Excerpts from article at above link :
A federal court on Sept. 30, 2017 struck down a Florida county’s divisive practice of refusing to allow non-theistic invocations at the start of the county commission’s meetings. The ruling was in response to a lawsuit brought by Americans United and allies.
The U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Florida ruled that the policy of Brevard County’s Board of Commissioners to allow only monotheistic, overwhelmingly Christian invocations violated both the U.S. and Florida Constitutions – due to the government’s favoring of certain faiths.
David Williamson, one of the plaintiffs in the case, told the newspaper Florida Today, “I’m very pleased with what I read in the decision. This was straight-up discrimination, in relegating us to second-class citizenship in denying us our participating in the invocations.”
In 2014, Williamson, a U.S. Navy veteran and ordained Humanist celebrant, requested that a member of the Central Florida Freethought Community be permitted to offer an invocation. He was denied.
Commissioners seemingly just assumed that the intent of the non-theists was to denigrate Christianity and other monotheistic religions. In reality, the non-theists had no intention of speaking ill of other faiths, nor were they seeking to stop others from giving monotheistic prayers. Rather, they simply wanted the chance to occasionally offer words of encouragement to their government officials and solemnize the meetings in a way that was inclusive to people of all faiths.
“People are often surprised by what they hear, and they like it,” Williamson previously told Church & State about the non-theistic invocations offered elsewhere in Florida. “All of the invocations conducted in central Florida thus far have been radically inclusive of everyone in attendance, celebrated the diversity of the community and acknowledged that together we can face the challenges that come our way. ”
Barry W. Lynn, AU’s then-executive director, summed up the inclusivity required of legislative prayers when the Fields case was filed: “When governmental bodies open their meetings with invocations, no viewpoints should be excluded. That includes people who do not believe in God. No one should be made to feel like a second-class citizen by their government.”