FFRF chastises Orlando for religious oath-taking

The Freedom From Religion Foundation is admonishing the city of Orlando, Fla. for having an overtly religious oath-taking ceremony.

FFRF has learned that at an oath of office ceremony on Jan. 11, there was a Christian invocation and benediction. The invocation began, “Our heavenly father, God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob” and ended with “In Christ’s name, Shalom and Amen.” The benediction quoted from the bible and ended, “To him be the glory and Church in Christ, Jesus through all generations forever and ever, Shalom and Amen.” The ceremony was for the mayor of Orlando and three city commissioners, and was open to the public.

“The city’s inclusion of prayer in the oath of office ceremony gives the impression that the city supports and endorses religion over nonreligion,” writes FFRF Staff Attorney Andrew Seidel in a letter to Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer. “This sends the message to members of the audience who are nonadherents ‘that they are outsiders, not full members of the political community and an accompanying message to adherents that they are insiders, full members of the political community,’ to quote the U.S. Supreme Court.” 

FFRF reminds the city of Orlando that it is constitutionally required to remain neutral in matters of religion and requests assurances that future city events will be free from religious ritual, including prayer, and will not otherwise endorse religion.

The Freedom From Religion Foundation is a state/church watchdog organization with 23,000 members nationwide, including more than 1,000 in Florida.

Freedom From Religion Foundation

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