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The Land of the Free, the Home of the Brave

Today I wanted to take a very brief moment to honor the courage and bravery that some of our elected officials display. When it was his turn to open the Arizona House of Representatives with the daily prayer, Democratic Rep. Juan Mendez of Tempe said this:




Most prayers in this room begin with a request to bow your heads. I would like to ask you not to bow your heads. I would like to ask that you take a moment to look around the room at all of the men and women here, in this moment, sharing together this extraordinary experience of being alive and of dedicating ourselves to working toward improving the lives of the people of our state.

This room in which there are many challenging debates, many moments of tension, of ideological division, of frustration. But this is also a room where, as my Secular Humanist tradition stresses, by the very fact of being human, we have much more in common than we have differences. We share the same spectrum of potential for care, for compassion, for fear, for joy, for love.

Carl Sagan once wrote, 'For small creatures such as we, the vastness is bearable only through love.' There is, in the political process, much to bear. In this room, let us cherish and celebrate our shared humanness, our shared capacity for reason and compassion, our shared love for the people of our state, for our Constitution and for our democracy— and let us root our policymaking process in these values that are relevant to all Arizonans regardless of religious belief or nonbelief. In gratitude and in love, in reason and in compassion, let us work together for a better Arizona.

As a voting constituent I am honored and inspired by his words.


In closing, I am unsure why there is even a daily prayer at all. I had understood that there was a separation of church and state. Maybe that only applies to the non-government areas of our community?

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