Fla. Mayor Boots Man From Meeting After He Refused To Stand For Prayer, Pledge Of Allegiance (VIDEO)

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The mayor of Winter Garden, Fla. on Thursday had a man removed from a City Commission meeting after he refused to stand during an opening prayer and the Pledge of Allegiance.

Mayor John Rees asked meeting attendees to stand for an invocation, and specifically waited for Joseph Richardson to rise, according to video published by the Orlando Sentinel.

“I don’t have to,” Richardson said, refusing to get up from his seat.

Commissioner Bobby Olszewski proceeded to recite the invocation.

“We thank you for allowing us to be in a country where we’re free to believe and think and pray,” he said.

Rees asked Richardson to stand during the Pledge of Allegiance, and he again refused. The mayor then asked police to remove Richardson from the meeting during the pledge, according to the video.

Rees told the Orlando Sentinel that he felt Richardson’s refusal to stand during the pledge was disrespectful to American troops.

“I just said, ‘Either stand or go in the hallway.’ He wouldn’t,” Rees said.

A spokesman for the ACLU told the Sentinel that people are not required to stand for the Pledge of Allegiance.

According to the Sentinel, Richardson has been asking the city of Winter Garden to change its invocation policy and has asked to be able to lead the invocation himself. Rees said that Richardson only comes to meetings for this reason.

“He doesn’t come to the meetings because he cares about the city,” he told the Sentinel.

Watch the video, courtesy of the Orlando Sentinel:

H/t ThinkProgress

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Notable Replies

  1. There are NO requirements for a citizen(s) to stand for either, and whatever reason he comes to a meeting, and how long he or she remains is NOT germane!

  2. Yup. right after they thank the holy father for the privilege of living in a country where they have the freedom to …

  3. BTW, that’s what fascism looks like. The board and the mayor couldn’t have done a better job if they had set out with that intent.

  4. What’s with the matchy matchy pastel blue oxfords? Did Mimsy entertain the idea at last month’s style meeting at the club and then pass on the suggestion to her hubby and his boys?

    As for the content of the article, I for one didn’t serve my country so some dictator wannabe in south Florida could play fuhrer at a local city council meeting. With this motley crew “in charge,” I hope the city has deep pockets for this and future lawsuits.

  5. You know what’s disrespectful to the troops? Not having a fucking clue about how freedom of speech works. You really can’t have a democracy without it, and it’s something the troops have died for over the centuries. I hope he gets his flabby ass sued off.


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