Rowlett Atheists Want to Give City Council Invocation; Mayor Says No "Spaghetti God"

rszgottel1.jpg
City of Rowlett
Mayor Todd Gottel is defending a Rowlett policy that says invocation leaders must be religious, but he may soon have to let Metroplex Atheists in on the fun.

Metroplex Atheists, with the legal aid of Freedom From Religion Foundation (FFRF) delivered a letter last week to the Rowlett City Council requesting that they be added to the list of invocation leaders. It's not the first time the group has sought recognition with the City Council, but this latest move may be the closest they get to victory.

In 2010, Metroplex Atheists first requested that the invocation be eliminated altogether. After Metroplex Atheists were denied, the City Council re-evaluated the invocation policy, and began reaching out to local religious institutions to expand the diversity of the invocation list. City policy currently dictates that invocation be led by a religious leader, and that their institution be located in Rowlett.

Rowlett Mayor Todd Gottel is defending the policy, saying the city offers invocation slots to every religious institution in Rowlett. Because there are no synagogues, mosques, temples or other non-Christian religious place of worship in the city, that means a Christian generally delivers the invocation.

After the failed first request for invocation elimination, Metroplex Atheists next requested a moment of silence instead of an invocation. But again, Rowlett tradition prevailed. "Now they say we're discriminating against religions that don't have a location in the city," Gottel told Unfair Park. "Then they said they wanted to pray to the spaghetti god or Neptune or something. So we said look, we're not going to make a mockery of the system. We're asking for blessings on the city."

Randy Word, president of Metroplex Atheists, says that any invocation by Metroplex Atheist members would be respectful. "A secular invocation would be a serious invocation intended to solemnize the occasion," Word told Unfair Park. "We would invoke a human nature, logic, reason and a sense of justice."

This May, the Supreme Court ruled in Town of Greece v. Galloway that government meeting invocations were constitutional as long as they do not discriminate against any religion or body. In other words, any minister or layperson may deliver an invocation if they so desire. Metroplex Atheists are now refocusing their strategy, saying that this ruling would allow atheists the right to deliver secular invocations, including one at the Rowlett City Council meetings.

City Council members have so far declined to respond to the letter, and Mayor Gottel and the City Council are maintaining their position. "If I felt like there would be something reasonable, I would be willing to discuss this," said Gottel. "But when you entertain the idea of a 'spaghetti god', it's hard to take them seriously."

For his part, when asked about allegations that their invocation would bring in a so-called "spaghetti god," Word said neither he nor Metroplex Atheists had mentioned a spaghetti deity at City Council meetings. "I don't know where he's [Gottel] coming from with that," he said, "except that he's obviously trying to maintain the Christian bullying approach that they have now."

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118 comments
Mr.Grumpy
Mr.Grumpy

The nicest thing about being atheist/agnostic is not giving a damn about city council convocations. 

markie19
markie19

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booyabible
booyabible

Spaghetti god! Ridiculous! Much more plausible that the creator of the universe needed animal blood to fix the word, but animal blood wasn't strong enough so he gave himself a body and killed it in ancient Palestine. Duh. 

CogitoErgoSum
CogitoErgoSum

Can't wait for the FFRF to file suit against these overprivileged dimwits. Once they're faced with having to justify spending taxpayer money to defend their policy of denying secularists the opportunity to give the occasional invocation, they'll cave like a suspected heretic on the rack.

JackJett
JackJett

As a “official” Dudeist Priest from The Church of the Latter-Day Dude for the past 5 years and a firm believer of the separation of church and steak, I would like to make you non-Dude’s aware of our prayer in hopes that you might see the light of our way.The light of our way is swag.

Our Dude, who art in Los Angeles,

Hollywood be than handle

The rug will come.

The chill be done

All over Earth, as it is in your bungalow

Give us this day our daily caucasion

And forgive us our stresspasses

As we forvive those who stresspass against us.

