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American Humanist Association Meets with Obama Administration to Discuss National Policy

For Immediate Release

(Washington, DC, February 26, 2010) The American Humanist Association (AHA), as a member of the Secular Coalition for America, participated in a meeting with the Obama Administration on Friday, February 26, to discuss issues of concern to the nontheist movement. The Secular Coalition for America's Briefing with the Obama Administration marked the first time in history a presidential administration has held a national policy briefing with the nontheist community, signaling an unprecedented enthusiasm and willingness on the part of the Executive Branch to include nontheists in public discourse.

“We are very pleased to have had this opportunity to talk with the White House about issues that are important to the nontheist community,” said Roy Speckhardt, executive director of the American Humanist Association. “Too often, nontheists have been disregarded by politicians and the public only because we don’t happen to believe in a god. But by President Obama giving us a seat at the table, he has sent a powerful message that we hope others will also embrace: What unites us is that we are all Americans--not that we all share a belief in the same god or any god. There is no faith prerequisite in wanting what’s best for our country.”

In addition to Speckhardt, the American Humanist Association representatives meeting with White House officials included David Niose, president of the AHA, community leaders Jennifer and Philip Kalmanson, business leader Steve Rade, and AHA staff members Karen Frantz and Maggie Ardiente. The issues discussed included ways to improve the Faith-Based Initiative, ending military proselytizing, and protecting children from neglect and abuse that can occur due to a lack of government oversight over faith-healing treatment providers.

“We are optimistic that this is just the first of many such meetings with the Obama administration,” said Speckhardt.

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.

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