Great post, Trustee Speir.

I only have one comment. When you say:

“Please also know the hesitancy to engage in this debate. It is implied that Dr. Leininger and Delon are fishing for some gotchya statement in the line of questioning. Something that could be used by a media outlet to slant a story. Something that could bring notoriety. Or something that an activist judge could use to ignore jurisprudence and use a political argument to set an unconstitutional precedent.”

--Trust that instinct. You’re absolutely correct. There’s no need to engage with those who are uninterested in altruistic discourse and who seek nothing other than to box you into a position or statement they can then use against you. I respect Professor Delon and feel that he is sincere in his intellectual inquiry. But be very wary when engaging with the other mentioned Professor.

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Look in any phone book, there are thousands of Christian churches . Millions in the nation, the largest denomination of all Americans is Christian. Not only because our forefathers brought it here - but also because it evolved to fit our nations uniqueness. John Wesley for example got here soon after Georgia was an original colony, came to convert Indians, couldn’t even lead local Christians and went back to England a failure. But while back in England, he began to preach to the poor and downtrodden and drunks and the Great Awakening he started jumped the pond - he comes John Wesley’s ideas into the USA highly successful in increase in Christians ! All this when we were English citizens, we were supporting each other in betterment and love - as Christian’s. Circuit riding John Wesley types.

It’s a Christian nation. America is a Christian nation. The world knows India is Hindu. Nobody argues it. The celebrations express it! Same for Ramadan among Muslim nations. We today as a nation celebrate Easter and Christmas, marry in church ceremonies, and are buried with ministers or pastors of the Christian faith officiating. That’s a majority. That’s a Christian nation.

Anyone in America is free to reject their roots. We don’t harm atheists or agnostics. But they are not a founding part of our heritage and Christ is. Our entire justice depends on Judeo-Christianity and our form of democracy let’s you choose freedom. Even from God.

However, the minority over here - the nonbelievers - assume so much power ! For example, a Christian Eddie Speir is sharing the power to fire or hire or change the entire curriculum of a failing school that has 1/2 the students it needs to be viable; the minority goes mad as a wet hen, offended. They refuse to acknowledge Eddie Speir has power. They chastise him, even demand “ any prayer you say must contain all religions not to offend” - and the person making that statement? that person does not understand democracy works through majority rule with minority rights - her type of anger and silly suggestion is a tyranny of the minority; overstepping the bounds of a fair system. Why? She is not in charge, but pretends to be.

A single prayer by a single trustee has become a bright light. It reveals how far out of line, how disrespectful a certain type of person has become in the UNITED STATES. Many exist but they don’t want a “ name” attached, so given the circumstances I’m calling them “ the minority,” as proven through American heritage and Florida population. Minority cannot rule the majority. Not in a Democratic nation.

I grew up Christian. In my high school years a student read a devotional over the loud speaker - a different student each morning. It let us all think about goodness and love, early each morning, daily. It wasn’t proselytizing. It was normal, and I’m sorry that something so kind and so simple has become all caught up in what I can only call the misuse of freedom in a nation where majority rule, minority rights is the backbone of our faith in our Constitution.

Understand your position. It’s not your decision. Eddie Spier represents the majority. Behave and let the man pray.

It’s one prayer. A sinkhole won’t devour the meeting, neither will alligators, nor lightening strike protesters wearing a cross between a Taliban and Puritan mock-up, although the majority of Floridians realize such heavy cloth’s a sure-fire heat stroke in the hot sun and humidity of SW Florida.

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I believe I''ve commented on an earlier post of yours regarding your use of the term "woke." Without wishing to repeat, I would simply suggest that you try an experiment: remove this word from your articulating vocabulary. Think through what is troubling you without summoning via verbal magic a host of qualms, dark implications, and anxieties hovering about this vague coinage. Use your words instead of nonce terms. You may find that clarity, logic, and structured thinking are better served by your own efforts to say precisely what you mean than by a politician's fiat language.

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I wanted to bring up a couple of points that you mention in your argument here. You define intelligence as “simultaneously holding two apparent contradictions in your mind and seeking a deeper truth.” I wish you were able to apply this definition in other contexts. It doesn’t seem like this is an affordance that you are willing to offer to those you label as “woke,” who affirm that is it possible to simultaneously believe that America can be both a shining beacon to the world and also mired in a history that is riddled with sin in its treatment of black and brown people. For Governor DeSantis, to acknowledge the latter is to reject the former. Like you, I would suggest that intelligence means being able to hold these two ideas in concert. Higher education should be a space where learners are allowed to engage in dialogue about how we reconcile these ideas. In Florida, however, this kind of “intelligent” discourse is currently in the process of being removed.

It’s almost as if there is an impulsive search for another grievance to build a narrative of oppression against white Christians that can only be solved by tearing down American freedoms and institutions (such as New College). Tearing down is easy and intoxicating and very popular with many people. Building up, however, starts with dialogue.

Floridians don’t want boards of trustees that train our students to seek to be offended, identify as victims, and become activists that dismantle spaces of higher education like New College and destroy our institutional freedoms.

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Eddie, if it is perfectly legal to open in prayer and there is no harm unto non-believers to simply hear a prayer from a particular religion without participating, then surely a prayer from the Satanic Temple should be fine.

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