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Secular Coalition for America to DNC: 'Unity' Event Should Include Us

July 30, 2008
4:27 PM

CONTACT: Secular Coalition for America
Anne Singer, 202-271-4679

Secular Coalition to DNC: 'Unity' Event Should Include Us
Coalition Director Offers to Participate in Democratic Convention's Opening Ceremony
WASHINGTON - July 30 - The chief executive officer of the Democratic National Convention Committee, the Rev. Leah Daughtry, has planned an interfaith gathering as the opening event of the Democratic National Convention on August 24, 2008. While it is designed to showcase the "diversity" and "shared values" of the party and achieve a "spirit of unity," it will, in fact, marginalize those Democrats who do not practice religion.

Upon learning of this event, the Secular Coalition for America wrote to Daughtry on July 2, 2008 expressing its concern that an interfaith gathering which excludes nontheistic Democrats is divisive rather than unifying, and also expressed the Coalition's willingness to discuss ways to make the convention more inclusive. Because a recent Associated Press report suggests that Daughtry is considering this concern, the Coalition's director, Lori Lipman Brown, is following up today with a more concrete offer: to fly to Denver herself and participate in the interfaith gathering.

Tens of millions of American voters are nontheists with no god belief, and millions more who practice some religion bring secular values to their political choices. Based as it is on the premise that all values are necessarily derived from religion, this year's Democratic convention leaves atheists, agnostics, humanists and other secular voters feeling increasingly isolated and voiceless. By accepting Brown's offer, the Democratic Party can signal to this constituency that it is serious about being inclusive and tolerant.

The Secular Coalition for America's mission includes increasing the visibility and respectability of nontheists in public life. The Coalition lobbies on church/state issues and advocates for atheists, humanists, nonreligious members of the U.S. armed forces and other nontheistic citizens. The Coalition represents nine national partner groups who share the view that a secular government offers the best guarantee for freedom of thought and belief for all Americans. Its website is


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