Juan Mendez, an atheist who is a member of the Arizona House of Representatives from Tempe, offered the invocation at the beginning of their session on May 21:
…Earlier today, Mendez did something we’ve rarely seen from any elected official in any state: He delivered an invocation before the House began its afternoon session in which he honored his Secular Humanism:
Quoting author Carl Sagan, he prayed in part:
Most prayers in this room begin with a request to bow your heads, I would like to ask that you not 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 in our state.
This is a 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.
Hear him give the invocation here.