Commissioners on the Brevard County Board of County Commissioners were no doubt stunned when, on July 8, a three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 11th Circuit unanimously declared (Williamson v. Brevard County) that the commissioners’ practice of automatically denying atheists the opportunity to offer solemnizing invocations/reflections at the board’s meetings was “discriminatory,” “unconstitutional” and “must be rejected.”
An atheist airman at Creech Air Force Base in Nevada recently wasn’t allowed to re-enlist because he refused to sign an oath containing the phrase “so help me God.”
Initially, Air Force personnel reported that enlistees used to be allowed to opt out of the oath’s appeal to deity, but the provision had been withdrawn on Oct. 30, 2013. The Air Force claimed that only Congress could reinstate it.
However, when the American Humanist Association and the media became involved, the Air Force sought legal counsel and reverted to the former practice. But that didn’t please some Christians.
By James Coffin – Whatever the justices decide concerning legislative prayer, their decision will have little impact on what I’ll do when, as a member of the Christian clergy, I’m asked to pray at such gatherings. I don’t wear one of those WWJD? wristbands. But I regularly ask the what-would-Jesus-do question. And I’m convinced about what he’d do regarding legislative prayer.