Secular Coalition Calls on Newt Gingrich to Respect America’s Secular Heritage

WASHINGTON, D.C. – As he embarks on what is widely presumed to be the beginning stages of his 2012 presidential campaign, former House Speaker Newt Gingrich has repeatedly attacked the secular underpinnings of America’s government, as well as the millions of U.S. citizens who support a strong separation of church and state as envisioned by America’s founders. 
   

“In America, religious belief is being challenged by a cultural elite trying to create secularized America, in which God is driven out of public life,” Gingrich recently told a crowd of more than 1,000 in Columbus, Ohio, as reported by The New York Times. 
   

In response to such rhetoric – and news that Gingrich will likely seek to attain America’s highest office – Sean Faircloth, executive director of the Secular Coalition for America, penned an open letter on March 4 to former Speaker Gingrich that explained why America’s government has always been secular, since its earliest design by Founders including Thomas Jefferson, James Madison, and John Adams.  
   

“Men like Jefferson, Madison, and Adams understood that the most effective way to protect every American’s right to believe as they chose was to create a secular government that recognized all religious opinions equally – by keeping them out of government,” Faircloth wrote in the letter, which was sent to Gingrich’s personal website and is published in its entirety on the Huffington Post.  
    

“If you want to prove yourself worthy of our nation’s highest office,” Faircloth continued, “it would be very wise for you to not only acknowledge America’s rich secular heritage – but affirm our historic and constitutional responsibility to defend it.”  
    

Faircloth criticized Gingrich’s portrayal of secular Americans, and pointed out that the former Speaker has adamantly called for a secular government in Egypt while denouncing one in America. 
    

“The best tool for preserving religious freedom for everyone, believers and nonbelievers alike, is secular government,” Faircloth wrote. 
    

The Secular Coalition for America is a 501 c(4) organization that serves as the national lobby for atheists, humanists, freethinkers, and other nontheistic Americans. Composed of ten diverse member organizations, SCA works to protect and strengthen the secular character of our government as the best guarantee of freedom for all. For more information, please visit www.secular.org.

CONTACT: Mike Meno, SCA: 202-299-1091, 443-927-6400 or mike@secular.org
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