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I’ve been very involved in my local town hall. At this month’s meeting they started the tradition of adding saying the Pledge of Allegiance (fine) and a Christian prayer (not fine). When I voiced my opinion opposing this, I was told that Congress and most of then surrounding municipalities do this. They also added that if I didn’t like it, I should step outside during this part of the meeting. I haven’t begun researching counterinformation yet. I’m pretty sure anyone not Christian is viewed as not worthy of life.

This is a small rural community. Any suggestions on valid arguments that might make sense to decision makers (who are all older, white, good ole boys from the country)? Or should I save my breath?

By Bethany
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48 comments

15

I would suggest that THEY step outside to say their prayers as this is a government function and not a church. Of course you would be wasting your time.

jlynn37 Level 8 Aug 22, 2018
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Right? I wish they would.

They need to re-read Matthew 6: 5-6

14

Contact the Freedom from Religion Foundation. They will sue them and win and keep winning. Look on line and they will help you deal with this.

Mokvon Level 6 Aug 22, 2018
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This^

12

It always amazes me that some Christians, especially those in office, forget at just how adamant the founding fathers were in the separation of church and state.

TristanNuvo Level 7 Aug 22, 2018
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OR how often others will INSIST that they "really meant'' this to be Christian nation. I usually just tell them that ''wishing will (NOT) make it so" and walk away.

BuT wE'rE uH cHrIsTiAn NaTiOn

@LucyLoohoo ...if they behaved more Christ like, they would be more believable and THEY never would insist that anyone be just like them!

11

You could contact the Freedom From Religion Foundation, and the ACLU. They will be able to give you the information you need to defend your position and challenge theirs. Good luck!

KKGator Level 9 Aug 22, 2018
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ACLU, that’s a great idea! Thanks!

@Bethany The FFRF takes action on this kind of thing quite frequently, as I've seen (in my Facebook newsfeed). You could write to them about it.

@bingst Agreed. The FFRF take these kinds of cases on, all the time.

@Bethany if all else fails call a reporter at local newspaper! And, I have written letters to the editor on different issues, in my community!

10

Quote Matthew to them and then express your concerns about meeting with a group of hypocrites and blasphemers...

Matthew 6:5-6 New International Version (NIV)
Prayer
5 “And when you pray, do not be like the hypocrites, for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the street corners to be seen by others. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward in full. 6 But when you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father, who is unseen. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.

expatri Level 5 Aug 22, 2018
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I like that! Thanks for the info!

@Bethany You're quite welcome...smile001.gif

I've never understood the need for so many Christians to gush on and on about their "close personal relationship" with god. The Jesus character always struck me as more of a put-up-or-shut-up figure when it came to demonstrations of one's faith.

Additionally, maybe it's just me, but I've always felt that openly and freely sharing details of a "close personal relationship" with any Tom, Dick and Harry to be rather, for lack of a better term, tacky...

10

Consider making a video, every time they do their prayers. That ALONE should tell them you've taken a stand! FFRF will be glad to help! And...good luck!

LucyLoohoo Level 7 Aug 22, 2018
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10

"Because others do it..." is not an argument for anything.

evidentialist Level 8 Aug 22, 2018
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Exactly! And you needn't have to stand outside, either.

@LucyLoohoo and how insulting to a member of the same community! Christian behavior of ‘be like us, or leave!’

@Freedompath Right...funny how Xtians are so adamant about that issue. AS IF...this were the United States of Christ.

@LucyLoohoo -- If we are not very careful, it will be.

8

Not sure how long the Christian prayer is, but you could always recite the Deteriorata instead:

"Deteriorata" - National Lampoon

You are a fluke of the universe. You have no right to be here.
Deteriorata. Deteriorata.

Go placidly amid the noise and waste,
And remember what comfort there may be in owning a piece thereof.
Avoid quiet and passive persons, unless you are in need of sleep.
Rotate your tires.
Speak glowingly of those greater than yourself,
And heed well their advice, even though they be turkeys.
Know what to kiss, and when.
Consider that two wrongs never make a right, but that three do.
Wherever possible, put people on hold.
Be comforted that in the face of all aridity and disillusionment,
and despite the changing fortunes of time,
There is always a big future in computer maintenance.

