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New Washington DC Government Discriminates Against Seculars at Inauguration

The Secular Coalition for America informs us by e-mail yesterday that when it sought to have a humanist celebrant included at Mayor Vincent Gray’s first inaugural event, “One City … Praying Together,” they were denied. Representatives of American religious groups were given seats at the event.

“We would prefer that a government function such as an inauguration not be entwined with religion,” said Amanda Knief, a Humanist Celebrant and government relations manager for the Secular Coalition for America (SCA). “However, we find it overtly discriminatory when we request to be part of an ecumenical prayer service that is supposed to unite the entire city and are told there is no place for nontheists…. Secular Americans have much to offer their communities if allowed to participate.”

Within hours of learning about the prayer service through a public press release on Monday, December 20, SCA contacted the mayor-elect’s transition team to request that a Humanist Celebrant be included. After two days of repeated requests, a representative told SCA that the program for the prayer service was set and that nontheists would not be included.

This is just the latest in a long series of government events used to promote religion and exclude secular Americans.

The e-mail address of the Mayor’s office is, and the office’s phone number is 202-727-6300.

4 thoughts on “New Washington DC Government Discriminates Against Seculars at Inauguration”

  1. Peregrin Wood says:

    This is reminiscent of what the Democrats did at their 2008 national convention. The American Religious Identification Survey shows that non-theist Americans are the only nationally growing group. Religious belief is shrinking. These political groups are shooting themselves in the foot by continuing to insult nontheists.

  2. JeffD says:

    What would the SCA do at a prayer event?

    1. Peregrin Wood says:

      Oh, you know, Jeff, just the basic things, like having equal access to channels of power during an official government meeting, and living in a country where the government doesn’t encourage discrimination on the basis of religion.

      Specifically, the Humanist Celebrants proposed would offer the equivalent of religious preaching, but from a Humanist perspective.

      1. JeffD says:

        Peregrin, Why the attempt to be abrasive? Does, the SCA believe in channels of power? This analogy isn’t prefect but this sounds more like inviting the blind to look at the stars through a telescope. Also isn’t this a prayer event rather than a preaching event? But what is the equivalent of religious preaching, but from a Humanist perspective?

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