Center For Inquiry Leaders Applaud Obama’s Progressive and Inclusive Vision for America
January 23, 2009
President Barack Obama in his history-making Inaugural Address today sounded the clarion call for a more inclusive and progressive America. The President’s speech outlined a largely humanistic agenda, promising to “restore science to its rightful place,” as we collectively face the massive challenges facing us as a country in the twenty-first century. Significantly, in affirming the pluralistic character of American society, President Obama expressly included “nonbelievers” among Christians, Muslims, Jews and Hindus, as part of the body politic.
“It truly is a historic and remarkable achievement of significance that the President of the United States referred to non-believers in recognition of the growing number of Americans—now numbering tens of millions—who hold no religious affiliation. As far as we are aware, this is the first time this has happened,” said Paul Kurtz, chairman and founder of the Center for Inquiry. “It is also noteworthy that he called for the restoration of science to its rightful place and the application of technology to the improvement of human life. We applaud his courageous optimism in outlining an audacious program for the future,” said Kurtz.
Ronald A. Lindsay, president and CEO of the Center for Inquiry, emphasized the importance of President Obama’s acknowledgment. “For much of American history, agnostics and atheists were denied important civil rights, and in some states, until the early 1960’s, were explicitly forbidden from holding public office. Even after these legal constraints had been removed, nonbelievers were stigmatized or ignored by most politicians. We are encouraged that President Obama has unambiguously indicated he will be the president of all Americans.”
The Center for Inquiry/Transnational is a nonprofit, educational, advocacy, and scientific-research think tank based in Amherst, New York It is home to the Council for Secular Humanism, founded in 1980, the Committee for Skeptical Inquiry (formerly CSICOP), founded in 1976, and the Commission for Scientific Medicine and Mental Health. Their research and educational projects focus on three broad areas: religion, ethics, and society; paranormal and fringe-science claims; and medicine and health. The Center’s Web site is http://www.centerforinquiry.net/ .