Secular Invocations Are so Ecclesiastical

What is a secular invocation? In 2014, the US Supreme Court ruled prayer would remain part of legislative meetings as long as people of every faith were invited to pray. The ruling seemed unfair to the American Humanist Association. Prayer is not exactly synonymous with secularists.

The Humanist Society, an adjunct of the American Humanist Association, came up with a creative solution: a list of official secular invocations. This seemed fair because otherwise secularist would be excluded from ‘praying’ at legislative meetings. If, however, ‘official’ invocation had a familiar ring to my church-sensitive ears, the next move was almost ecclesiastical.

To make sure that ordained, sorry, reputable secularists are at the disposal of legislative meetings, the American Humanist Society provides a list of approved seculars. Applying to become a secular invocateur is free, but you must have a particular doctrinal inclination.

I think it is necessary to include non-religious perspectives, and I appreciate the great lengths that the American Humanist Society went to, to make sure it happens. However, what I admire most, is the thoroughly ecclesiastical way they went about it.

Author Details

Calvyn du Toit

Calvyn C. du Toit is a PhD-candidate in Christian Spirituality at the University of South Africa (UNISA), and a Research Associated in the Department of Christian Dogmatics and Ethics at the University of Pretoria. He lives in New York City, where he is h(o)us(e)band to Christine, and 6PM Music Director at the Church of the Holy Trinity (Episcopal).

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