To The Daily Sun,
Ruth Provencal, the ballot clerk in Derry, was let go because of her use of the expression: "God bless you." This was her preferred way of thanking people for participating in the electoral process. Perhaps the simple way of thanking people would have been to just say thank you rather than introduce a religious element in the public arena. We agree with Renee Routhier, the supervisor of the check list, for not asking Ms. Provencal to return. Religion has no place at the ballot station.
While her peculiar remark may have meaning to certain Christians, it has no meaning to atheists and other non-believers.
We atheists live with this on a daily basis. On a personal level we hear this expression along with, "I'll pray for you," quite frequently. Ms. Provencal remarks that it is her First Amendment right and William Donohue, president of the Catholic League, agrees with her.
They both miss the point. It's not a question of whether or not she was fired or let go. It's a volunteer position and Derry officials were within their rights to release her. It's a question of separation of church and state in the workplace. A similar case occurred at the New Jersey toll booth. Cynthia Fernandez also used religious expressions to "thank" people. She was also fired. Perhaps state agencies should have a policy against using religious phrases.
Christian revisionists would have us believe that this nation was founded on Christian beliefs. They couldn't be further from the truth. The U.S. government derives from people (not God) as it clearly states in the preamble..."We the people." The omission of God in the Constitution did not come out of forgetfulness, but rather out of the Founding Fathers purposeful intention to keep government from religion. Christians can "pray for us" all they want if they don't mind us "thinking for them."
Ruth Provencal is not an evil woman but her misplaced remarks represent at the very least a cultural insensitivity and should be discouraged.
Plymouth Secular Society