***Update***: A peaceful protest of the event will occur this Sunday, January 2nd, from 6:30a – 8:15a at Washington Convention Center, 801 Mount Vernon Place, NW. If you can come, please bring signs showing how you feel. Examples include:
- “We Vote Too!”
- “There’s Room for Everyone in Government!”
- “Atheists Left Out in the Cold.”
Please email Amanda if you plan to attend.
Washington, D.C. Mayor-Elect Vincent Gray (a Democrat, if it matters to you) is having a prayer service as his first “official” event on January 2nd. It’s called “One City… Praying Together.”
That’s a nice way to begin a term as mayor: Raise a middle finger to all the non-theistic citizens in DC.
Gray could at least reach out to our community by inviting a Humanist Celebrant to the event to deliver a secular invocation.
The Secular Coalition for America suggested just that. But they were told there was no room for non-theists in 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 SCA. “However, we find it overtly discriminatory when we request to be part of an ecumenical service that is supposed to unite the entire city and are told there is no place for nontheists because the program is already set.”
The secular community in D.C. includes atheists, agnostics, humanists, secular Jews, and many other nontheists. “We have a rich community here in the metro area that is not being included in the mayor-elect’s inaugural events, and we think Mr. Gray should know about it,” Knief said.
Local groups are planning to protest the event if Gray continues to discriminate against non-theists.
For now, if you live in the area, you can send him an email letting him know what you think — the SCA has a sample form letter on their site.