Tag Archives: Culture

In Response to SCOTUS Decision to Allow Prayer Before Town Hall Meetings: David Suhor Offers a Pagan Invocation

Concerned that a singular, sectarian, majority religion is over-represented in media and government, David Suhor responds to the Supreme Court’s¬†Town of Greece vs. Galloway decision allowing¬†prayer before legislative and town hall meetings. David Suhor, a Pensacola musician singer/songwriter, performed a Neopagan/Wiccan ceremony, the Evocation of the Watchtowers, to demonstrate the need that ALL or NONE religions must be represented in the political sphere.

Personally, I think he performed beautifully, and I’m happy to see marginalized religions brought to the forefront to get a little honest screentime. Even if this is a challenge to the decision, demonstrating the discomfort and alienation that atheists and people of varying religions might feel during a Christian invocation, it struck a chord with me. In its action, it is kind. At its face, defiant. In its heart, inclusive and beautiful.

I believe any public operation of government should avoid exclusivity. Of course, many people cite the slippery slope argument, concerned that they’ll have to let ANY nutjob up to offer whatever insane mumblings they might believe qualifies as prayer. Well, in my opinion, that’s exactly the point. Just because we’re used to a certain kind of “crazy” doesn’t make it better than any other kind of crazy.

But David doesn’t come off as crazy or confrontational. He is cordial in his introduction, offers a melodic invocation, thanks the participants, then dismisses himself. There is nothing disruptive about his actions, though they inherently challenge the norm. His performance is heartfelt, honest, and psychologically disruptive. My favorite kind of magic.

Well, it is what the Supreme Court decided. All religious views may have their airtime, and, as exhausting as that might sound, I’m looking forward to it. Maybe a “witchdoctor” will come in to offer Ayahuasca and sing Icaros. Perhaps a zany zealot of Odin will break into the courthouse and make it rain.

Until then, we’ll have to put our big “Religious Tolerance” pants on and move through the world with some sense of authenticity, the kind of character that can’t be disrupted by a simple prayer. You know, a structure of psyche that isn’t rattled by the “annoyance” of marginalized peoples receiving and creating representation for themselves and other minorities.

The public billboard is a busy place and needs to be big enough to hold all the signs, banners, sigils, and widgets of the people, because we have a lot to say. And somewhere in this din is a song. Perhaps one that will be auto-tuned.

So, thanks David Suhor, for the Evocation. Your Escambia County town hall prayer, in front of chairman Lumon May and the whole world, has been my favorite so far.

Decision on SCOTUSblog here: http://www.scotusblog.com/case-files/cases/town-of-greece-v-galloway/

Article on NYTimes: http://www.nytimes.com/2014/05/06/nyregion/supreme-court-allows-prayers-at-town-meetings.html?_r=0