Secular Invocation (TDOR 2017)


This year SarahTalk attended a Trasngender Day of Remembrance Event at Valencia College East Campus in Orlando, Florida.  We brought out the mobile studio and did some interviews with various leaders, movers and shakers with a number of pro-Equality groups in the area.  You can listen to those interviews [here].

In the month or so leading up to the event, the organizer posted in our Facebook group that pretty much all the arrangements had been made, the only thing we were really missing was a pastor or preacher to give an opening and closing prayer.  After a short time, I raised my virtual hand and offered to give an inclusive, secular humanist invocation.  Below the video player is the text of the invocation that I gave that night, which you can also listen to [here] along with the speaker panel we had prior to reading the names of our community lost.

This is based in part on a secular invocation given by member of the Arizona House of Representatives Juan Mendez to the Arizona House on May 21, 2013 and modified to fit the tone of the event and so forth.

Many prayers begin with a request to bow your heads. I would like to ask you not to bow your heads. Instead, I would ask that you take a moment to look around at all of the people here, in this moment, sharing together this extraordinary experience of being together in community to honor those who are no longer with us, and of dedicating ourselves to working toward making this world a better place for everyone.

While we celebrate our diversities of gender identity and expression with our allies, as we celebrate our diversities of sexual orientation, race, class, faith and all the things that make us unique but which are too often used to separate us – we are one.

My secular humanist tradition stresses, by the very fact of being human, that we have much more in common then we have differences. We share the same spectrum of potential for care, for compassion, for fear, for joy, and for love.

Carl Sagan once wrote, “For small creatures such as we, the vastness is bearable only through love.” Let us cherish and celebrate our shared humanness, our shared capacity for reason and compassion, our shared love for each other.  For it is through this common experience of simply being human that will one day unite us all.
In gratitude and in love, in reason and compassion, let us reflect today on the beautiful lives we have lost. And in that reflection, let us see a renewed hope for the future.

Sarah Austin

Sarah is a transgender woman (MTF) living in central Florida.  She started SarahTalk to create a space to discuss LGBT stories, news, etc. which has grown to include the atheist/freethinker community as well.

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