After I vented my spleen yesterday I got to thinking that maybe I’d spouted off about the Forsyth County commissioners a little to rashly. Specifically I said:
The Forsyth County commissioners and sectarian prayer supporters
consistently point out that the commissioners invite representatives of
different religions to open their meetings and so the current policy is
fair. I’m left to wonder if they think that inviting Baptists,
Methodists, Catholics, Lutherans and Moravians qualifies as different
religions? Exactly when was the last time a Pagan was invited to give
the opening prayer? How about a Muslim or Buddhist? Heck, what about
those Mormons that scare the crap out of your average Baptist?
I started thinking that maybe I should have checked before I wrote that, and I should probably look into it to be fair. So I did. I checked out the minutes for all the regular meetings held by the commissioners from 2000 to 2006 and the meeting summaries from meetings held in 2007. That’s 175 meetings held from January 10, 2000 to April 9, 2007, each of which began with a call to order and then the attendees standing to hear the invocation and the pledge of allegiance. Here’s who gave those 175 invocations:
- 152 were delivered by representatives of Christian institutions (Churches, Salvation Army)
- 16 were delivered by board members
- 2 were delivered by a representative of a Unitarian Universalist congregation
- 2 were delivered by a representative of Forsyth Jail Prison Ministry (both in 06)
- 1 by a Rabbi (November of 06)
- 1 by a representative of Carolina Dianetics (Scientologists) (1/22/07)
- 1 (3/12/07) the notes only say "invocation" and do not indicate who delivered it
I guess I was safe in my spouting off. Although I did see the occassional Seventh Day Adventist included I didn’t see any Mormons, Muslims or Buddhists. I find it interesting that the Dianetics person was invited last month since that occured after the commissioners received the letter from the ACLU. Another interesting point is that the board member who most often gave the invocation was Dave Plyler who lost his seat in a close election last year to Ted Kaplan. Kaplan is one of the three commissioners to oppose proceeding with the court battle that the commissioners voted yesterday to pursue.
I wonder if we’ll see more diversification of invocators as we move forward thanks to the attention from the lawsuit?