, and the Society for Humanistic Judaism; and may conduct marriages, civil unions, memorial services, funerals, and other life ceremonies.
So they were supposed to invite a “nonreligious equivalent” of a “clergyperson” to a religious event? What is a “nonreligious equivalent” to a clergyperson? There is no equivalency in terms of belief. The fact that the Humanist Celebrant can conduct marriages, civil unions, (so can a justice of the peace) etc. doesn’t make them equivalent where it counts (and no one would argue a JP is the “equivalent” of a priest).
Look whether you believe in a deity or not, this is just nonsense on a stick. Religion is a personal choice. And nothing that I know of precludes government officials from conducting “ecumenical” prayer meetings if it is their desire.
My guess is had the atheists – or Humanist Celebrant – shown up at the meeting he or she would have been graciously included. Then what?
This is just more whining by the militant atheists of the country. If you don’t want to participate in religion, don’t. Don’t demand your “equivalency” be accepted by the religious or that they must include you in something, that in reality, you have no real desire to be included in at all. The religious are not welcome in your camp and it shouldn’t surprise or upset you that you’re not particularly welcome in theirs.
Such is life. Grow up, drop the false “inclusion” argument and quit whining, for goodness sake.