AHA News |  

Humanists Applaud President Obama for Including Nontheists in Religious Freedom Day

For Immediate Release

(Washington, DC, January 19, 2010) The American Humanist Association today commended President Obama for his continued acknowledgement and inclusion of nonbelievers when speaking about the role of religion in American life. “…It was the genius of America’s forefathers to protect our freedom of religion, including the freedom to practice none at all,” President Obama said while delivering a speech declaring Saturday Religious Freedom Day.

“We’re gratified that President Obama continues to reach out to nontheists in a positive, inclusive way,” said Roy Speckhardt, executive director of the American Humanist Association. “Atheists, agnostics and others who don’t subscribe to religion are generally ignored by politicians. But President Obama continues to reference us when speaking about the varied religious spectrum in the United States. It’s heartening to see any politician--let alone the president of the United States--who doesn’t fall prey to the nearly pervasive assumption that it’s only the people who believe in God that matter.”

Each year the president declares January 16 to be Religious Freedom Day, which commemorates the passage in 1786 of the Virginia Statute of Religious Freedom. The statute is considered to be a vital legal step in establishing religious freedom and the separation of church and state. Religious Freedom Day is intended to promote students’ religious expression rights, and Americans are called upon to observe the day “through appropriate events and activities in homes, schools and places of worship.”

“It’s great to see the president recognize the freedom not to worship as a fundamental American right,” said Speckhardt.

This is not the first time President Obama has acknowledged nontheists in a political speech. The first such occasion took place during his inauguration, marking the first time a president has referenced nontheists in the ceremony.

The American Humanist Association (www.americanhumanist.org) advocates for the rights and viewpoints of humanists. Founded in 1941 and headquartered in Washington, D.C., its work is extended through more than 100 local chapters and affiliates across America.

Humanism is the idea that you can be good without a belief in God.

### 

American Humanist Association

Fighting Back the Right: Reclaiming America from the Attack on Reason, the new b...

2 hours ago

American Humanist Association

Perhaps this kid will go just one step further? #skeptic #humanist

16 hours ago

American Humanist Association

Happy Friday everyone!

1 days ago

American Humanist Association

The number of "churchless" Americans is rising! It is now estimated that 38% of...

1 days ago

American Humanist Association

On this day in 1946, the first images of Earth from outer space were captured!

1 days ago

American Humanist Association

AHA staffer Matthew Bulger talks about Gamergate. "It’s extremely important th...

1 days ago

American Humanist Association

Throwback Thursday's Name that Humanist! Can you name the humanist on the Nove...

2 days ago

American Humanist Association

Hey! Don't be a.... What's the problem with Dick's Sporting Goods? Deborah Goem...

3 days ago

American Humanist Association

This week's Humanist Hour Podcast features George Eighmey on Death with Dignity.

3 days ago

American Humanist Association

WOW! These numbers are wonderful! Thanks for all of the support everyone!

3 days ago

American Humanist Association

AHA Victory in Texas! Schools agree to stop making religious announcements.

4 days ago

American Humanist Association

Jason Heap reviews the new British comedy, Pride! Have you seen this film? Tell...

4 days ago

American Humanist Association

Gore Vidal’s former assistant, Fabian Bouthillette, has written Part I of his me...

5 days ago

American Humanist Association

The Nov/Dec issue of The Humanist is out now, featuring some great interviews wi...

5 days ago

American Humanist Association

Amy Poehler is creating a show about an agnostic woman who inherits a church. An...

5 days ago

American Humanist Association

Please welcome the newest addition to the American Humanist Association staff, P...

5 days ago

American Humanist Association

Woo Hoo! 32 states down, plus DC!

6 days ago