Washington, DC — The Secular Coalition for America released a statement today in response to President Trump’s executive order establishing a new White House Faith and Opportunity Initiative. According to the White House, the new office will provide policy recommendations from faith-based and community programs on “more effective solutions to poverty” and inform the Administration of “any failures of the executive branch to comply with religious liberty protections under the law.”
“The true purpose of this initiative is to assure evangelicals and the leaders of the religious right that the White House remains committed to enacting their agenda,” said Larry T. Decker, Executive Director of the Secular Coalition for America. “Given the Trump Administration’s track record and their political dependence on evangelical voters, there is no reason to think this office will do anything more than rubber stamp policies that elevate religious belief above the law. Evangelicals and the leaders of the religious right already had a seat at the table in Trump’s White House. All this executive order does is upgrade them to an office.”
A similar version of the office was first created by President George W. Bush in 2001 and continued under President Obama as the Office of Faith-based and Neighborhood Partnerships. During the Obama Administration, the Secular Coalition for America participated in meetings at the White House as part of the office’s outreach to the nontheistic community.
“If the White House is determined to go ahead with this initiative, they should follow the example set by the previous Administration and strive to ensure that Americans of all faiths and no faith are represented,” said Decker. “Most Americans, including most people of faith, oppose the discriminatory and divisive policies that the Trump Administration has enacted on behalf of the religious right. Should the President ever decide to abandon the religious right’s crusade, the Secular Coalition for America and the secular community as a whole have plenty of policy suggestions for how the White House can defend the constitutional freedom of, and from, religion.”
Contact: Casey Brescia
Senior Communications Associate and Spokesman
The Secular Coalition for America is the nation’s premier advocacy organization representing atheists, humanists, agnostics, and other nontheists. Its mission is to increase the visibility of and respect for nontheistic viewpoints in the United States, and to protect and strengthen the secular character of our government as the best guarantee of freedom for all. The Secular Coalition represents 19 voting member organizations.