Bravo to Arizona State Representative Juan Mendez for using his “opening prayer” to give a secular humanist prayer. That’s right, when politicians push for prayer in politics, they should realize that not all politicians are actually Christian. Rep. Mendez for example is an atheist. Here is his “prayer”:
“Most prayers in this room begin with a request to bow your heads. I would like to ask that you not bow your heads. I would like to ask that you to take a moment to look around the room at all of the men and women here, in this moment, sharing together this extraordinary experience of being alive and of dedicating ourselves to working toward improving the lives of the people in our state.
This is a room in which there are many challenging debates, many moments of tension, of ideological division, of frustration. But this is also a room where, as my Secular Humanist tradition stresses, by the very fact of being human, we have much more in common than we have differences. We share the same spectrum of potential for care, for compassion, for fear, for joy, for love…
Carl Sagan once wrote, “For small creatures such as we, the vastness is bearable only through love.” There is, in the political process, much to bear. In this room, let us cherish and celebrate our shared humanness, our shared capacity for reason and compassion, our shared love for the people of our state, for our Constitution, for our democracy — and let us root our policymaking process in these values that are relevant to all Arizonans regardless of religious belief or nonbelief. In gratitude and in love, in reason and in compassion, let us work together for a better Arizona.”
More politicians need to do this. Then we will start seeing religious politicians calling for an end to prayer in politics and for a separation of church and state.
- Atheist lawmaker opened with Carl Sagan quote instead of prayer (upi.com)
- An Atheist Member of the Arizona House of Representatives Delivered a Godless Invocation Today (patheos.com)
- Atheists Need To Get More Politically Active (skepticink.com)
- Senator Whitehouse: ‘Here to do God’s work’ (examiner.com)
- Atheists meet with Governor Brownback of Kansas (examiner.com)
- Atheists raising money for Oklahoma Tornado Relief (examiner.com)
- Interfaith: The very name is exclusive (examiner.com)