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Letter: Mayor's 'amen' abuse of power

35 Comments | Leave a Comment

I am a Greenville resident who is non-religious. When Mayor Allen Thomas was parading himself all over the news as a champion of religious expression, he touted the fact that two council members give non-religious invocations. I wanted to watch this, so I took to the Web.

On March 4, Councilman Calvin Mercer called for a moment of silence. I felt my beliefs and the beliefs of all our non-Christian residents were being respected. Then, when the invocation ended, Thomas came over the microphone to say “Amen.” I was flabbergasted.

I watched more. Every single time Councilwoman Marion Blackburn or Mercer deliver their non-religious invocations, Thomas waits until they finish and then shamefully slips in a bold, “Amen.” He either doesn’t understand the meaning of a moment of silence, or he just really wants to tell all of Greenville that he was praying to Jesus. This disrespect carries added weight as he is the moderator of the meeting. This isn’t just incredibly rude, it is also evidence. Every invocation ends with an amen because the mayor uses his position, and violates the rules of order, to ensure that this is how they all end.

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alone wrote:
If appears that you really don't know what you want, except to rant, threaten, and generally be a nuisance, and, in that process, are hiding behind a hate group while being obsessed with a UTube video.
You are confusing two separate issues. I've said before that I don't take offense to Rose Glover giving her prayers. She is just following the rules as they were set up for council meetings. Its the rule I have a problem with, not the person. I still think that any prayer doesn't have a place in a government meeting, and I'm pretty sure that we will lose this case, if the prayers are not modified. My quams with the mayor disrespecting another's invocation are purely about the disrespect and are a separate issue from the legal one, though I do think it could affect the case. The city attorney told us that its not the "amens" that are illegal, its directly referencing Jesus.

Here's a thought

Don't go to the meetings or watch them on cable TV. Then you won't have a problem. It appears that you are both speaking with a forked tongue and making the perverbial mountain out of a mole hill. You appear to go way out of your way to invent a problem. There is an ago old axiom. "Trouble is where you go looking for it". Just a suggestion, stay away from the person who was here at my home the other day fixing my floor. He hit his finger with a hammer and yelled "Jesus Christ". I'm guessing you would go after him for trying to establish a national religion also since my property is on land once owned by the government.


peppe wrote:
*if AMEN is silent, then how will folks know silent thought time is over? SOME sort of end signal must happen so all will know that a meeting is about to move forward.
Some of your comments were confusing me, and I think I now see why. Let me clarify for you. Mercer is the only one that gives a moment of silence. He ends his own moment with thank you, and thus the invocation is over. It is then that the Mayor comes over the mic to say "Amen". If the mayor were the one giving the moment, I wouldn't have a problem with him ending it with "Amen". It is not the "Amen" that is offensive. Its that he is using it to step on another member's invocation. You can watch it in the video I posted.

*i thought it was the AMEN

*i thought it was the AMEN that the mayor jumped in to say even after mercer said THANK-YOU to end the silence. and this even after we've established that AMEN is not really connected to religion--it's aa rather inocuous word.


We have gone all the way from establishing a national religion using the word "Amen" to: "If the mayor were the one giving the moment, I wouldn't have a problem with him ending it with "Amen". It is not the "Amen" that is offensive. Its that he is using it to step on another member's invocation. You can watch it in the video I posted." If appears that you really don't know what you want, except to rant, threaten, and generally be a nuisance, and, in that process, are hiding behind a hate group while being obsessed with a UTube video.

this is all political

jones is a Pat Dunn/Mercer advocate If Jones is to be believed, Mercer should find a job elsewhere as I do not want religios teaching at my public universities.


