Freethought Today · June/July 2017

Published by the Freedom From Religion Foundation, Inc.

Secular Invocation: Ed Sweeney

Ed Sweeney Upper Arlington, Ohio, City Council May 8, 2017

FFRF Member Ed Sweeney gave the following secular invocation that he said was met with kind words from citizens, city staff and council members, including Council President and Mayor Deborah Johnson. Sweeney said he would like to give credit to state Rep. Juan Mendez, who gave a similar invocation on May 13, 2013, before a session of the Arizona House of Representatives.

"When I finished, the mayor said, 'Awesome,' " Sweeney wrote.

Johnson also wrote a note to Sweeney, which said: "Thank you very much for taking the time to come to our City Council meeting. City Council and staff appreciate you delivering the invocation on May 8, 2017. We value your message and words of wisdom."

Sweeney now says he hopes to get the council to stop having any invocations before meetings.

Most invocations in this room begin with a request to bow your heads. Tonight, I ask that you not bow your heads. Instead, I ask that we take a moment to look around the room at all of the men and women here. Let's share together this extraordinary experience of being alive and of dedicating ourselves to working toward improving the lives of the people of Upper Arlington.

This is a room in which there are many challenging debates, many moments of tension and 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, compassion, fear, joy and love.

In this room, let us cherish and celebrate our shared humanness and capacity for reason. Let us celebrate our compassion for the people of our City; the love for our Constitution and our democracy.

Reason has the power to solve even the most challenging problems, while cultivating intelligent, moral and ethical interactions among people of varying backgrounds and beliefs or non-beliefs.

In gratitude and in love let us work together for a better city.

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