Andrew Lovley's Secular Invocation
The following is the text of the invocation given by Andrew Lovley, president of the Southern Maine Association of Secular Humanists at the University of Southern Maine, at the 2009 inauguration ceremony for new city officials in South Portland, Maine, on Dec. 7.
"Today we have come together to mark a new beginning of governance in the city of South Portland. What lies ahead is an untold opportunity to affirm our ability, and our responsibility to serve the greater good - of which there is no higher purpose.
We must open our hearts to the welfare of all people within our community by respecting the inherent dignity within all of us, and realize that our differences of race, religion, and party affiliation are only superficial. We are united by our common humanity, and through our interdependence we share a common fate.
In order to achieve our greatest capabilities as citizens and leaders of this community, it is important for us to maintain an open mind. Let us consider the benefit provided by differing perspectives, and be willing to question assumptions that only serve to obstruct our path to progress.
Rather than bowing our heads and closing our eyes in denial or deference, we should open our eyes widely to accept the reality that confronts us, without losing sight of our ideals of what it could be.
Through the prudent use of reason and compassion we can ensure the success of this great city.
Lastly, we must remember that in the face of adversity we need not look above for answers, but instead recognize the proven potential within ourselves and in each other to overcome any challenges that may arise.