Secular Coalition to House Reps: Loyalty of Americans Not Based on Religious Affiliations

Washington, D.C.-The Secular Coalition for America today expressed disappointment with several members of the U.S. House of Representatives over recent letters the Representatives sent to Inspectors General of several federal agencies questioning the loyalty of American citizens based on tenuous "associations" and their personal religious beliefs.

In June U.S. Representative Michele Bachmann led a letter that was also signed by Representatives Trent Franks, Louie Gohmert, Thomas Rooney and Lynn Westmoreland,  which alleged that Muslim-American individuals connected to the U.S. government may be trying to spread the influence of the Muslim Brotherhood.

The Secular Coalition was part of a broad coalition of 42 groups that signed on to a letter produced by the Interfaith Alliance. The group included several of the Secular Coalition's member organizations: American Atheists, American Humanist Association, Atheist Alliance of America, Camp Quest, Military Association of Atheists & Freethinkers, Secular Student Alliance and the Society for Humanistic Judaism.

"Our founders knew that the separation of religion and government was the best guarantee of freedom for all Americans-including religious  and non-religious Americans-precisely for reasons such as this," said Chris Lombardi, Secular Coalition Government Relations Manager.

The letter read in part, "We will not stand idly by and allow our country to revive federal investigations into innocent individuals based on their religious adherence. We will continue to speak out in support of people of all faiths and no faith, and the religious freedom of all Americans to practice-or choose not to practice-a religion without fear of criticism or suspicion."

Bachmann has a history of blurring the lines between separation of church and state, and attempting to insert her religion into the United States' secular government. In the 2012 Presidential Candidate Scorecard the Secular Coalition produced in December of 2011, Bachmann was the only candidate to receive an "F" for every category in which she was graded.

Bachmann is now taking her previous statements a step further by questioning the loyalty of Americans based on their religious beliefs and "associations", which have serious implications for religious freedom.

"When an elected official uses his or her religion as a benchmark for patriotism, that immediately relegates other faiths-and those who practice no religion-to a second class status," said Lauren Anderson Youngblood, Communications Manager.

The Secular Coalition represents 11 nontheistic member organizations, and lobbies to strengthen and protect the secular character of the government as the best guarantee of freedom for all Americans. The SCA is currently in the process of unveiling 50 new state chapters that will lobby to protect the secular character of our government at the state level.

View PDF version of the letter signed by the Secular Coalition today.

 

CONTACT: Lauren Anderson Youngblood, Communications Manager
O: 202-299-1091 ext. 205 
E: lauren@secular.org

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