Remember The Pueblo.
Strive at all times to bend, fold, spindle, and mutilate.
Know yourself. If you need help, call the FBI.
Exercise caution in your daily affairs,
Especially with those persons closest to you -
That lemon on your left, for instance.
Be assured that a walk through the ocean of most souls
Would scarcely get your feet wet.
Fall not in love therefore. It will stick to your face.
Gracefully surrender the things of youth: birds, clean air, tuna, Taiwan.
And let not the sands of time get in your lunch.
Hire people with hooks.
For a good time, call 606-4311. Ask for Ken.
Take heart in the bedeepening gloom
That your dog is finally getting enough cheese.
And reflect that whatever fortune may be your lot,
It could only be worse in Milwaukee.

You are a fluke of the universe.
You have no right to be here.
And whether you can hear it or not,
The universe is laughing behind your back.

Therefore, make peace with your god,
Whatever you perceive him to be - hairy thunderer, or cosmic muffin.
With all its hopes, dreams, promises, and urban renewal,
The world continues to deteriorate.
Give Up!

Byrdsfan Level 7 Aug 22, 2018
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7

Any pragmatist would suggest saving your breath. If you really want to oppose it try a 'letter to the editor'.

Not sure if any of my arguments would work, but people are free to pray, sing, pledge, handle snakes and roll on the floor about any time the 'spirit' moves them as long as they don't interfere with others' rights to be free of the nonsense by imposing it on them.

The business of a 'town hall', or for that matter even athletic events, is the PURPOSE for the gathering. My suggestion is and has always been for them to merely publish an actual meeting/event start time and a pre-meeting ritual start time that allows ritual participants adequate time and freedom to babble in or out of tongues, sing, pledge or anything else on the pre-meeting agenda. It is a win:win.

The theological fanatics wishing to use any and all gatherings to aggrandize themselves by taking turns at the 'invocations' will fight it tooth and nail because it's viewed as good exposure - advertizing for their respective congregations. If you are in a community of civilized people who are fair minded and who are closeted objectors too, it might make some progress.

By announcing two times it shows recognition and respect for their craziness while providing those who are there for 'business' an opportunity to get to it without squirming through a bunch of superstitious hoo haa.

Silver1wun Level 7 Aug 22, 2018
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7

Thank you for standing up for those of us, in communities everywhere, who are agnostic/atheistic.
Thank you, regardless of the distasteful treatment that you are currently receiving.

Donotbelieve Level 8 Aug 22, 2018
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That’s sweet of you to say! I haven’t done much but speak up at this point, but starting research more strategies from the information received in these comments.

@Bethany Just stating your opposition is appreciated.

@Bethany
I too am glad that you are speaking up.
That in itself is critical

6

Contact the Freedom From Religion Foundation. They will likely send a letter pointing out that this is illegal. Most towns back off, as they always lose if it goes to suit.

Mitch07102 Level 7 Aug 23, 2018
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6

Well...from the brief google search I just did...you are both right. Seems the Supreme Court ruled about a decade ago that it was ok...but also ruled against schools organizing prayer type functions. Of course the Supreme Court upheld slavery at one time, and other injustices, that were only changed once people in general got their heads out of their colons. I don't give too much moral or justice credence to them. Seems they typically just rubber stamp whatever is in the governments interest at the time.

I would do some research, possibly reach out to the ACLU or similar organizations to get knowledgeable legal input. I would also see about recruiting other religious organizations to come in and pray (wiccians, Jewish Rabbis, Native American Shamans, Satanists, etc). From what I can tell, they can do it, but can't only allow certain religions (Christians) while refusing others (Muslim Imans).

On another note, how important is this issue to you. You might be right and get it blocked, but at what cost to your ability to chime in on other topics. While it shouldn't matter, we all know that if you raise a ruckus on this, all the Bibe-thumpers will ignore you on anything and everything else you might say going forward.

jondspen Level 5 Aug 22, 2018
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some times it is worth it to fix what is wrong

@benhmiller completely agree, but sometimes you also have to pick your battles. Not sure the community or the problems it faces. Not saying don't stand up, just advising to think all possibilities and repercussion through

@jondspen great input, thank you! And I’ve been weighing the pros and cons of pursuing this...

5

I agree with another comment here.call the church of satan. They will send a priest out to say a satanic prayer before the hall. You won't BELIEVE how quickly they will change the guidelines on praying before once that happens. Hell, if your close to Minnesota, I may do it for you. Getting the paper work to be a member of the s.t. is pretty easy, I hear.

