A Florida county’s policy of excluding atheists and humanists from offering invocations at board meetings violates the U.S. Constitution’s prohibition on government establishment of religion, an appeals court panel ruled Monday.
Brevard County adopted an official policy in 2015 precluding “secular invocations” from being offered before Board of Commissioners meetings. By passing the resolution, the commissioners rejected an official request from the Central Florida Freethought Community to be allowed to offer invocations. The community is an organization of humanists and atheists. Typically, commissioners have invited only Christian and Jewish speakers. Five individuals who identify as atheists sued the board. Four of them also call themselves “humanist.” The U.S. 11th Circuit Court of Appeals said the policy violates the U.S. Constitution’s Establishment Clause. “Brevard County has selected invocation speakers in a way that favors certain monotheistic religions and categorically excludes […]