And lead us not into Simi Valley

But deliver us from reactionaries and human paraquat.

For thine is the lane and the ball, and the what have you

Down through the ages, across the sands of time,

Lodged against the abutment.

Fuckin’ A man.

Just take it easy.

Hot.Sauce
Hot.Sauce topcommenter

Ha! I was the 69th comment!

What'd I win?

Sarah O'
Sarah O'

Listen, I'm an atheist, and even I think this is a big waste of concentrated effort. Who cares?

Sotiredofitall
Sotiredofitall topcommenter

Man this religion stuff sure does get some folks all worked up.

J. R. "Bob" Dobbs smiles in amusement.

halldecker
halldecker

Would do wonders for the political futures of councilmembers.


Mean,  nasty Old Federal Judges made us desecrate the sanctity of our Meeting Room by allowing the Great Sha Nah Nah to be praised,  "and we pray in the name of the Great Sha Nah Nah,  that everybody do what they're supposed to,  that no damn fool idiots ruin the family jewels trying to water ski on the Lake these days,  and that there be plenty of free green beer,  hotwings and hotdogs after the meeting."


Truth is,  I will likely be the person praying.


I am the Head Nah Nah in the whole State of Texas!



PlanoDave
PlanoDave

I find it interesting that there are several people on here being negative toward religion who were also on the child immigrant thread supporting the position of Mr. Royce West who used biblical justification for his position requesting compassion.


Some of y'all really need to figure out what your true values are...

ScottsMerkin
ScottsMerkin topcommenter

Did someone call the Flower Mound mayor to get his opinion?

Myrna.Minkoff-Katz
Myrna.Minkoff-Katz topcommenter

That mayor opened the flood gates.  Why can't these people just worship in private and leave everybody else the hell alone?  Their beliefs have to be everyone else's beliefs.  It's sickening. 

Sotiredofitall
Sotiredofitall topcommenter

@JackJett

"Bob" is.

"Bob" becomes.
"Bob" is not.
Nothing is; Nothing becomes;
Nothing is not.

Thus: Nothing Is Everything.
Therefore: Everything is "Bob."

Azaraith
Azaraith

@Sarah O' People who want representation in local government meetings that not everyone in the town is a Christian or even a theist.  Ideally they wouldn't be wasting their time (and thus our taxpayer dollars) speaking to invisible friends in the city council, but if they're going to spend time doing that, we might as well seek equal representation of atheists and those of other religions than Christianity.

Hot.Sauce
Hot.Sauce topcommenter

Other Atheists ... and Pastafarians.

Montemalone
Montemalone topcommenter

@Sotiredofitall I have a couple cassettes I made in the 80s of some Church of the Subgenius shows on KEOM. Man, I miss that. Smoke a little Bob, listen to Bob, and just Bob.

halldecker
halldecker

@Sotiredofitall 

Bob makes sense,  Bob makes change ...

Bob makes ordinary things seem strange!"

Yea,  Bob!

ScottsMerkin
ScottsMerkin topcommenter

@Sotiredofitall religion and racism sure are loading up the comment counts in the last month.  And with Tone at home with a newborn (congrats sir!)  here is how I envision the morning call,  Emily Eric and Amy, one of you write a racism story, one gets a vagina story and one gets a religion story.  Jim, well, just do what you do, mkay thanks (baby lets out a horrific cry) gotta go

Montemalone
Montemalone topcommenter

@PlanoDave Let me clarify.

It's possible to not be an asshole and care about your fellow man without believing fairy tales.

One of the things that really irks me about all the jeebus freaks is their belief that man (the species) can't be "good" without the threat of fire and brimstone. It really scares me come to think of it. These people only behave because they think some old guy with a big gray beard will shoot lightening bolts up their ass for eternity if they don't.

Some of us just know that we're all in this together and we should make the best of it.

TheCredibleHulk
TheCredibleHulk topcommenter

@ScottsMerkin

He said better luck next year, Rowlett.