Your questions seem earnest, so I'll answer them earnestly.
peppe wrote:
*mr jones--are you threatening the city with a law suit that you already KNOW about or is this just a generic knowledge thing?
No. The FFRF threatened the city. I didn't learn about this issue until after it hit the local news. And I'm not the one who called the FFRF, though I fully admit that if I'd seen the videos of Thomas doing this sooner, I would have called them. As for generic knowledge, the court precedence for these cases is pretty well established. Our city attorney told the council that it was illegal for them to end prayers with "In Jesus name we pray", and that we would not have a case if they did not modify the invocations. They refused, and are moving forward.
peppe wrote:
most in our community do NOT object to a prayer or a moment of silence.
Majority does not rule. I don't object to a moment of silence, or even a system that allows religious leaders of all faiths to rotate the invocations (as they have in congress). But with the system set up as it is, we will never see a prayer that isn't inherently christian. And if it is a moment of silence, then all present should be respectful and remain silent.
peppe wrote:
is there a rule book that states how a moment of silence is ended appropriately? please tell.
No. But everyone other than mayor Thomas seems to understand that it ends with silence. Mayor Pat Dunn never stepped on Mercer's moments of silence. He said "Thank You", that meant it was over, and we moved on to the pledge. Only Thomas interjects after the invocation is over. These aren't atheist rules. Its just common sense. Someone calls for a moment of silence to respect everyone's beliefs, so you remain silent and be respectful. I could sit in that gallery and wait for it to finish and then stand up and say "There is no god", but that would be disrespectful. Thomas is being disrespectful just the same. The Jesus prayers are what will bring this case down. I'm just pointing out that Thomas is being disrespectful, and while likely not illegal, it won't help our city's case.


The key word in all this is "threaten". Just like a person holding a gun on you "threatens" you if you don't do exactly as he/she says. That's not a minority. That's intimidation. The FFR has a history of these threats of a lawsuit that will dragged through the courts and appealed. They go judge shopping until they find one that likes to "legislate from the bench" and brings their threat to his/her court. In short, they stack the deck. All the rest is just Athiestic gibberish against hearing the word "Amen". There are both federal and civil laws against intimidation.

*mr jones--are you

*mr jones--are you threatening the city with a law suit that you already KNOW about or is this just a generic knowledge thing? most in our community do NOT object to a prayer or a moment of silence. is there a rule book that states how a moment of silence is ended appropriately? please tell. *for my knowledge--do athiests experience moments of silence? and if they do, what are the rules of thoughts that are appropriate? it seems that athiests have about as many rules of thought that might be allowed to a Christian, a Hindu, a Muslim , a _______________?etc. *would like an answer and would be thankful for the written thought.

*to mr jones--do you have a

*to mr jones--do you have a problem with the pledge too? after all the phrase "under God" was added about 1950. so how do you feel about this phrase?

peppe wrote:*to mr jones--do

peppe wrote:
*to mr jones--do you have a problem with the pledge too? after all the phrase "under God" was added about 1950. so how do you feel about this phrase?
Honestly, I have multiple issues with the pledge. First and foremost is the obvious "under god", which the Knights of Columbus led the charge for in 1954 in a wave of McCarthyistic efforts to distinguish us from those godless communists. Francis Bellamy wrote it in the early 1890's as a means of putting new immigrants in their place. He was particularly not fond of the Irish and Italian immigrants if I recall correctly. It was "I pledge allegiance to MY FLAG, and to the republic for which it stands, one nation, indivisible, with liberty, and justice for all. Despite Bellamy's obvious racist streak, I'll give him credit for the fact that he originally wanted it to say "liberty, justice, and EQUALITY for all. The powers that be decided to strike the "equality" part because women fighting for the right to vote was a hot bed issue at the time. A few years later someone decided that "My flag" was too general and those poor immigrants might confuse it to mean the flags of their home countries. So we added "to the flag of the USA", which pointlessly ruined the poetic quality of the pledge for no reason (we all face the US flag when we give it, so I think we all know what flag we are pledging to). The biggest irony is that adding "under god" separated "One nation" and "indivisible", two phrases that were placed side by side to make a point. And thus it made us not one nation and it made us very divisible. The pledge says to me that if I don't think that we are "under god" then I'm not fit to be part of that "one nation". So, Yes Peppe. I have MANY problems with the pledge.

*THANKS to 1919--i knew

*THANKS to 1919--i knew someone with common sense would tell what AMEN really meant. i remembered that it was actually something non-religious but had forgotten. *other suggestions to end moment of silence: TIMES UP!, STOP NOW! WAKE UP EVERYBODY! NO MORE TIME FOR SILENCE. WE'GOT MORE IMPOTANT THINGS TO DO! CEASE!, THAT'S ENOUGH! AMEN!, I HAVE TO GET HOME EARLY TONIGHT, NO MORE SILENT THOUGHTS! AT THE SOUND OF THE TONE...! *choose one of the above or make up your own. maybe the mayor will choose it.

Councilman Mercer ends his

Councilman Mercer ends his OWN moments of silence with "Thank You". Then we've moved on to the pledge, a separate agenda item.

