Florida county insults FFRF, local chapter
FFRF and its Florida chapter are still seeking resolution after being publicly insulted by the Lake County Board of County Commissioners.
FFRF Staff Attorney Chris Line wrote a letter in December to the Board of County Commissioners after a secular invocation delivered at the Dec. 6 meeting by Joseph Richardson, director of the Central Florida Freethought Community, was immediately followed by a “corrective” Christian prayer. FFRF requested either that invocations be respected regardless of content or the practice be discontinued entirely.
The Board of County Commissioners has neither acted to correct this mistake nor has it made any official comment regarding the insult.
Richardson returned to address the board at its Jan. 23 meeting to protest the inequitable treatment.
“I’m here today because the situation remains unresolved,” he said. “There has been no response to FFRF’s letter of complaint. Further, I emailed Commissioner Sean M. Parks in December offering to meet with him and also received no response. Finally, another CFFC [Central Florida Freethought Community] board member, Mr. David Williamson, came here asking for clarification and he was referred back to the Sentinel article where Commissioner Parks said, through a spokesperson, ‘He would apologize.’”
FFRF and Richardson are renewing their demands for the Board of County Commissioners to acknowledge the mistake, apologize for said mistake and assure that it will not happen again.
If the board insists upon having invocations before meetings, it must straightforwardly accept secular invocations, too. Failing to do so will run the risk of lawsuit, as FFRF and other groups successfully sued the Brevard County Board of Commissioners in 2015 for censoring invocations by nontheists.