Oskaloosa City Council Meeting (Iowa)
6 July 2017
Justin Scott (537 Words)
Justin Scott, Oskaloosa City Council
July 6, 2017
Good evening, on behalf of the Eastern Iowa Atheists and the rising number of atheists and other non-religious citizens across Oskaloosa and Iowa, thank you for this opportunity. It is an honor to be delivering the first ever inclusive invocation at an Oskaloosa City Council Meeting, honoring both the Constitution of Iowa and the United States. Tonight’s invocation is dedicated to Iana Looney and to anybody else across Eastern Iowa or Iowa that have ever stood up for equality in their communities but have been told to look the other way or move out.
First, for everybody to remain as comfortable as you’d like, stay standing or remain seated, whatever you feel comfortable with. I’d like to build on the idea of Counselor Ver Steeg by encouraging all of you to face in any direction you choose, bow your heads or keep your chin up, and feel free to either keep your eyes open or shut, whichever you wish as you will not offend me however you choose to enjoy my invocation. Regardless of what you choose I appreciate your presence in the chamber tonight.
Let us begin, tonight as many of you have figured out, I will not be invoking a higher power. Instead, I will be pointing out some powers all of us have thanks to the wonder of human evolution. To do the most good for the most number of people right here in beautiful Oskaloosa, I encourage everyone to harness these powers in every discussion and vote tonight.
First, the power to empathize with those that are different than you, that have taken a different path than you, that have experienced and continue to experience struggles different than yours. The human power to embrace diversity in your community, seeing it not as a threat, but as an opportunity to learn and grow as neighbors. The human power to strive for inclusion in your city government, it is here to work for all citizens but only if you demand more from it. The human power to demand justice within your city as we all are, in one way or another, all minorities.
When it comes to making the right decisions for the city of Oskaloosa, decisions that ensure that the rights and freedoms of all citizens are upheld and protected, this chamber must demand more than appeals to the supernatural but rather rely only on taking an evidence-based approach to all decisions.
Lastly, this chamber should not operate as merely a grouping of individuals looking out for themselves, but rather, relying on one another. Celebrating all that makes us different and yet, at the same time, so much the same. The human power of attempting to do the most good for the most number of people is the best power that any of us have, always using our reason and critical thinking skills to do so.
So in closing, it is my pleasure to leave with you the lasting words of Robert Ingersoll, one of the greatest orators our country has ever produced quote, “Happiness is the only good. The time to be happy is now. The place to be happy is here. The way to be happy is make others so.”
Word Count 537