Here, in my lovely home state of Pennsylvania, the PA House of Representatives has been sued by some residents for not allowing a secular e.g. non-theist based invocation before the body. The suit, brought by Americans United for the Separation of Church and State, American Atheists, and members of various local groups here in PA, is brought because the PA HR has refused to allow a secular invocation.
The US Supreme Court decided in 1983 that bodies like the PA HR can start their business with an invocation, so this is not to stop invocations. It is to stand up for equal representation, requiring such bodies to acknowledge that not only their pet religion be allowed to stand up in front of them and be counted. The PA Senate allowed a secular invocation, but the House is notoriously conservative and goes out of its way to advocate for Christian, and Christian only, legislation like requiring In God We Trust be in public schools, that the Bible be the official book, and other theocratic nonsense. That is not to say every House member is a wannabe theocrat but a large number of them are.
Now, the invocations that are proposed are to follow. My question to my theist readers is why this should not be allowed? Why would a house member (unsurprisingly a Republican and the Speaker) hide behind this?
“Nowhere [in the Supreme Court decision of Greece v. Galloway] did we see any language which would require legislative bodies to allow nonbelievers to address the opening of legislative bodies in lieu of an opening prayer by a regular chaplain. It is our opinion, that while the Court encouraged a diversity of prayer givers, we do not believe that government bodies are required to allowed non-adherents or nonbelievers the opportunity to serve as chaplains.”
And why do the leaders of the HR try to use security to force obedience to their religion: Continue reading