I realize there are 2094324123 things happening in Washington, D.C. right now more relevant than Donald Trump‘s relationship with the atheist “community” — and I use that word very loosely — but a President is supposed to be able to handle multiple issues at once, and he always seems to make time to reach out to right-wing evangelical Christians.
It may not seem like much, but the Obama administration made the effort to reach out to us multiple times. Obama himself mentioned our broad community in many big speeches, including his inaugural address. The current administration hasn’t done anything for us — and plenty against us.
And while all atheists aren’t in lockstep, and while we don’t have “leaders,” many of us care about church/state separation and making sure conservatives in government aren’t trying to advance their religious agenda.
Today, those atheist group leaders are condemning the Trump administration for making no effort whatsoever to reach out to them.
After nearly five months, the White House has yet to respond to the letter or offer any formal recognition to the one-quarter of Americans who identify as nonreligious. Over the same time period, the Trump Administration has pursued a policy agenda that blatantly privileges religion and is overtly hostile to the separation of church and state. These actions include: issuing an Executive Order calling for the IRS to relax the ban on churches engaging in electoral politics, instituting a religiously-discriminatory travel ban, appointing an Attorney General who explicitly slandered secular Americans during his confirmation hearing, and, as recently as yesterday, repeating a frequently used campaign talking point that implies patriotism requires belief in a God.
Because of these policies and continued incendiary rhetoric, the four signatories to the letter are again calling on the White House to meet with them and speak to the concerns of nonreligious Americans, the single largest “religious group” in the United States.
I know, I know. There’s nothing about Trump that suggests he would do anything even remotely normal, like meeting representatives of a constituency that doesn’t fawn over his every word. But think about how many times he’s spoken to religious groups. And how often he’s invited Christian leaders to the White House. And how often he’s signed executive orders to advance their bigotry. And how he appointed someone to the Supreme Court to appease their wishes.
The least he could do is get off his ass and say hello.
As CFI’s President/CEO Robyn Blumner points out, “The nonreligious, humanists, and atheists, make up a significant proportion of America’s citizenry. That Trump finds us unworthy speaks volumes about him.”