Members from our group, Atheists of Florida, have this year taken on two city governments in the Tampa area (Tampa City Council; Lakeland City Commission) over our concern of government sponsored prayer during public business meetings.
This we have done following all rules and protocols during the "public comments" portion of their respective meetings' agendas.
On Monday, April 5, 2010, we, myself and four others, attempted to do just such a presentation to the Lakeland City Commission but were abruptly "ad hoc" limited to only 3 minutes and by only one representative of our group. This limitation was in stark contrast to others, one prior who had spoken for at least ten minutes, and several others, invited up by the mayor representing the religious community, who were permitted to speak without any ordered time constraints.
When it was clearly apparent that discrimination against us was occurring, I stood up and, out of order, began to loudly protest. At its finale, when I attempted to speak on my behalf introducing myself as a life member of the Veterans of Foreign Wars (which I am as well), the mayor recessed the meeting and he and the commission walked off while I shouted to them that his actions were an outrage and that all of them should be ashamed. Policemen from the Lakeland Police Department entered the commission chambers at about this time.
Unedited video of this segment of the commission's closed circuit tv feed ... http://tinyclip.tv/3a184e8f
Newspaper article of the event ...
"LPD Called to Cool Lakeland Prayer Protest Dispute"
We are exploring legal action on several fronts over this situation.
President, Atheists of Florida