Dan Nerren, a member of the Atheist Community of Tulsa and the Humanist Association of Tulsa will provide a secular invocation at the City of Tulsa council meeting starting at 6:00 PM on Thursday, August 30, 2012.
The Tulsa chapter and the national organization of the Freedom From Religion Foundation has officially complained to Mayor Dewey Bartlett Jr. about the the unconstitutional sectarian prayers at Tulsa City Council meetings.
Those prayers have been documented here and include phrases like: “In Jesus’ name we pray,” “Father God,” “Heavenly Father,” and “In the name of Christ Jesus.”
Karl Sniderman, a member of the American Civil Liberties Union of Oklahoma, has been documenting the sectarian prayers at the City Council for over four years.
Sniderman, who is Jewish, has attended the council meetings with a Muslim friend, and they both believe that council is making the non-Christian members feel like secondary citizens.
Bill Dusenberry, a representative for the Oklahoma Chapter of Americans United for Separation of Church and State asserted that allowing an atheist to provide an invocation at a council meeting is a step in the right direction.
Nerren will begin the invocation by stating:
Let us open our hearts to the welfare of all people in our community by respecting the inherent dignity and worth of each person, and realize that our differences of race, religion, and party affiliation are merely superficial. Our common humanity unites us all, and may we recognize that through our interdependence we share a common fate. In order to achieve the greatest good as citizens of Tulsa, it is important for us to maintain an open mind, and honor and respect the human rights of each other.