Randalltague Level 4 Aug 23, 2018
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5

You might begin by asking if people of all religions are welcome to our town hall or only Christians. Presumably they will indicate that, yes, all religions are welcome. In that case suggest that different religious leaders come in and lead the prayers of their respective religions. In my experience that is usually rejected and the explanation is usually something like "We simply prefer Christian prayers because most of us are Christians". To insist that, in oder to make all religions feel welcome, we should do prayers in as many different religions as people can be found to represent those religions. People frequently become pretty defensive at allowing prayers in different religions but, as an exercise, it (hopefully) demonstrates the religious bias so many people have. It might even demonstrate that religion really has no place in a town hall meeting. - Just a thought.

OCJoe Level 4 Aug 22, 2018
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I like that idea a lot! Thank you!

5

Freedom from religion takes on those types of issues. [ffrf.org]

LeslieV2 Level 5 Aug 22, 2018
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4

Bring a rug and start praying 5x a day smile001.gif see if they like that.

HonzaSvagr1 Level 3 Aug 23, 2018
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I was thinking a colander, but the prayer rug would proabably send a more forceful message.

4

Save your breath! You would probably get into a bit of a mess with these guys as rationale isn't the strong suit. Even going outside will cause problems. If you want peace and quiet in that area probably best to keep go along and think your own thoughts while the prayers are happening. Principles are all very well but one has to be aware of responses to them and are we happy to live with any fallout.

Geoffrey51 Level 7 Aug 22, 2018
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4

You should say you've had a change of heart and ask to lead a prayer. Then use some really offensive Bible quote to support something really offensive. Something like
"Today, Lord, give us the strength to stand against even our own family when they sin. For, as Leviticus 21:9 tells us - 'A priest’s daughter who loses her honor by committing fornication and thereby dishonors her father also, shall be burned to death.'"

Check out [evilbible.com]

Or not. I probably wouldn't be that brave. 🙂

towkneed Level 6 Aug 22, 2018
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Love it! Ha!

4

I thought when I read your post that you must live in NC. But no, I am surprised at this happening in Maryland. My son lives in Columbia MD, which is very liberal and mixed with all races and religions. Why don't you call the nearest local newpaper to the town and ask them what should you say when told to leave the meeting while a few practice their one religion. Maybe they will make an article out of it.

sweetcharlotte Level 7 Aug 22, 2018
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I’m on the eastern shore of Maryland. Very conservative, small towns... different from the rest of Maryland, for sure. Great idea!

4

I don't say the pledge at city Planning Commission meetings though the insist on saying it. I do stand but say nothing or put my hand on chest. I can tell it makes some uncomfortable but so does that mindless pledge to a piece of cloth.

Deanervin Level 6 Aug 22, 2018
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🙄 I guess that's still more than I'd expect from a Washington hippy. So +1 point, I guess?

I do the same. I consider it a small contribution to humanity.

@Omen6Actual don't understand your comment.

@trblemaker I'm a white male, supposedly privileged. In some ways I am for certain but I also know thus country doesn't give two shits about me. Never has. When I see liberty and justice for all I might think different. Until then, that is a bullshit lie!

4

I have found the Freedom From Relgion group, based in Madison, to be quite helpful in these matters.

NA103076 Level 2 Aug 22, 2018
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4

In the US Congress I believe "prayers/blessings" can be of any faith or no faith.

If they stipulate that only Christians need apply that is a problem.

BufftonBeotch Level 7 Aug 22, 2018
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4

Tell them that saying a prayer in that situation is UN-AMERICAN!

Teterbilt Level 6 Aug 22, 2018
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3

I would contact the FFRF. If it is a local Government meeting you might gave some success. If it's a private group meeting in a government building I doubt you can have an impact.you can aleays bring a church of Satan or Muslim priest in and have them say a prayer. and hand out literature. The group then might stop with preying.
I just loudly fidget in situations like this. It irritates and annoys me, but doesn't really bother me that much.

Stevil Level 8 Aug 23, 2018
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3

I think you should write an atheist creed that asserts your rights that you can recite during prayer time. If people don't like it they can stop praying and you will too.

Tompain1 Level 5 Aug 23, 2018
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