Contact: Brian Magee, 202-238-9088
(Washington, DC, Nov. 1, 2011) — Humanists and church-state advocates expressed disappointment with the House of Representatives today for voting in favor of a Congressional resolution reaffirming “In God We Trust” as the national motto and supporting its placement on public buildings, public schools, and other government institutions. House Concurrent Resolution 13 was introduced on January 26 and passed by a vote of 396 to 9, with 2 voting present.
“This is an open attack on Thomas Jefferson’s wall of church-state separation,” said Roy Speckhardt, executive director of the American Humanist Association. “To place such religious language on public buildings is not only unconstitutional, it signals to the millions of non-religious Americans that they are second-class citizens.”
Speckhardt said Congress should instead promote E Pluribus Unum (Out of Many, One) which was the effective motto of the United States until “In God We Trust” was made official in 1956. He adds that E Pluribus Unum is an inclusive motto that respects the secular foundations of our country.
The resolution will now move to the U.S. Senate, where the American Humanist Association (AHA) plans to lobby members against this harmful piece of legislation that ignores America’s secular citizens.
“A clear message was sent by those who voted for this resolution’s passage that secular Americans do not deserve to be considered eligible for our constitution’s equal protection guarantees,” Speckhardt added. “Such protections are seriously eroded whenever the bulwark between church and state is breached.”
Those who voted against the measure were Rep. Pete Stark (D-CA), Rep. Mike Honda (D-CA), Rep. Jerrold Nadler (D-NY), Rep. Gary Ackerman (D-NY), Rep. Judy Chu (D-CA), Rep. Emanuel Cleaver (D-MO), Rep. Justin Amash (R-Mich), Rep. Hank Johnson (D-GA), and Rep. Bobby Scott (D-VA).
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.