For Immediate Release
Contact: Paul Fidalgo
Phone: (207) 358-9785
October 18, 2016
Nonreligious Americans will stand together in solidarity on Tuesday, November 15, as they mark Openly Secular Day, a day of celebration and support for those who are ready to identify as nonbelievers. The challenge for secular Americans is simple, yet for many, profound: Tell one person.
Openly Secular, a campaign of the Center for Inquiry, is asking secular Americans to take the Tell One Person pledge at openlysecular.org/osd, and then to open up to at least one new person about their secular identity. Plus, the Openly Secular Day flagship event will be held on November 15 in Madison, WI at the University of Wisconsin–Madison, featuring Saturday Night Live alumnus Julia Sweeney, “Friendly Atheist” Hemant Mehta, and other noteworthy freethinkers.
“The prejudice faced by atheists, agnostics, and other nonreligious Americans is pernicious and oppressive, even in 2016,” said Cody Hashman, coordinator of the Openly Secular campaign. “Too many nonbelievers feel compelled to pretend to believe something they don’t, hiding who they really are from friends, coworkers, and even loved ones.”
According to recent surveys, atheists rank among the most disliked groups in the country, and about half of Americans say they would rule out voting for a presidential candidate they knew to be an atheist, regardless of that candidate’s qualifications.
“Part of defeating this prejudice is by having more secular Americans proudly identify themselves as nonreligious,” said Hashman. “If someone is already openly secular, that’s great! We want them to tell one more person in their lives. But we’re also asking those who have up to now kept their identity to themselves to choose at least one person, someone they can safely open up to, and engage with them in an honest and constructive conversation about their secular identity.”
“Every new voice makes a difference,” he said.
In addition to the flagship conference in Madison, community and campus groups are encouraged to put on events to celebrate the day and welcome those who are new to being openly secular.
Openly Secular is a campaign to eliminate discrimination and increase acceptance of atheists, freethinkers, agnostics, humanists and other nonreligious people, by encouraging secular people to be open about their beliefs. Celebrities who have spoken on behalf of the campaign include NFL star Arian Foster, former congressman Barney Frank, comedian Bill Maher, actor John de Lancie, entertainer John Davidson, and Wu-Tang affiliated rapper Killah Priest.
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The Center for Inquiry (CFI) is a nonprofit educational, advocacy, and research organization headquartered in Amherst, New York, with executive offices in Washington, D.C. It is also home to both the Committee for Skeptical Inquiry, the Council for Secular Humanism, and will soon be home to the Richard Dawkins Foundation for Reason & Science. The mission of CFI is to foster a secular society based on science, reason, freedom of inquiry, and humanist values. Visit CFI on the web at www.centerforinquiry.net.