Secular message not well received as House of Reps daily prayer

Published June 6th, 2013 by Bobby Henderson


I like this — Arizona Rep. Juan Mendez offered the daily prayer at a floor session, and instead of God talk, he spoke about tolerance and the values we share as humans, and the duty of government to look past religious divisions:

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 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.

What a great sentiment, and surely the members of the House, even if religious, appreciated such a positive message.

Except for Rep. Steve Smith, who felt it necessary to re-do the prayer the next day in repentance. What a douche.

Some articles:

About Rep. Mendez’s secular daily prayer

About Rep. Smith, butt-hurt, re-doing the prayer

I look forward to the day when Pastafarian members of the House can speak openly about their one True faith.

215 Responses to “Secular message not well received as House of Reps daily prayer”

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  1. not relevant says:

    The SFgate article appears to be gone – here is one to another news site that still has the story:


  2. not relevant says:

    Props to Rep Peshlakai as well, for understanding why Smith’s call for a “do-over” was offensive.

  3. Firs' Mate Freddy says:

    While the honorable Representative is certainly doing a favor to those who would not acknowledge the hordes of Pastafarians living in silence, it is important to spread the message with caution. For example, Protestants and Jews (not that I have anything against them) are severely overrepresented in Congress, while the nonreligious (AKA FSM) are severely underrepresented. The Representative’s message, as honorable as it was, would only stir anger from the vast majority of the members, and may not be cast in a favorable light.
    As always, tread with caution, speak softly, and carry a large spaghetti spoon.
    May we all be touched by HIS noodly appendage.

  4. Rev. Revy Ryan says:

    It is a shame when people can miss the point of such a simple and lovely sentiment as Rep. Mendez offered. It is difficult to disagree with his statement and it could have been delivered by a person of any religious background. It’s no wonder to me that atheists feel frustration when such an undeniable message is met with ignorance.

    I personally believe that the separation of church and state is every bit as important as freedom of speech. I thank the great and noodly FSM for the strength given to me (from the carbs) and the sense of humor necessary to forgive the misguided.

  5. TheFewtheProudtheMarinara says:

    What?? Morality without god-talk? Isn’t that supposed to be impossible?

  6. Wayne says:

    I look forward to that day, too, Prophet. How long it might take, in both yours and mine, remains to be seen. I hold more confidence in Australia getting there first.

    • Keith says:

      I’m sorry to say that in Australia they still open parliament with a hypocritical prayer about “the true welfare of the people of Australia”, when we know damn well that politicians are only interested in their own personal ideologies. http://blogs.usyd.edu.au/cru/2012/08/prayers_in_parliament_and_the_1.html This is not likely to change in the near future, especially if a god botherer like Tony Abbott becomes PM.

  7. Atsap Revol says:

    Often at purely secular meetings, such as reunions and interest groups, I have been exposed to prayer offered up in the name of Jesus Christ…Amen! Christians, knowing that they are a majority at such meetings, take the initiative and shower everyone with Christian prayer. This is insensitive and rude.

    Rep. Juan Mendez offered a thoughtful Jesus-Free message to the Arizona House of Representatives. His comments triggered a reaction in at least one member. This is a fine example of the intolerance of many Christians for thought contrary to their religious views.

    Thank you Rep. Mendez for giving those bigots some of their own medicine. It’s too bad this doesn’t happen more often.


    • TheFewTheProudTheMarinara says:

      Christians see Mr. Mendez’s speech as an attack against their beliefs. So what if their prayers just about every other day is an attack against non-believers.

      • Apprentice Frederic says:

        An associated view is that Christians – although an overbearing majority in most of “Christendom” – are always on the lookout for a reason to claim that they are persecuted; one sees such pronouncements often. I forget who has been telling us about the “War on Christmas” for a while now. I think that the FSM created lions for true believers to feed with Christians..

        • Atsap Revol says:

          As you note, Apprentice Frederic, in America the evangelical, fundamentalist segment of Christianity screams persecution when they are not allowed to use public property and funds to “spread the good word.” These people have absolute freedom in their churches and their homes to observe and propagate their religious beliefs as they see fit. If they want to include the fallacious teaching of Creationism or Intelligent Design in the teaching of biology, they can home-school their children.

          If they had the power, I’m convinced that the fundies would establish a theocracy intolerant of those who do not believe as they do. We thank the FSM that we are constitutionally protected from these idiots.


        • Apprentice Frederic says:

          @tFtPtM: I did – wow. No doubt there are other complications, but the current goings-on in Turkey might be useful to meditate upon. A moderately “popular” regime with a small support advantage is sliding to the religious right and walking over what – in spite of some actually extreme components – looks like a generally progressive and liberal grooup at a small support disadvantage. D’you suppose that an amendment providing for baptism into Christianity via water-cannons will follow an amendment establishing a state religion????

        • Keith says:

          And the next bill introduced by a Republican will be that everyone who eats boiled eggs must crack them with the pointy side up.

  8. Rev. Wulff says:

    First they’ll get rid of the Muslims. Then the Pagans. Then the Jews. Then the Catholics. Before you know it, it will be Holy War between the Baptists and the Methodists…

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