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Home / Faith / Biden administration seeks policy input from atheist groups
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Melissa Rogers, bottom left, executive director of the White House Office of Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships, speaks during a meeting with atheist and secular groups, Friday, May 14, 2021. Video screengrab

Biden administration seeks policy input from atheist groups

Biden administration officials recently met with several leading atheist and secular organizations for the first time.

The White House Office of Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships, including Executive Director Melissa Rogers and Deputy Director Josh Dickson, held a virtual meeting with representatives of six groups: American Atheists, the Freedom From Religion Foundation, the American Humanist Association, Center for Inquiry, Ex-Muslims of North America and the Secular Coalition for America. The Secular Coalition for America, which set up the meeting, labeled it historic and productive.

“We highlighted priorities from our coalition’s secular agenda for the Biden-Harris administration and discussed what the administration can do to better uphold the rights of secular Americans,” said a press release from the Secular Coalition for America.

President Biden in February re-established the Office of Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships, saying it would “promote partnerships with religious and secular organizations to better serve people in need.”

American Atheists President Nick Fish said in a statement he was pleased that the administration “takes seriously its obligation to meet the needs of atheists, humanists and other nonreligious Americans. It is reassuring to know that the White House Office of Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships shares our commitment to government neutrality, church-state separation, and religious pluralism — and that means including atheists.”

Rogers said the Office of Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships “continues to meet with a wide range of faith and community leaders. We are grateful to hear from diverse Americans and to explore opportunities to work together to serve people in need.”

Bill Donohue, president of the Catholic League for Religious and Civil Rights, said he considered the latest meeting to be problematic.

“If the Biden administration is going to manipulate the founding purpose of faith-based initiatives by welcoming the advice of militant secularists, it would do us all a favor and simply trash this office,” he said in a statement. “It is obviously a bust.”

Albert Mohler, president of Southern Baptist Theological Seminary agrees, saying the organizations’ secular agenda will have a devastating impact on faith-based organizations.

“They’re talking here about, say, a Christian adoption agency, should not be able to operate on Christian convictions,” he said. “In other words, everybody has to operate on a secular basis.”

–Dwight Widaman | Metro Voice

 

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