For Immediate Release
Matthew Bulger, 202-238-9088 ext. 104, firstname.lastname@example.org
(Washington, DC, February 3, 2017)—The American Humanist Association applauds United States Representative Don Beyer (VA-8) for reintroducing legislation that prevents immigrants from being denied entry into the United States because of their religious beliefs or lack thereof.
The American Humanist Association, in coalition with other religious freedom and civil liberties groups, worked to ensure that the rights of nonreligious immigrants were included in this bill. The Freedom of Religion Act of 2017 specifically states that “an alien may not be denied admission to the United States because of the alien’s religion or lack of religious beliefs.”
“The inclusive language in this bill recognizes the rights of humanists, atheists and other nonreligious immigrants to equal treatment by the government,” said Roy Speckhardt, executive director of the American Humanist Association. “Individuals should not be barred from the country just because they don’t happen to identify with a particular religion.”
Matthew Bulger, legislative director of the American Humanist Association, said, “This bill represents a significant step for the humanist and nontheist movement. Congress is expanding its understanding of religious freedom to include those who do not identify with any religion.”
For years, the American Humanist Association has collaborated with legislators, the US State Department, and the Commission on International Religious Freedom to ensure that humanists, atheists and other nontheists are included in policy discussions relating to religious freedom. Through educational briefings and direct lobbying efforts, the American Humanist Association has been instrumental in advocating for the nonreligious through bills such as H.R. 1150, the Frank R. Wolf International Religious Freedom Act, and H Res. 290, which calls for an end to global blasphemy laws.
The bill, introduced by Rep. Beyer and co-leads Reps. Joe Crowley (D-NY), Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-DC), Jan Schakowsky (D-IL), Betty McCollum (D-MN), Keith Ellison (D-MN), Andre Carson (D-IN), and Pramila Jayapal (D-WA) can be viewed here. The bill has widespread support with over 55 additional co-sponsors.
Founded in 1941 and headquartered in Washington, DC, 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.