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Invocation photo (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Shawn Nickel/Released)

Ask an atheist: How do you feel about atheists offering invocations?

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By Jim Downard

Q: How do you feel about atheists offering invocations at political events?

I’m ambivalent on it, but then I’m ambivalent on invocations in general, since they so often act as though they are representing the collective group when they may not.

Here’s something that could be said that would cover the matter fairly and honestly, certainly topical, yet without making presumptions on the religious convictions of those assembled (you can never go wrong drawing on Lincoln):

Our Republic was founded on the great principle of secular government “of the People, by the People, for the People.” Our success in that endeavor depends on respect for individual conscience and freedom, along with an abiding reverence for an independent and honest press informing a people who will not be easily swayed by sectarian prejudice, passion or hatred. As we see demagogues threaten to inflame ignorance and fear, forgetting the lessons of history in an appeal to “Alternative Facts,” here and abroad, may we resolve as a nation to affirm the deep principles of our success, and show by our steadfast example what it means for Liberty to enlighten the world.

Jim Downard

About Jim Downard

Jim Downard is a Spokane native (with a sojourn in Southern California back in the early 1960s) who was raised in a secular family, so says had no personal faith to lose.

He's always been a history and science buff (getting a bachelor's in the former area at what was then Eastern Washington University in the early 1970s).

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