This site is not maintained. Click here for the new website of Richard Dawkins.

Atheists Excluded from Mayoral Prayer Service

Atheists Excluded from Mayor-Elect Gray’s Inauguration Humanist Celebrant Denied Equal Time at Ecumenical Prayer Service

For Immediate Release Contact: Amanda Knief, Government Relations Manager Phone: 202-495-9974 Email: amanda@secular.org

December 28, 2010 (Washington, D.C.) – Atheists, agnostics, humanists, and other nontheistic Washington, D.C. residents will have no representation at Mayor-Elect Vincent Gray’s first official inaugural event—an ecumenical prayer service entitled “One City … Praying Together” at 8 a.m. Sunday, January 2, 2011.

“We would prefer that a government function such as an inauguration not be entwined with religion,” said Amanda Knief, a Humanist Celebrant and government relations manager for the Secular Coalition for America (SCA). “However, we find it overtly discriminatory when we request to be part of an ecumenical prayer service that is supposed to unite the entire city and are told there is no place for nontheists.”

Within hours of learning about the prayer service through a public press release on Monday, December 20, SCA contacted the mayor-elect’s transition team to request that a Humanist Celebrant be included. After two days of repeated requests, a representative told SCA that the program for the prayer service was set and that nontheists would not be included.

“In fact, the transition team representative told us that he wished we would have reached out to them sooner,” Knief said. “How could we have done that without notification from the mayor-elect’s team? We hope that Mayor-Elect Gray will recognize the nontheistic community as part of the fabric of D.C. and include us in events such as this.”

Knief said that participation in the prayer service would have been about showing the community that a Humanist Celebrant can offer words of encouragement and inspiration without religion. “Secular Americans have much to offer their communities if allowed to participate.”

A Humanist Celebrant is the nonreligious equivalent of a clergyperson. He or she may receive national certification from several organizations, including The Humanist Society, the American Ethical Union, and the Society for Humanistic Judaism; and may conduct marriages, civil unions, memorial services, funerals, and other life ceremonies.

According to the 2008 American Religious Identification Survey, 15 percent of the adult U.S. population doesn’t identify with any religious group. The D.C. area has several secular groups including Washington Area Secular Humanists, Capitol Beltway Atheists, and Think Atheist.

Secular Coalition for America is a nonprofit organization whose mission is to increase the visibility of and respect for nontheistic viewpoints in the United States, and to protect and strengthen the secular character of our government as the best guarantee of freedom for all.

Continue to website

TAGGED: ESTABLISHMENT CLAUSE


RELATED CONTENT

Delhi Charter School: Stop...

Petition - change.org Comments

Delhi Charter School: Stop Discriminating Against Pregnant Students!

Military funds marriage seminar by...

Justin Griffith - - Comments

Military funds marriage seminar by Pentecostal fans of Newt Gingrich

Loretta Preska's judicial crusade to...

Katherine Stewart - The Guardian Comments

A Religious Military? Spiritual Fitness...

Sean Faircloth - RichardDawkins.net 28 Comments

Sean Faircloth, speaking at Ft. Bragg, addresses the multimillion dollar "Spirituality Fitness Test" imposed by the U.S. Military.

Louisiana lunacy: tens of millions to...

Barry Duke - The Freethinker 62 Comments

Schools run along faith guidelines have hit the jackpot big time following Louisiana’s decision to siphon tens of millions of tax dollars out public schools and into religious institutions

Press Release: "Stand Up for Religious...

Blair Scott - American Atheists 4 Comments

American Atheists announced today that the “Stand Up for Religious Freedom” rallies to occur nationwide on June 8 are a misnomer and blatantly ignore the intent of the First Amendment.

MORE

MORE BY PRESS RELEASE

URGENT: Tell the President to Speak Out...

Press Release - Center for Inquiry Comments

Center for Inquiry has launched a petition at the White House website asking the Obama administration to call upon the Indonesian government to immediately release Alexander and better protect the rights to freedom of expression and belief for religious dissidents and nonbelievers.

Teresa MacBain to be Public Relations...

Press Release - The Clergy Project Comments

Protest for Indonesian Man Jailed for...

Press Release - Center for Inquiry Comments

“Being an atheist should not be a crime,” declares CFI.

The Magic of Reality - paperback...

Press Release - Transworld Publishing 27 Comments

The Magic of Reality - paperback release June 21

For Immediate Release

Press Release - The Clergy Project 10 Comments


Press Release

[Update - statement from CfI ]Secular...

Press Release - Center for Inquiry 88 Comments

Atheist group sues Rochester Hills country club over canceled speech

MORE

Comments

Comment RSS Feed

Please sign in or register to comment