For Immediate Release
Merrill Miller, 202-238-9088 ext. 105, firstname.lastname@example.org
David Niose, 202-238-9088 ext. 119, email@example.com
(Beebe, Ark., June 2, 2016)—The American Humanist Association’s Appignani Humanist Legal Center objects to Beebe, Ark., Mayor Mike Robertson’s unconstitutional promotion of Christianity in a letter publicizing the city’s Fourth of July event.
The American Humanist Association contacted the mayor today after a local citizen expressed concerns about an official letter, on city letterhead, advertising the city’s Fourth of July Extravaganza. The letter, signed by the mayor and sent to Beebe citizens, states that the goal of the evening’s events will be to “celebrate the Christian message,” emphasizing the religious nature of the entertainment, which will include The Bowling Family Gospel group.
“Using the city’s Fourth of July festivities to promote a religious agenda is un-American,” said Roy Speckhardt, executive director of the American Humanist Association. “It shows a blatant disregard for the separation of church and state, established by our country’s founders, and it sends the discriminatory message that non-Christian citizens are not welcome in their own community.”
“The mayor cannot use his position as a city official to push his personal religious beliefs onto the community,” said David Niose, legal director of the American Humanist Association. “To avoid further violating the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment, the city should remove its sponsorship of the performance and relocate it to a private venue. The mayor should also refrain from using the apparatus of government to promote religion.”
Founded in 1941 and headquartered in Washington, D.C., the American Humanist Association (AHA) works to protect the rights of humanists, atheists, and other nontheistic 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.