Florida Mayor, immediately following prayer praising America as a land of freedom, violates civil rights



I get it, I do. But this guy needs a hobby.

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So is Florida Mayor above or below Florida Man in the hierarchy of idiocy?


He needs a hobby like I need a prayer or a pledge.


You can dress it up in all the high flown theology, Enlightenment rationalism, Dialectical Materialism, or any other theoretical baggage that suits your situation, and it never ceases to amaze how quickly it comes down to the big primate beating his chest at the smaller primate who won’t go along with the rest of the troop…

In other news it is, of course, utterly surprising that the guy who was marched out of the meeting was someone with a known dislike of the pre-meeting prayer(sorry, I meant ‘the invocation’ a ‘brief ceremonial prayer or reflection’, no doubt vetted for establishment clause compliance in the meanest possible spirit); but that the mayor’s reaction was ‘spontaneous’ and ‘just hit him’, although he apparently knew enough about the man’s history to remark that “He doesn’t come to the meetings because he cares about the city”.

No surprise that this is from Florida- The WTF State™; but petty tribalism seems to be universal.


What that mayor did just sounds so tyrannical to me.


Even if he does need a hobby, is it not appropriate to honor the one who pursues justice above and beyond the point where the rest of us would give up in disinterest?


If you live in a small pond, probably kind of an algae-laden one, being a big fish is among the few perks.

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Do you? Because pointing out petty local dictators who act beyond their station and violate civil rights is a pretty awesome hobby… as far as I am concerned.

And very very American.



Being big, and acting big, obviously are two quite different things.

If people really cared about the troops then we should hang the politicians for sending soldiers to murder and die for manufactured wars.


Yep - more correctly, the article above should have said that he was removed after failing to stand for both the “invocation” (read: “prayer” - not all invocations are prayers) and Pledge. It was originally (and for quite some time), the prayer to open a public meeting that he had a problem with. This time, he even correctly clarified for the mayor that students have the right to not stand for the Pledge should they choose not to do so.

According to the city’s recording of the meeting, Rees asked everyone to stand first for the invocation, which is a brief ceremonial prayer or reflection that opens Winter Garden commission meetings, and then for the pledge.

Here’s the “brief ceremonial” invocation in full.

Father we thank you for bringing us here tonight.
We thank You for the gift of life, the gift of friendship, and the gift of community.
We ask You to be with us today as we make decisions that guide our city for the future.
We ask that You bless all our employees, our residents, and our businesses in the City of Winter Garden.
And we know that any time in our lives when we experience stress, it’s just Your way of bringing us closer to You, and we thank You for allowing us to be in a country where we’re free to believe and think and pray, and be together here in public, and we ask this in Your precious name, Amen.

So much for separation of Church and State. This public meeting was opened as though it was a church assembly. Richardson had this to say about the invocation in May:

“As a resident of Winter Garden, I would like our city to be known for its inclusiveness for all points of view and its respect for all individuals,” Richardson wrote in May. “Opening up the commission meeting invocations to everyone would be a wonderful step in that direction.”

It seems like this has been boiling for some time, and Richardson finally got to the point where he needed to demonstrate his rights - religion wasn’t being heard as an issue.


Here is what pissed me off. I understand that Sunday morning quarterbacking is easy. Facing off against a armed fundamentalist is hard. The man did not take the opportunity to make it clear that he was in fact leaving without consent and under stress and duress. That he was in fear for his life from the armed man giving him a unlawful order. Then and only then he should have left. It would make the actions of the officer Criminal Coercion. Dictators are nothing more than pickpockets, unless a thug follows his orders. I place all blame for this on the officer who should have honored his oath.

As your friendly neighborhood troll I think…well, I got nothing, this guy is a tool. Someone needs to put this cupcake on the fascist watchlist.

Sorry, I will try to be better troll in the future.


I’ve certainly noticed that people who are intolerant just want you to sit down and shut up, occasionally kneel, and sing with the chorus, speak the rote lines when it’s your turn, pay up when the plate goes around and come back next week.

And once you’ve voluntarily climbed on that treadmill, only they get to say when it’s your turn.

And i say this as someone who attends church regularly, just not one full of assholes like this mayor.


Well… I get why he’s opposed to the pre-meeting prayer, I get why he shouldn’t have to stand, and I do admire that he’s putting his time (more valuable than money quite often) where his mouth is. Good for him. I do not fault him. Seems silly to attend the meetings with the sole purpose of sitting rather than standing. Hopefully it’s all leading somewhere for him.

yeah, they should totally take all the chairs out of the room. Good point.

and he is not against the prayer. He is against the enforced, unconstitutional compulsion.

or maybe you’re right, and he’s just a petty jerk from a small town trying to make it big.

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I didn’t mean “getting somewhere” in that sense. I meant if it’s furthering his cause locally then good. And really after reading all the comments i change my mind entirely. Good on this guy for taking on the issue locally.


That’s okay. it seems like someone else is on it. Happy Labor Day.