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 firstname.lastname@example.org, and the office’s phone number is 202-727-6300.