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CSH Opposes Faith-Based Initiatives at Washington Press Conference


The following article is from the Secular Humanist Bulletin, Volume 17, Number 3.


On 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 as follows:

“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. 


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