For Immediate Release
Contact: Sam Gerard, firstname.lastname@example.org
(Washington, DC, April 14, 2020) Today, American Humanist Association (AHA) leadership admonished Arkansas Governor Asa Hutchinson for issuing an unconstitutional Christian prayer proclamation.
“This proclamation marginalizes citizens of every other faith in Arkansas as well as those who do not believe in any god or gods,” AHA Legal Director and Senior Counsel Monica Miller explained in her email. “I am writing as a courtesy to request that you avoid making such unconstitutional religious proclamations in the future.”
On March 29, Governor Hutchinson declared a special day of prayer in response to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic that has impacted the entire country, including Arkansas. Hutchinson’s declaration quotes the Bible (Deuteronomy 31:8). Miller’s email lists out the clear court precedent of religious neutrality that public officials must adhere to while in public office.
Quoting Alexander Hamilton from the Federalist Papers, Miller emphasized that Governor Hutchinson does not exclusively serve religious constituents: “We remind you that you are a servant of the People of the United States of America—religious and non-religious—and that your office ‘contains no particle of spiritual authority.’”
Read the email here.
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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 worldview of humanism, which—without beliefs in gods or other supernatural forces—encourages individuals to live informed and meaningful lives that aspire to the greater good of humanity.