Today, Secular Coalition for Arizona sent a letter to Coolidge Mayor Jon Thompson, and copied all members of the Coolidge City Council, in response to the Council's unanimous decision to allow invocations before City Council Meetings.
Resolution 15-32 passed on Monday, September 21, in a special meeting called by the Council to address the controversial Resolution 15-31. Resolution 15-31 garnered national attention for the small town when it called for "Christian only" invocations. Resolution 15-31 was unanimously rejected by the Council and replaced with Resolution 15-32. Read the full text of both resolutions here.
Secular Coalition for Arizona does not support Resolution 15-32. Specifically, Section 4.2 states “The invocation shall be voluntarily delivered by an eligible member of religious/spiritual organizations in the incorporated limits of the City of Coolidge, Arizona,” a policy which excludes atheists, nontheists, and the increasing number of people living in Coolidge who do not subscribe to a particular organized religion or faith.
Because of the legal uncertainty and the exclusionary effect such prayers have on nontheists and others who do not share the faith of the officiant, the best practice is to exclude invocations at Council meetings.
In our letter, we asked that if the Council is unwilling to reverse this decision that they instead develop an invocation policy that is inclusive for atheists as well as all religious minorities. Read the full text of our letter, below.