It is confusing because many people have not considered what an invocation could be in a secular context. Atheists, for obvious reasons, have thought about this. It is a classic example of a cultural misunderstanding.
I wonder if any of the locals have considered that if they make a huge fuss over this matter, lawyers representing the city council may advise them to do away with invocations all together in order to avoid legal challenges and the resulting expenses.
Considering Jesus’ teachings about public prayer versus private prayer, I’ve never been a huge fan of invocations as casual routine at public meetings outside of Christian organizations and churches. Pro-forma prayers can be something done out of habit alone, even like a national anthem before a sports event. (And should Christ-followers want to encourage non-Christians merely to go through the motions of prayer?)
That is the INTENT of the entire effort. To get rid of invocations all together. The council should be doing the people’s business without interjecting any religion into the proceedings.
That would be fine with me, Patrick. Jesus said that I can pray in my closet before I go to the meeting. People can also pray in their cars on the way to the meeting. Why should prayers have to be conducted at the beginning of the meeting itself?
I know that many Christians also make a big fuss over keeping “In God We Trust” on coins. But that motto has always struck me as disingenuous. Do all Americans trust in God? I don’t think so. (There are also millions of people who call themselves Christian who don’t really trust in God all that much.) With that in mind, why would I want our coinage to include a false statement?