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Op-Ed: Atheists Sue City of Ocala, Florida, Over Prayer with Police After Shooting That Wounded Three Kids

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Three kids were shot – and the atheists were offended by the religious leaders and police officers praying together. Their humanity went out the window on that day.

OCALA, FL – It’s unbelievable what haters of God will do for revenge. Hmmm. Atheists don’t believe in God, so they must hate Christians, instead.

“Faced with tragedy, the city of Ocala, Florida, searched for ways to bring the community together. After a shooting spree left several children injured, police appealed to community leaders for help. A local NAACP official suggested to the chief of police that he contact religious leaders to facilitate conversations between residents and law enforcement. A local minister, in turn, proposed holding a prayer vigil for the victims. The chief agreed to organize the event and police chaplains participated in it.”

But instead of unity, litigation followed. Several atheists who chose to attend the event sued the city, alleging that the event’s religious themes violated the First Amendment’s Establishment Clause

The atheists claimed the one-hour prayer vigil inflicted injury due a Judeo-Christian message. And they were offended. Boo-hoo.

Three kids were shot – and the atheists were offended by the religious leaders and police officers praying together. Their humanity went out the window on that day.

So, what did the haughty humanists do? Filed a bogus lawsuit which wastes the time of city employees and costs the taxpayers. Why didn’t the nosey busybodies mind their own business and go home?

Senior Counsel Monica Miller of the American Humanist Association (AHA), and several of its members sued in federal court. The case has been narrowed to two plaintiffs, Lucinda Hale and Art Rojas, and a single defendant, the city.

The AHA website says it seeks “to bring about a progressive society where being good without a god is an accepted and respected way to live life.”

The AHA is using something called “the establishment clause” to sue – which I assume means they perceive they are being good. If suing a city because police officers, religious leaders, and citizens prayed together after three children were shot is being good – then what is being bad by their definition?

According Faithwire editor, Billy Hallowell:

The first judgment in the case came in 2018, when a judge ruled the plaintiffs were correct, Ocala violated the First Amendment and were, thus, entitled to $1 each.

But in July 2022, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 11th Circuit, which upheld atheists’ legal standing to challenge the vigil, also sent the ruling back to a district court to have a judge reconsider.

In 2023, Justin Butterfield, deputy general counsel at First Liberty Institute, dismissed the latest claims by some the Supreme Court’s denial was a victory of sorts for the atheist plaintiffs and the American Humanist Association, explaining the justices felt it wasn’t “at the position” in which they could take up the case.

Read the 2023 Press Release: American Humanist Association Statement on the Supreme Court Refusing to Hear Case of Ocala, Florida, Prayer Vigil

Learn more about the lawsuit from Butterfield on YouTube: Attorney Makes Bold Prediction After Atheists Sue Over Prayer Vigil.

Hugh Ross on the website, Reasons to Believe, tells the story of debating at the California International Skeptics Society Conference in front of 700 atheists.

“As I engaged dozens of atheists after the debate, I stated that if they were really convinced the God of the Bible didn’t exist, they would treat him like they do the tooth fairy and the Easter bunny. Their passion and intensity, I explained, showed that they really do believe in the God of the Bible but that they do not like him,” Ross explained.

Their response was telling revealed Ross:

It’s not that we hate so much the God of the Bible. It’s that we despise his followers.”

They all had stories of how they had been wounded by people who called themselves Christians. I replied that it is ironic and irrational that they allow sinful humans to get between them and a morally perfect God.

Their second response also was telling, “If Christians understood how much damage they have caused, maybe they would behave differently.”

Well, I’m going to use my secret weapon on the crew of humanists and the plaintiffs…

I went on the AHA website and prayed for the salvation of each board member and staff employee by name. Furthermore, I’ll give their names to a faith-based group of Christians for even more prayer.

Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me. Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you,” said Jesus. (Matthew 5:11-12, NIV)

We’re all sinners saved by grace.

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