Washington D.C. – The Secular Coalition for America is proud to have had a productive meeting with the White House Office of Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships this past Friday, May 14, 2021.
Together with our member organizations the American Humanist Association, American Atheists, Center for Inquiry, Ex-Muslims of North America, and the Freedom From Religion Foundation, we highlighted priorities from our coalition’s Secular Agenda for the Biden-Harris administration and discussed what the administration can do to better uphold the rights of secular Americans.
In this meeting, which we hope was the first of many, we encouraged the White House to continue engaging with organizations representing nonreligious Americans at the national level as well as local secular organizations across the country, in the same ways as they do with religious organizations.
We stressed the importance of rescinding harmful and discriminatory Trump administration actions, like the Faith-Based Social Services rules and Jeff Sessions’ Department of Justice memo, and urged that actions going forward better reflect the more historical and pluralistic vision of religious freedom. A suggested action we proposed was the support of judicial nominees with strong stances on religious equality as well as those who are nonreligious.
By participating in this meeting, the White House Office of Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships displayed that they’re open to embracing pluralism, diversity of thought, and the secular community. A welcomed divergence from the outlook and behaviors of the previous administration. The Secular Coalition for America is optimistic that the Office was indeed truthful when they first declared that they “will not prefer one faith over another or favor religious over secular organizations” and stressed their respect for church-state separation.
Secular Americans have long been kept from spaces and institutions that have a direct impact on their lives and their communities. To be included and treated with respect by the White House is evidence of the years of hard work undertaken by many in the secular community, including supporters like you!
The work we do making nontheist voices heard at the highest levels of American government wouldn’t be possible without your steadfast support. Historic meetings like this one are the direct result of your generous contributions and we are excited to share with you our future successes.