Arizona House Doubles Up on Prayer to Counter Atheist
Christian lawmaker calls second one 'repentance' for colleague's non-prayer
By John Johnson, Newser Staff
Posted May 23, 2013 4:30 PM CDT
This 2011 file photo shows Arizona state Sen. Steve Smith, R-Maricopa, left, and Rep. Russ Jones, R-Yuma.   (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin, File)

(Newser) – A little addendum to a story out of Arizona this week about an atheist state lawmaker who took a turn offering a prayer of sorts before the day's session. In doing so, Juan Mendez asked his peers not to bow their heads and extolled the values of his own "secular humanist tradition." He said he hoped his move "marks the beginning of a new era in which Arizona's non-believers can feel as welcome and valued here as believers." Turns out, he might have to wait a while, notes the Phoenix New Times.

Yesterday, a Christian lawmaker said Mendez's prayer on Tuesday did not qualify as a prayer, and he asked lawmakers to stand for what the AP calls a "do-over." That is, Steve Smith gave a second prayer (after the morning's regular prayer) in the name of "repentance." Smith explains: "When there's a time set aside to pray and to pledge, if you are a non-believer, don't ask for time to pray." The Supreme Court might have something to say on the matter, or something like it. Justices this week agreed to hear a case from the town of Greece, New York, in which residents sued over town officials' practice of opening meetings with a Christian prayer.

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May 24, 2013 2:43 PM CDT
Along this same line.... Something that's bugged me for awhile: Why do public officials have to put their hands on a Bible to take the oath of office, and ditto, for swearing in to testify in courtrooms? I don't get it.
May 24, 2013 9:11 AM CDT
Hope Mendez stayed seated. "repentance."? Really Rep Smith? The AZ House has to be ashamed of one of their member's beliefs and ask FORGIVENESS because that person had the balls to stand up and state it? Pray on your own time you bigot - not everyone shares your beliefs - get over it. So the next person who leads the house session needs to pray to THEIR god 3 times to make up for your 2 and the atheist 1?
May 24, 2013 9:05 AM CDT
Hubris, also hybris, from ancient Greek, means extreme pride or arrogance. Hubris often indicates a loss of contact with reality and an overestimation of one's own competence or capabilities, especially when the person exhibiting it is in a position of power. The adjectival form of hubris is "hubristic". I...just though I'd mention that. In the same breath with mentioning the Arizona State Legislature. No special reason.