The leader of the American Humanist Association has a request for new members of Congress: Don't join the Congressional Prayer Caucus because it “discriminates against non-religious Americans.” In a letter to incoming legislators, released shortly after the November 6 elections, the group's director, Roy Speckhardt, complained that some of the over 100 members of the Caucus, founded in 2005 by Congressman Randy Forbes (R-N.C.), “have repeatedly introduced and supported legislation that we feel is unconstitutional and often favors religious institutions and individuals over non-religious institutions and individuals.”
Speckhardt noted that the Caucus supported Forbes' own H.R. 888, that “opposes any effort to remove sectarian objects from our nation's public buildings” and “strongly advocated for the 'In God We Trust' Resolution, which reaffirmed the phrase as our national motto.”
He added with strong disapproval that the Caucus is also “one of the leading advocates for opening and closing each session of Congress with a prayer, which relegates non-religious Americans and others who don't pray to the status of second-class citizen.”
The atheist leader wrote that while prayer “is important to many Americans, and they should feel secure in their freedom to practice their beliefs … when public officials in Congress explicitly endorse public prayer, they alienate millions of non-religious Americans who oppose the joining of religion and government.”
Speckhardt concluded his epistle by requesting freshmen congressmen “not to join the Congressional Prayer Caucus,” and instead join the efforts of godless individuals such as himself to make sure that the supposed “wall of separation between church and state is strengthened and maintained.”
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