For Immediate Release
(Washington, DC, February 8, 2018) The American Humanist Association (AHA) calls President Trump’s anti-science and overtly Christian speech at today’s National Prayer Breakfast an attack on one of the fastest growing demographics in the nation. As the number of non-Christian and nontheist Americans continues to rise, Trump’s blatant preferential treatment of sectarian Christian faith excluded more than 35% of American citizens.
Past Presidents have repeatedly acknowledged humanists, nontheists, and non-Christians, even in their Prayer Breakfast remarks, adhering to the First Amendment concept that government be neutral on matters of religion. “The compassion and decency of the American people is expressed… by Americans of every faith, and no faith, uniting around a common purpose,” President Obama stated at the 2010 Prayer Breakfast. President Trump, however, not only spoke in solely Christian terms—referencing “Jesus Christ” specifically—but by attributing human rights to a deity and proposing that these rights are protected by this deity, he abdicates government’s critical role in ensuring the freedom of and from religion.
But, Trump went even further. He attributed a child’s recovery from a rare, debilitating disease to an act of God, not recognizing the doctors and scientists who worked to understand the disease, discover successful treatments, and provide this child the best chance of returning to health.
Roy Speckhardt, executive director of the AHA, who has consistently expressed concerns regarding the Constitutionally questionable nature of the National Prayer Breakfast itself, added that, “Trump has taken these government endorsed prayer breakfasts to a new low, demonstrating his ignorance and disdain for the growing diversity of faiths and philosophies found in the country he’s supposed to be leading. ”
The National Prayer Breakfast is an annual event held since 1953 in early February that includes the president and other politicians along with religious leaders.