A HOLY war is breaking out between an atheist group in Florida and local politicians who reportedly contend that nonbelievers do not qualify under the umbrella of eligible individuals invited to deliver prayers before government meetings.
Following the Supreme Court’s recent Greece vs. Galloway decision that validates invocations at public meetings so long as citizens of all perspectives are invited to pray, David Williamson, leader of the Central Florida Freethought Community, wrote a letter to the Brevard County Board of County Commissioners asking if a member of his organization could “pray” at a future meeting.
“Note that Humanism is recognized as a religion under the First Amendment in numerous cases and excluding a particular faith group from consideration is unconstitutional” he said.
But Mary Bolin Lewis, chair of the commission, reportedly said in a draft letter yet to be sent to Williamson that the atheist group, which is a chapter of the Freedom From Religion Foundation and an affiliate of the American Humanist Association, doesn’t qualify and can, instead, speak for three minutes during the public comment portion at the end of these meetings.
Lewis added that invocations are for members of the “faith community,” according to Florida Today.
Williamson is pushing back, accusing the commission of discrimination and describing the Central Florida Freethought Community as a “minority religion.”
If atheism gets accepted as a religion it will only add fuel to the argument that atheism is a belief system based on faith