*** FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE ***
(Chico, California, January 6, 2015)
After two years of discussions and email exchanges, the Butte County Coalition of Reason has been included in the Chico California city council invocation schedule for 2015.
George Gold, Coordinator of the Butte County Coalition of Reason, has been invited to deliver the first ever secular invocation at the Chico City Council meeting of Tuesday, January 6, 2015; 06:30 pm.
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Good evening Mr. Mayor, members of the city council.
I’m George Gold, Coordinator of the Butte County Coalition of Reason, and I’m President of the Atheists of Butte County.
Rather than bowing our heads and closing our eyes in deference, we want to encourage you to open your eyes wide to face the reality that confronts us. We should do so without losing sight of our ideals and what we might achieve.
When this body comes together to govern, you do so with the consent of the citizens of Chico. Chico is a diverse community with many different views and opinions. This eclectic community, according to the Pew Research Center includes 20 per cent of our population living secular lives.
In the city of Chico that means for the first time ever, I’m here representing over 17,000 secular Chico citizens with this invocation.
Humanists, non-believers, agnostics and atheists by their very nature, believe that we have the power to solve all problems within ourselves, amongst ourselves, through science and reason and that by applying this science and reason with the strength found in sympathy and compassion we can overcome any hurdle we encounter.
It is incumbent upon this council to make the best decisions for the entire community. In this regard, I ask that you use wisdom, common sense, and empathy in your deliberations.
In your work here, take into account the implications your decisions will have now and in the future. Be reminded of the joyous laughter of children playing in the comfort of the shade of our trees. You are planting seeds for the benefit of future generations.
When there are problems, when there is debate, let us be accountable for our own actions. Let’s not point to the shortcomings of others. Let us behave morally and judiciously. Let’s treat each other with respect.
When we need to find wisdom, let’s look to the documents of government, the Constitution of the United States, the Bill of Rights, and yes, the first amendment which in one sentence provides for the separation between church and state, and we might even consult our city charter for direction.
Let us open our hearts to the inherent dignity and worth of each person in our community. I hope we can appreciate and realize our differences of race and religion, and or lack of religion.
In the end we are all human beings. When we bleed, we bleed one of the four basic blood groups. Regardless of race, regardless of where we live, regardless of our political affiliations, whether we are rich or poor, and yes, whether we are religious or decidedly not religious, for in every single one of us, the color of our blood is the same.
In the face of adversity, we need not look above for answers, but instead we should recognize the proven potential within ourselves and in each other to overcome the many challenges that we will face in this coming year.
Our commonalities unite us, and I hope we and you can recognize our humanity as we get ready for the challenges of this new year.
We, the secular community, want to participate in our communities with a life full of inspiration, imagination, and beauty.
Each of us wants to live an honorable and ethical life. We hope each of you feels the same.
Some people say, I’m just a child of the 60’s, just look at my long hair, (lift hat) oh gone, my big black beard, oh gone, but I suppose that it might be true. Nevertheless, my mantra has always been, make love not war. Today, I guess if nothing else, I still believe… in that.
Thank you and Happy New Year.
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