Florida County Agrees to Allow Atheists to Give Invocations at Government Meetings

Members of the Brevard County Board of Commissioners pray as Pastor Tom Porter delivers the invocation at their budget hearing meeting, Sept. 26, 2017. | Facebook/BrevardCountyGovernment

A Florida county will now allow atheists to give invocations at the start of government meetings and was ordered to pay $490,000 as part of a recently agreed upon legal settlement.

The Brevard County Board of Commissioners reached a settlement with a group of plaintiffs who were prohibited from giving invocations at the meeting.

The plaintiffs will now be allowed to give invocations, according to an announcement by Americans United for Separation of Church & State.

The county will also dole out $430,000 in court costs and legal fees, as well as $60,000 in damages to the plaintiffs.

Alex J. Luchenitser, associate legal director for Americans United who helped represent the plaintiffs, supported the settlement.

“This settlement protects the religious freedom of everyone in Brevard County. No one should be excluded from participating in local government because of their beliefs about religion,” said Luchenitser in a statement released Tuesday.

In 2014, David Williamson of the Central Florida Freethought Community and other leaders asked to do an invocation at the beginning of the Brevard County Commissioners meeting.

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SOURCE: Christian Post, Michael Gryboski