For Immediate Release
Merrill Miller, 202-238-9088 ext. 105, firstname.lastname@example.org
(Washington, D.C., Feb. 24, 2015)—Today the American Humanist Association sent letters to newly elected members of Congress, urging them not to join the Congressional Prayer Caucus.
The letter asks the Representatives to actively work to ensure that the separation of church and state is maintained and that the government remains neutral on matters of religion. It also details the ways in which the Congressional Prayer Caucus has undermined the separation of church and state. In its advocacy for the phrase “In God We Trust” to be used as the national motto and its promotion of House Resolution 888, which opposes efforts to remove sectarian objects from public buildings, the CPC has unconstitutionally eroded Jefferson’s wall and favored religion, particularly Christianity, over minority religions and non-religion.
“One in five Americans now identifies as nonreligious, and the numbers of nonreligious, atheist and humanist individuals in this country continue to grow,” said Roy Speckhardt, executive director of the American Humanist Association. “When members of Congress publicly endorse public prayer and religion, they alienate the increasing population of Americans who are good without a god as well as Americans of minority religions.”
The Congressional Prayer Caucus was founded in 2005 by U.S. Rep. J. Randy Forbes (VA-04). The CPC’s website categorizes prayer as “a fundamental and enduring feature of American life” and asserts its purpose as to “use the legislative process…to assist the nation and its people in continuing to draw upon and benefit from this essential source of our strength and well-being.” This is the second post-election letter since 2012 that the American Humanist Association has written to members of Congress on behalf of secular Americans and encouraged them not to join the CPC. Since 2012, the number of CPC members has decreased from 104 to 89 members. By advocating public prayer, the CPC discriminates against nonreligious Americans and regulates them to mere second-class citizens.
“Public promotion of prayer and sectarian religion is divisive and undermines our national unity,” continued Speckhardt. “When our members of Congress are committed to keeping the government secular, the rights of all Americans will be truly respected.”
A copy of the letter can be viewed 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.