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Atheist Quotes From 'Harry Potter' for Secular Invocation at South Dakota City Council Meeting

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By Michael Gryboski , Christian Post Reporter
August 7, 2014|3:34 pm

An atheist gave a secular invocation for the beginning of a council meeting in a South Dakota city and quoted from a book from the Harry Potter series.

Amanda Novotny, president of the Siouxland Freethinkers, spoke the invocation Tuesday evening at the Sioux Falls City Council meeting.

"Often at this time, you are asked to bow your heads. Instead, I ask you to lift your head up and look around," said Novotny.

"Turn your attention to this room — a room that has heard countless discussions, frustrations, and successes; a room where important decisions regarding your city are routinely made."

"Differences of habit and language are nothing at all if our aims are identical and our hearts are open," said Novotny, quoting from J.K. Rowling's book, "Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire."

In an interview with The Christian Post, Novotny explained that she felt the invocation at the council meeting "went very well."

"The meeting was very well attended — standing room only at the start, and the councilwoman next to me commented on it and asked me if I had brought my friends," said Novotny.

"Overall, no one seemed to have any concern with the content of the invocation."

Novotny also told CP that since her delivery of the invocation the response "has been overwhelmingly positive."

"I have received numerous emails, texts, Facebook messages, and comments about how beautiful of a sentiment was expressed, and how inclusive the message was," said Novotny.

In May, the US Supreme Court ruled that the Town of Greece, New York, could open its monthly town council meetings with Christian prayers.

Justice Anthony Kennedy authored the majority opinion, and was joined by Chief Justice John Roberts, Justice Samuel Alito, and with Justices Antonin Scalia and Clarence Thomas concurring.

Dissenting from the majority opinion were Justices Stephen Breyer, Elena Kagan, Sonia Sotomayor and Ruth Bader Ginsburg.

"The Court must decide whether the town of Greece, New York, imposes an impermissible establishment of religion by opening its monthly board meetings with a prayer. It must be concluded … that no violation of the Constitution has been shown," read the Kennedy opinion.

A major point in the successful defense of Greece's prayer policy was that non-Christians have always been allowed to give invocations.

In an earlier interview with CP, Novotny explained that the Supreme Court's decision was what inspired her to ask to give an invocation at a Sioux Falls meeting.

"Following the Supreme Court ruling, I contacted the city office to find out more information about how one would go about giving an opening to a city council meeting," said Novotny.

"It was simply a matter of scheduling, so we scheduled for the Aug. 5 date."

 

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