*OH!MY! Mr Mercer says

*OH!MY! Mr Mercer says "thank-you". to whom is he speaking? is this the "ending" he thinks is appropriate for a time of silent thought? is this his sneaky way of thanking a diety for listening to HIS silent thought? is he thanking the public for participating in a silent thought unconnected to any religion? is THANK-YOU another way of saying AMEN, VERILY, TRULY , or other inocuous ends of thoughts spoken/ or thought silently? *blackburn and mercer are a danger to our country? Maybe--they could be the quiet, non-threatening folk who are invading our conservative way of thinking. what's more likely is that they will encourage more conservative thought because their progressive, liberal, socialist ways will get more attention that will cause THEIR CAUSE to crumble. *sounds good, doesn't it. i wrote it, and considering what i see every day on TV NEWS ON A NUMBER OF CHANELS--i'm not sure i believe it.

to nick jones

I have better and more important things to complain about than an innocent "amen". But if this is your small world , knock yourself out. I will bet you in the scheme of things I have and will get more accomplished to further mankind than you and your mickey mouse observations that are totally irrelevent to making life better for our citizens in Greenville. Ramble on!

Thats funny because you

Thats funny because you usually love to rail on the city council for wasting tax payers money. Yet you ignore the fact that this will as well. Your weak semantics about the meaning of a word won't save this case, but you don't care.

jones supported

I agree with Jones. Conservation Christians may never understand how offensive it is to have their beliefs foisted on non-Christians by government and in the courts but it is important to stand for one's rights. Richard Dawkins and the late Christopher Hitchens are/were most eloquent in their denunciation of religious foolishness.

Watch him do it yourself

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ThA3CO4NEXI Perhaps one could claim that it's just his free speech. But, he had the choice to express his freedom of speech and speak up, or he could have held back his speech during a moment of silence, and remained respectful of others beliefs. He chose to express his own beliefs rather than just be respectful of another's beliefs. Does my freedom of speech give me the right to say whatever I want whenever I want during a council meeting? Of course it doesn't.

*Actually, nick, i think it

*Actually, nick, i think it might--what do you want to say?

Radical Leftist Group

This young fellow is a member of the radical leftist group called "Freedom From Religion". It's principal founder is Clinton Richard Dawkins. A avid anti Vietnam war activist in the late 1960's while teaching in California. He was born in Kenya and a British subject. He now teaches at Oxford University in Great Britian and is married, for the third time, to a movie actress. You will know these people by the "Scarlett Letter A" that they wear on they left "brest", probably connoting the "fallen woman" Hester Prynn in a novel of the same name. The "A" supposedly stands for them as "Athiest". They are the worst of thieves and robbers in that they use the law as a weapon to rob us of our Constitutional right of freedom to worship by lawsuits that they drag through the courts costing hundreds of thousands of dollars. These are usually found bringing lawsuits against smaller cities or even lately a school that has a picture of Jesus hanging in the library where the Fellowship of Christian Athletes have met for over 60 years. They despise the utterance or sight of any word, sign or symbol that connotes any connection with religion, especially the Christian Religion, calling them an attempt to estabish a national religion. Of course this is not true, but truth is not one of their strong points. They are just another hate group that more than once has stated that "Hitler was right in his persecution of the myth of religion". They are currently listed as a hate group by the Southern Christian Leadership Conference for attempting to restrict the civil rights of Americans.

This entire post is just

This entire post is just "attacking the messenger" and doesn't even address any of the issues. Richard Dawkins is just a prominent Atheist author. He did not found the Freedom From Religion Foundation. Not sure where you got that idea. "They are just another hate group that more than once has stated that 'Hitler was right in his persecution of the myth of religion' ". Wow! Total BS! I'm sure you have some evidence to back up this wild assertion. Finding some means to equate your opponent's ideas with Hitler is the lowest form of political discussion possible. But I'm sure you wouldn't just make up such a heinous assertion. Please show me an instance of when anyone from the FFRF has said anything in support of what Hitler did.

Me thinks

the young fellow protests too much, as if to hide something. Not mine to prove, yours to disprove. Show us how I am wrong in detail. No Clinton Richard Dawkins and his several books on the teaching of Atheism, no Scarlett "A", never an uttering of members of your organization as to Hitler, no hatred of all utterance, signs, or symbols of religon, especially the Christian Religion. No listing of being a hate group. What's it to be? By your several previous postings, you are far more than just a messenger. I would suggest that every elected judicial official check deeply into this group and its dealings before rendering a decision on any of their lawsuits.

