Saturday, July 18, 2015

First Humanist Invocation Scheduled for Lincoln County (NC) Board of Commissioners Meeting

It's now official. On August 17, I will deliver the first Humanist invocation at the Lincoln County Board of Commissioners Meeting on behalf of the Hickory Humanist Alliance. I commend the Commissioners for adopting a policy of nondiscrimination and for putting in place a process that allowed this to happen quickly and without any fuss. The Lincoln County policy and process should serve as a model for other municipalities. Well done Lincoln County!

Note: Since the meeting on the invocation policy, only Christian clergy have delivered the invocations - one "in Jesus' name" (June 8) and one "in Jesus' wonderful and precious name" (June 1). But their next meeting is July 20 so stay tuned! There's more to come...

Update (Aug. 3): There was no invocation delivered at the July 20 meeting. Duston Barto will be delivering a Muslim invocation at tonight's meeting on behalf of the Foothills Interfaith Assembly.

Photo credit: Gaston Gazette

Friday, July 10, 2015

"Furl that Banner [and] unfold it never"

Abram Joseph Ryan, the "Poet-Priest of the Confederacy," published these words 150 years ago this year (on June 24) in his most famous poem - "The Conquered Banner." (Wikipedia). As a life-long, sixth generation Southerner I am proud of South Carolina's Republican elected representatives - including Nikki Haley and Paul Thurmond...

And of course, Jenny Horne...

No, taking down the flag doesn't magically solve everything. And as Brew Newsome said, "The real work begins after the flag comes down" (now for SC). But...taking it down still matters. The Confederate battle flag was raised on the South Carolina Statehouse grounds the same year I was born. It was (and still is being) used by some to spread fear and violence...

John Lewis, on the floor of US House Thursday, July 9

It's time for my white Southern "heritage not hate" friends (and relatives) to evolve on this issue. It's time to be a real Southern rebel. It's time to abandon comfortable myths and misconceptions. It's time to stand up to cowards and murderers who have used racist symbols for far too long now to spread hate and terror.

Today was a good day for the South. "A house divided against itself cannot stand" (Lincoln).
Furl that banner, softly, slowly!
Treat it gently—it is holy--
For it droops above the dead.
 Touch it not—unfold it never,
 Let it droop there, furled forever,
 For its people's hopes are dead!
"The Conquered Banner"
Abram Joseph Ryan

A candle in the dark...