CSH Opposes Faith-Based Initiatives at Washington Press Conference
The following article is from the Secular
Humanist Bulletin, Volume 17, Number 3.
July 10 the Council for Secular Humanism joined a number of other national and
local groups at a press conference in Washington, D.C., to oppose the Bush
administration’s faith-based initiatives proposal. The news conference, held
at the National Press Club, was organized by the American Atheists. CSH was
represented by Executive Director Dr. Ed Buckner and, informally, by Katherine
Bourdonnay, who became CSH’s communications director on August 1.
The press conference was covered the next day in an article
by Emily Rahe in the Washington Times headlined “Atheists blast faith-based
initiative as an unconstitutional ‘religion tax.’” The fourth paragraph of
the story—and the first paragraph to quote anyone from the previous day—was
“Justice and logic and history and religious freedom and
our Constitution all make it clear that it is simply wrong to take money away
from people with no religion and use it to pay for advancing any religion,” Ed
Buckner, the executive director of the Council for Secular Humanism, said at a
news conference yesterday at the National Press Club. “No tax support of
religion can be justified. Not now, not ever.”
The Religion News Service also referred to the press
conference in an article on faith-based programs, but did not mention CSH. The
complete text of the CSH statement (which follows), along with other statements
and a few photos, can be found at http://www.thedaythatcounts.org/pressconf10july01.shtml.
The press conference was covered by a live Internet webcast.
Over forty-seven national, state, and local groups endorsed “The Day That
Counts,” including nationwide organizations such as CSH’s Campus Freethought
Alliance, American Atheists, Atheist Alliance, Atheists United, and Secular
Student Alliance. Local groups throughout the country, from the Atheist
Community of Austin and the North Texas Church of Freethought to the Great Lakes
Humanist Society, Pennsylvania Nonbelievers, and Humanists of Iowa joined on.
“The Day That Counts” also had the support of Positive Atheism Magazine,
Internet Infidels, and Project Toxin.
Opponents to Bush’s proposal were urged to flood Capitol
Hill with phone calls, letters and faxes on July 17, 2001. Nevertheless, a
scaled-back version of the bill has now passed the House, 233–198, but
probably faces tough going in the Senate. CSH urges members to let their
senators know their position on this.