Oh, Maryland. Frederick County makes me ashamed. It’s not often I’m ashamed of my home state, but on odd occasions, it does happen.
I subscribe to The Wild Hunt’s email posts, and two days ago I saw the post talking about various prayer and invocation models of government opening invocations (whether it’s for a city council meeting or a county government meeting, whatever). And I was surprised when I saw Frederick County, Maryland was discussed. Granted, I don’t live in Frederick County, but I used to. Apparently, the invocation model that seems to be growing in popularity is to limit opening invocations only to religious leaders ordained in a monotheistic faith. Here’s the wording of the decision (as copied from Wild Hunt):
“Board members voted 3-to-2 on Thursday to invite religious leaders to attend their meetings to invoke “divine guidance” for the commissioners and their deliberations. The religious leaders must be ordained and affiliated with a monotheistic religion with an established congregation in Frederick County. Their prayers must avoid referring to any particular religion, denomination or sect.”
The monotheistic invocation model is apparently “Pagan proof.” While I agree that it is discriminatory to polytheistic faiths, it’s not necessarily Pagan- or Wiccan-proof. A number of Wiccans I know actually define themselves not as polytheistic but as monotheistic. The reasoning behind this is that although the Divine is expressed in multiple ways through such divine beings as gods, angels, supernatural creatures, etc., there is in fact only one Divine (aka, the Universe, the Creator, the Ultimate Knowledge, etc). For those who need a visual aid:
So it’s not exactly “Pagan-proof”, though it is in fact polytheistic-proof. Eventually someone will point this out to them and they’ll have to take another vote and put in place some other equally ridiculous ruling to protect their Christian-themed invocations at public meetings. I am of the mindset that there shouldn’t be an invocation at all in public meetings, just a moment of silence for each member to pray or not pray as they wish–but I suppose that’s a topic for another post.