Portage (MI) City Council
July 2012
Tim Earl (394 words)

I represent no congregation or denomination. But I appreciate the invitation to give this invocation on behalf of the non-believers in our city, which includes those who do not subscribe to any particular religious group and those who deny the existence of a supreme being altogether. 

It’s easy to forget or pretend that we don’t exist because we are a small minority. But polls indicate that we are the fastest growing religious demographic in America right now.

We include doctors, lawyers, teachers, and people of all walks of life who live moral lives and contribute to the welfare of our community.  As a veteran I can even assure you that there are indeed atheists in foxholes, contrary to popular belief.  

And so, while I would prefer that the practice of invocations be discontinued, I recognize that that is unlikely to happen here in the near future, so I thank you again for this opportunity to represent a minority viewpoint.

And so, without appealing to a higher power which I do not believe exists, I ask that we put forth our best effort to listen intently, resolve our differences, reach common goals, and advance the progress and prosperity of our community.

Because with or without prayer, that's what needs to be done - and prayers don't pay the bills, maintain the roads, or do any of the work that this council and our city manager do so effectively on our behalf.  As human beings, all we can do is use the talents and wisdom which nature, education, and experience have given us to overcome the challenges we face. 

And when the task before you is difficult, I ask that you do not look upward for guidance from some higher power which is most likely an outgrowth of our own fear of mortality, but instead look inward to your own sense of morality and reason, and also look outward to the members of this community who come forward to lend their own assistance and support. 

For only through a spirit of cooperation and unity can we continue to make the City of Portage such a wonderful place to live, work, and raise our families. 

In closing, it’s important to remember that you don’t need a god to hope, to care, to love, or to live.  And we certainly don’t need one to help conduct city business.