July 1, 2014
Merrill Miller, 202-238-9088 ext. 105, firstname.lastname@example.org
David Niose, 202-238-9088 ext. 119, email@example.com
On July 15, 2014, the American Humanist Association will attend the first ever secular invocation offered before the Town of Greece, New York, Board meeting, as well as a press conference immediately following the invocation.
WHO: Dan Courtney of the Atheist Community of Rochester will be delivering the secular invocation before the Town of Greece Board meeting. Mr. Courtney is endorsed to give secular invocations by The Humanist Society, an adjunct of the American Humanist Association.
Also attending the invocation and available for interviews is David Niose, legal director of the American Humanist Association’s Appignani Humanist Legal Center. The immediate past president of the American Humanist Association, Mr. Niose has an extensive background in advocating for the separation of church and state as well as for the equal protection and nondiscrimination of atheists and humanists.
WHEN: The invocation will be given on July 15, 2014 at 6:00 pm ET, with the press conference following at 6:15 pm ET.
WHERE: Greece Town Hall, 1 Vince Tofany Boulevard, Greece, New York 14612
WHY: While the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in Town of Greece v. Galloway that sectarian legislative prayers are constitutional, it also stated that local governments must be inclusive in their prayer practices. To foster an inclusive environment at legislative meetings, the American Humanist Association launched a secular invocations program. A secular invocation is a short speech that calls upon the shared human values of legislators and the audience for guidance and wisdom. By appealing to human dignity and responsibility instead of a deity, a secular invocation is a means of solemnizing a public meeting without discriminating against individuals of minority faiths, atheists and humanists.
MORE INFORMATION: More information about the American Humanist Association’s secular invocation program can be found here. More information about the Atheist Community of Rochester is available here. A high-resolution photo of David Niose for media use can be obtained here.
Founded in 1941 and headquartered in Washington, D.C., the American Humanist Association 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.