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Newly Elected Congress Told: Don't Join Prayer Caucus

For Immediate Release

Contact: Brian Magee, 202-238-9088, bmagee@americanhumanist.org

(Washington, DC – Nov. 7, 2012) – The winners in yesterday’s U.S. House races are being asked by non-religious Americans to keep their distance from the Congressional Prayer Caucus.

In a letter sent today by the American Humanist Association (AHA) to all members-elect of the U.S. House of Representatives, the AHA is asking them “not to join the Congressional Prayer Caucus and to actively work to ensure that the wall of separation between church and state is strengthened and maintained.”

“Members of the Congressional Prayer Caucus have repeatedly introduced and supported legislation that many secular Americans feel is unconstitutional and often favors Christianity above all other religions,” said American Humanist Association Executive Director Roy Speckhardt.

The Congressional Prayer Caucus was founded in 2005 by Representative J. Randy Forbes (VA) to “preserve the presence of religion, faith, and morality in the marketplace of ideas.” According to the Congressional Prayer Caucus website, current issues for the Caucus include “supporting the freedom of school boards to open meetings with prayer,” “urging the President to preserve religious hiring rights,” and “affirming America’s rich spiritual heritage.”

Members of the Prayer Caucus have supported legislation such as H.Con.Res.121, which called on the President to designate 2010 as “The National Year of the Bible” and “acknowledge the importance of the Bible in American society.” Prayer Caucus members have also signed on to amicus curiae briefs in court cases in support of Christian crosses on public land.  

“Incoming House members should know that approximately one in five of their constituents are not religiously affiliated, and even more insist on maintaining the wall of separation between church and state,” Speckhardt continued. “Secular Americans are ready to work with all members of the 113th Congress, regardless of their personal beliefs, if they agree on this basic constitutional principle.”

The letter can be found online here: http://www.americanhumanist.org/system/storage/63/a7/3/3494/CPC_Letter.pdf

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The American Humanist Association (www.AmericanHumanist.org) advocates for the rights and viewpoints of humanists. Founded in 1941 and headquartered in Washington, DC, its work is extended through more than 150 local chapters and affiliates across America.  Humanism is a progressive philosophy of life that, without theism, affirms our responsibility to lead ethical lives of value to self and humanity.

Humanism is a progressive philosophy of life that, without theism, affirms our responsibility to lead ethical lives of value to self and humanity.