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Atheist to Give Secular Invocation in Town of Greece

Humanists across the country offer secular invocations in response to U.S. Supreme Court ruling

For Immediate Release


Merrill Miller, 202-238-9088 ext. 105, merrillmiller@americanhumanist.org

David Niose, 978-502-0953, dniose@americanhumanist.org

(Washington, D.C., July 14, 2014)—Dan Courtney, who is endorsed by the American Humanist Association’s Humanist Society, will deliver a secular invocation at tomorrow’s Town of Greece Board meeting at 6:00 pm ET, with a press conference to follow. This will be the first-ever secular invocation given before the Town of Greece Board meeting, highlighting the growing number of secular invocations being given throughout the country.

“The U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling in Town of Greece v. Galloway requires that invocation practices for public meetings be inclusive,” said David Niose, legal director for the American Humanist Association, who will be in attendance at the board meeting. “By offering secular invocations, atheists and humanists can ensure that their local governments are being nondiscriminatory.”    

A secular invocation is a short speech that solemnizes a meeting or event by appealing to the audience’s shared human values instead of a deity. Since the American Humanist Association launched the program as a result of the Town of Greece ruling, the Humanist Society’s list of secular invocation speakers has more than doubled to include over 150 speakers.

“The incredible success of our secular invocation program demonstrates the dedication of the humanist community to making our voices heard,” said Roy Speckhardt, executive director of the American Humanist Association. “We are pleased that the Board of the Town of Greece and other local governments have included invocations from humanists and other non-religious Americans.”   

In May, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in Town of Greece v. Galloway that sectarian legislative prayers are constitutional, though government bodies must be inclusive in their prayer practices. Since this decision, dozens of humanists have stepped forward to offer secular invocations before local legislative meetings, including Dan Courtney.

The Humanist Society is looking to increase its number of secular invocation speakers so that humanists, atheists, and other nontheists across the nation can be represented at their local legislatures. More information about the American Humanist Association’s secular invocation program can be found here.


Founded in 1941 and headquartered in Washington, D.C., the American Humanist Association (AHA) works to protect the rights of humanists, atheists and other non-religious Americans. The AHA advances the ethical and life-affirming philosophy of humanism, which—without beliefs in any gods or other supernatural forces—encourages individuals to live informed and meaningful lives that aspire to the greater good of humanity.

Special thanks to the Louis J. Appignani Foundation for their support of the Appignani Humanist Legal Center.