Sparks (NV) City Council Meeting
8 June 2015
Ryan Davis (409 words - 2:40)
I would like to thank the council for inviting me to speak here today. Let us bow our heads in prayer.
“We give thanks and praise to you, whom in all your teachings, guide us in our lives and give meaning to our existence and endow these fine people here today to perform their duties to serve all of us. Thank you, Satan.”
Now, I am not a Satanist, but ladies and gentlemen, I imagine that these words are making some of you rather uncomfortable. You probably feel that they don't represent you or further the cause of the citizens of Sparks.
I would now like you to realize that this is exactly how the secular citizens of Sparks, statistically 20% of your constituents, feel when an invocation of any kind is given in this room.
I stand before you today with the daunting task of representing these numerous atheists, agnostics and secular individuals. And while it may not be possible to speak for them all, I ask you to meditate on the following thoughts:
While the desire to be inclusive and respectful to others is something to be condoned, the reality is that we cannot represent all religions, all of the time, and thus the only truly fair way to represent everyone is to not represent religion at all.
The constitution of the United States, which all members here swore an oath to uphold, was founded on secular principles and was the first of its kind. One of the cornerstones of being American is the freedom of religion and the freedom from religion. The only way to ensure that this freedom to express our beliefs is maintained is to ensure that the government does not participate in any action that would endorse any religion or even the concept of religion itself.
When religious invocations are given in a government capacity, those of us who do not subscribe to such beliefs are alienated and not represented.
For people like me who are atheist, and others who are agnostic or simply secular, we invoke you to not use religious invocations in your meetings, which only deepens the divisions between us. But rather, focus on what all of your constituents, including the secular ones share. And that is the common humanistic desire to increase the happiness of all human beings. People like me can do this without religion, and likewise, those in government can do good without religion, too.