Obama to Aides To Meet With Secular Coalition For America

The Obama administration has met with many religious groups and is now aides are planning a meeting with those with a different viewpoint–the Secular Coalition for America. McClatchy reports:

President Barack Obama has burnished his Christian credentials, courted Jewish support and preached outreach toward Muslims. On Friday, his administration will host a group that fits none of the above: America’s nonbelievers.

The president isn’t expected to make an appearance at the meeting with the Secular Coalition for America or to unveil any new policy as a result of it.

Instead, several administration officials will sit down quietly for a morning meeting at the Eisenhower Executive Office Building on the White House campus with about 60 workhorses from the coalition’s 10 member groups, including the American Atheists and the Council for Secular Humanism. Tina Tchen, the director of the White House Office of Public Engagement, and representatives from the Justice and Health and Human Services departments will participate.

Coalition leaders are billing their visit as an important meeting between a presidential administration and the “nontheist” community. On the agenda are three policy areas: child medical neglect, military proselytizing and faith-based initiatives…

“Despite what we hear from Glenn Beck or Sarah Palin, we’re in a stage in history where millions upon millions of Americans share a secular perspective on American public policy,” Faircloth said. “We think the real ‘silent majority,’ if you will, is the Americans who say, ‘Enough of this religious and even theocratic nature to American policy.’ ”

The Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life found in a 2008 survey before Obama’s election that a majority of Americans, 52 percent to 45 percent, think that churches should stay out of politics. That sentiment had changed from three election cycles back, 1996, when 54 percent favored churches expressing political views.

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