In the wake of a recent U.S. Supreme Court case affirming sectarian prayers at a New York town's board meetings, atheists and humanists are ramping up their efforts to ensure that secular invocations are also uttered at government meetings across the nation.
One such example unfolded Monday night in front of the Wheaton City Council in Wheaton, Illinois. A man named Ted Utchen delivered a secular invocation in an effort to "reflect the fact that we are now a diverse community" comprised of people of different faiths -- and of no faith at all, he said.
The message, devoid of mentions of a higher power, focused on "happiness and joy," while encouraging those in attendance not to cause pain to others, according to an account and video published by Friendly Atheist blogger Hemant Mehta.
"Let us rise each morning, and strive each day, to do only that which brings happiness and joy to others, and avoid doing things that cause others hurt and pain," Utchen said. "Let us use our minds and our reason to encourage behavior based on the mutuality and reciprocity inherent in human relationships, and let us always respect the dignity and worth of each other."
He continued, "And let us, above all, love one another, not to obtain rewards for ourselves now or hereafter or to avoid punishment, but rather always to bring each other contentment and peace. So be it."
Watch the address below:
Utchen's brief invocation drew praise from Mehta, who wrote, "Beautiful. And not a mention of God in it. (See? That wasn’t so hard at all.)."
It's unclear whether this message stemmed from efforts by the American Humanist Association, a secular activist group, to encourage nonbelievers to exercise their right to offer public invocations.
As TheBlaze previously reported, the Humanist Society, a supplemental arm of the American Humanist Association, recently launched a website that offers atheists information on secular invocations, including a definition of what these non-theistic prayers consist of, examples and an interactive U.S. map showing where individuals who are qualified to deliver them reside.
(H/T: Friendly Atheist)