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“Colorado Day of Prayer” Opposed in American Humanist Association Amicus Brief Filing

Appignani Humanist Legal Center Argues Against Church-State Entanglement

For Immediate Release

Contact: Maggie Ardiente, mardiente@americanhumanist.org, 202-238-9088 x116
Monica Miller, mmiller@americanhumanist.org, 202-238-9088 x 120

(Washington, DC, Nov. 7, 2013) — The American Humanist Association has filed an amicus brief with the Colorado Supreme Court in support of a lower court ruling that declared unconstitutional the governor's "Colorado Day of Prayer" proclamations. The court has accepted an appeal by Gov. John Hickenlooper of the Colorado Court of Appeals unanimous ruling by a three-judge panel earlier this year.

The American Humanist Association (AHA) is supporting the Freedom From Religion Foundation in this case, arguing that the state is marginalizing citizens who don’t pray and that “AHA members are also forced to witness their own government preferring religion over non-religion, which sends a symbolic message to AHA’s members that God-belief is favored and that humanism is disapproved.”

“These proclamations are a clear attempt by the government to promote a singular religious point of view,” said Monica Miller, an attorney and legal consultant with the American Humanist Association’s Appignani Humanist Legal Center. “There is no secular justification for the practice and it should be stopped.”

“Not only do the prayers advance religion over non-religion,” the brief concludes, “but they also affiliate the government with Christianity specifically, through its close alliance with the National Day of Prayer Task Force, the purpose of which is to spread the Christian message through such prayer proclamations.“

The National Day of Prayer Task Force states that their mission “is to mobilize prayer in America and to encourage personal repentance and righteousness in the culture.” The National Day of Reason, a project co-created by the American Humanist Association, is a growing national alternative to the National Day of Prayer.

“This religious motivation is one that should remain a private matter free from government involvement,” said American Humanist Association Executive Director Roy Speckhardt. “For a governor to use the office to officially endorse this kind of sentiment is not only unconstitutional, but an attack on religious freedoms.”

A copy of the amicus brief can be found here.

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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 D.C., its work is extended through more than 175 local chapters and affiliates across the United States. Special thanks to the Louis J. Appignani Foundation for their support of the Appignani Humanist Legal Center.

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

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