Obama Administration Meets with Secular Coalition

Thumbs-up, with the tempered hope that this meeting was not for show and will result in material policy adjustments:
The American Humanist Association (AHA), as a member of the Secular Coalition for America, participated in a meeting with the Obama Administration on Friday, February 26, to discuss issues of concern to the nontheist movement. The Secular Coalition for America's Briefing with the Obama Administration marked the first time in history a presidential administration has held a national policy briefing with the nontheist community, signaling an unprecedented enthusiasm and willingness on the part of the Executive Branch to include nontheists in public discourse.

"We are very pleased to have had this opportunity to talk with the White House about issues that are important to the nontheist community," said Roy Speckhardt, executive director of the American Humanist Association. "Too often, nontheists have been disregarded by politicians and the public only because we don't happen to believe in a god. But by President Obama giving us a seat at the table, he has sent a powerful message that we hope others will also embrace: What unites us is that we are all Americans--not that we all share a belief in the same god or any god. There is no faith prerequisite in wanting what's best for our country."

...The issues discussed included ways to improve the Faith-Based Initiative, ending military proselytizing, and protecting children from neglect and abuse that can occur due to a lack of government oversight over faith-healing treatment providers.

"We are optimistic that this is just the first of many such meetings with the Obama administration," said Speckhardt.
Visible inclusion is important. Access is important. But more important is designing/supporting policy, and using rhetoric to defend those positions, with nontheists in mind. For example, an administration that does not support same-sex marriage, particularly one that defends its continued prohibition on religious grounds, cannot rightfully assert to have anything but a religious position—and a limited religious position at that, given that some religious denominations are currently performing (or performed, in California) legal same-sex marriage ceremonies where allowable by state law. The only viable position on the issue, as the issue of abortion, as another example, to accommodate the views of nontheists who lack religious objections, is full access and equality, granting individual opportunity to make use, or not make use, of rights as we each see fit.

[H/T to Shaker Constant Comment.]

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