FM has exclusive rights to the Big Guy in  Flower Mound's Year of the Bible.

ScottsMerkin
ScottsMerkin topcommenter

@bvckvs so you dont believe that there is at least 1 atheist in Rowlett?

JackJett
JackJett

@Sotiredofitall @JackJett  I thought you were talking about our local Rev. Bob of Hullabalooyah fame.  Now, I think this is from Church of the Sub-Genius. 

Who is you BOC...Bob of Choice?

JackJett
JackJett

@chad91rs @Sarah O'  I have to say that I am pretty impressed and a little surprised this group exist.  Christian extremist can make agnostics and atheist feel like outcast.  It takes balls to be so public about simply NOT believing in something as odd as that sounds.

TheRuddSki
TheRuddSki topcommenter

Atheist women of color denied free abortifacients?

PlanoDave
PlanoDave

@Montemalone I appreciate your sentiments and I agree with them to a certain extent.


I would think that a member of a part of society that has been painted with a very broad brush historically would be a bit more sensitive about doing the same thing to another group, though.


Not all people of faith, what you call "jeebus freaks", believe that man can't be good without threats of hell.  Many believe that man is inherently good and simply needs to overcome human struggles for that goodness to manifest.


You seem to be an intelligent, thoughtful person with a chip the size of Colorado on your shoulder about Christians.  I can certainly see why that is the case.  Can you also see why it is a bit contradictory?

halldecker
halldecker

@Montemalone @PlanoDave 

I think it was Voltaire who said "How can we control the people,  if we can't threaten them with Hell."

the bible I was forced to thumb through when a child had something about bewearing those who insist on praying in public to show how pious they are.  That they are missing the point,  and are an abomination,  something like that.  

I also wondered why,  if the Sabbath was Holy,  a day of rest,  why preachers worked on it.  

 

PlanoDave
PlanoDave

@Myrna.Minkoff-Katz  So, Mr. West using his biblical-based beliefs to impose the costs associated with "doing the right thing" for the illegal immigrant children on the tax paying public is now an act of private worship?

I feel so stupid for not getting that.  Thanks, Myrna.

ScottsMerkin
ScottsMerkin topcommenter

@mavdog nah, I just had some vulgarity to get out, my mother was in for the weekend so I didnt get to use potty mouth.  And c'mon, he made the 69 joke first, I just finished it..... 

mavdog
mavdog topcommenter

@bvckvs 

odd, the linked article from DMN sure shoots a big ole hole in that claim of yours that "noone..have asked".

but then reading and knowing facts have never been one of your strong points.

TheRuddSki
TheRuddSki topcommenter

@bvckvs

Atheists pray?

Hot.Sauce
Hot.Sauce topcommenter

@smerkin vulgarity, dicks, 69 and your mom in the same sentence.

Priceless.

JackJett
JackJett

@Montemalone @JackJett @chad91rs @Sarah O'  I am not sure but it sounds like the start of a Celine Dion song. 

And I think Celine is well worth worshipping.  We could start up a new religion as their is clearly a shitload of money...and call it Celinotology.  We could have Hetero Conversion Therapy and teach people the power of OVER-Emoting. Think about it Brother Dionemalone. 

JackJett
JackJett

@chad91rs I have more respect for what you are doing that people that do work for ACLU (type) groups in liberal and larger cities.  You are probably aware of this site but it is one of my favorites as they have some awesome videos.

http://whywontgodhealamputees.com/


mavdog
mavdog topcommenter

@bvckvs

"disrupt the proceedings"????

are all invocations guilty of "disrupt[ing] the proceedings"? if no, why would the atheists be guilty of doing such when Christians doing the same exact thing don't?

You also misquoted me - badly. I didn't say "no one.. have asked" or even anything like it.

odd, there is this post with your name on it right above...

None who have asked to pray at the government meetings. No self-respecting atheist would ask to do that.

yes, you did say it. funny thing about this blog, those comments stay around, you should remember what you write.

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