You made the claim, so the

You made the claim, so the impetus is on you to prove it. That's how science AND HISTORY work. I tried looking for such quotes and can't find them. That leads me to believe you just made that up. You can't just say so and so supports what Hitler did, and then say "Prove me wrong". Yes Dawkins has written many books on atheism, so what? But he has nothing to do with the FFRF, so whats the point. Yes, a red A is often a symbol for atheism. So what? I specifically brought up the Hitler thing. Where is your proof? I don't have a hatred of all utterances signs or symbols of religion. I usually end up in church once or twice a year with family for a wedding or a christening. I am respectful, but I don't close my eyes or pretend to pray. That is a place where religious expression is acceptable, so I have no quams with it. Of course they are listed as a hate group by some christian organization. Big surprise. Find me an organization that actually matters in legal circles. You stated that the FFRF has repeatedly said that Hitler was right in what he did. Back up your claim. Surely you can find it in your library of congress can't you? If not, anyone who reads this will know you are just on a shameless smear campaign.

Not this time

You wrote the letter. In my opinion, since you are so fond of that UTube video, I suspect you had something to do with making it. After all, you have posted it twice now; and, you keep bringing the subject up in almost every one of your posts. In my opinion, you were instrumental in contacting the Freedom From Religion organization with the complaint. You know far too many details about the subject to be just and innocent bystander. Now, I cannot prove that, but there are no coincidences. So, you can call my post whatever you want, however, you are going to have to dig far deeper to explain how much of a Pontius Pilate both you and the Freedom From Religion Orginization are. That is what you leftists are very good at, showing only the facts that relate to your agenda, and do everything including questioning one's parentage to discredit anyone that disagrees. Smear campaign or simple truth, yours to disclaim. Now, are you going to scream for Mommy to make him go away again or are you going to carefully explain the formation, membership, background, and stated goals of the Freedom From Religion Organization and how they do not attempt to restrict or destroy the rights of freedom to worship a faith under the First Amendment to Our Constitution. Their history has already set that precedent. I still suggest that all elected and appointed judicial officials check very deeply into the Freedom From Religion Organization, it history and it's goals, before rendering any sort of decision on uttering a word, showing a sign or a symbol connoting one's affirmation of one's own faith.

I'll address everything you

I'll address everything you just proposed, and explain my full relationship to that video and to the FFRF openly, just as soon as you show me where you got that quote about supporting Hitler. I will. Just pony up the source for the quote, and show me that you aren't the type of person who make stuff up equating someone with Nazism. Until you show me this, I'm not wasting my time responding to you.


Does this mean that if I don't give you a source, you will stop posting your agenda? Let's hope so. I'm afraid you are going to find it for yourself for you are too blind to see it. I will say this, you and your organization and it's authors have a way of twisting words to fit your own agenda. Frankly, I don't give a fat rat's ankle whether you respond or not. Because you already have.

Really? This country is

Really? This country is doomed.

Nick Jones needs to get a life

Amen Its use in Judaism dates back to its earliest texts.[3] It has been generally adopted in Christian worship as a concluding word for prayers and hymns.[2] In Islam, it is the standard ending to Dua (supplication). Common English translations of the word amen include "verily" and "truly". It can also be used colloquially to express strong agreement,[2] as in, for instance, amen to that.[4] Nick - take your politics elsewhere - Amen


Listen to the words of RONALD R. LAGUEUX, Senior United States District Judge. He delivered the ruling in a recent Rhode Island case where the town was forced to remove a prayer banner. The town did not appeal. "The Prayer concludes with the indisputably religious closing: “Amen;” a Hebrew word used by Jews, Christians and Muslims to conclude prayers. In between, the Prayer espouses values of honesty, kindness, friendship and sportsmanship. While these goals are commendable, the reliance on God’s intervention as the way to achieve those goals is not consistent with a secular purpose." Attempts to cite non-religious uses of "amen" miss the point, and will not matter when this thing goes to court. This comment is from someone who signs their comments and letters with the same name to as to be transparent, unlike you Terry, who hides behind a pseudonym.

Moment of silence

If there is a moment of true silence saying Amen should be silent as well.

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Bless your heart
Bless your heart