Secular at last

George Gold gives the city of Chico’s first nonreligious invocation

George Gold, coordinator of the Butte County Coalition of Reason and president of the Atheists of Butte County, delivered the city of Chico’s first secular invocation Tuesday evening, Jan. 6, during the City Council’s regular meeting.

According to Gold, the invocation was two years in the making, following discussions and emails with city officials. It also follows a 2014 U.S. Supreme Court ruling (Greece v. Galloway) that specifically holds that no preference may be applied to those seeking to deliver invocations.

During his invocation, Gold noted that he was representing more than 17,000 local secular residents. He asked the panel to look for wisdom in governmental documents, such as the Constitution, the Bill of Rights and the city charter. He also called for tolerance.

“Let us open our hearts to the inherent dignity and worth of each person in our community,” he said. “I hope we can appreciate and realize our differences of race and religion or lack of religion.”