(Washington, D.C., January 19, 2009) In both editions of tomorrow’s special inauguration issue of the Washington Post, a prominent ad from the American Humanist Association will appear, praising the non-religious upbringing of Barack Obama. “President Obama: Living Proof that Family Values Without Religion Build Character,” the ad says. It goes on to quote from Obama’s own account of his upbringing in his 2006 book, The Audacity of Hope. In his 1995 book, Dreams from My Father, Obama had written that his mother stood alone in her community as a “witness for secular humanism.”
“We hear so much these days about how traditional religious family values are necessary for raising moral children who can grow into accomplished adults,” said American Humanist Association Executive Director Roy Speckhardt, father of two. “But we humanists have known for a long, long time that ethical humanist values build character. The number of moral and accomplished humanists is legion. We’ve been honoring the greatest of them every year since 1953 at our annual conferences. Now Barack Obama has given us the opportunity to share this truth with those from around the country who come to our nation’s capital to share in the inauguration experience.”
The American Humanist Association had earlier teamed with Michael Newdow and others to launch a lawsuit aimed at preventing sectarian religious observances at the inaugural ceremonies. This past Thursday a U.S. District Court judge declined to enjoin those activities. Litigants won’t appeal that ruling, but the case will nonetheless continue through the courts because litigants still seek to impact future inaugural ceremonies.
Also, together with other nontheistic organizations, the American Humanist Association has asked Barack Obama to decline any offer of the honorary presidency of the Boy Scouts of America until the BSA ceases to discriminate against atheists and agnostics.
“Throughout Mr. Obama’s presidency and beyond, the American Humanist Association will stand on its principles, holding the president’s feet to the fire when necessary and supporting him when we agree,” Speckhardt added. “While we understand how necessary it is for politicians to compromise, we also realize how vital it is that cause organizations like ours remain steadfast in their positions.”
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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 100 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.