White House meeting marks new milestone for nontheists
June 1, 2009: The nontheist movement reached a new milestone when the Secular Coalition for America had its first individual meeting with White House officials last week. Although the Secular Coalition had met with White House officials before, this meeting was significant as it was the first private meeting focused solely on nontheists' interests.
The discussion, held with White House Associate Director of Public Engagement Paul Monteiro, gave Secular Coalition representatives the opportunity to highlight what policy issues concern nontheists most. Specifics topics addressed were coercive religious proselytizing in the military, the faith-based initiatives, and employment discrimination.
As the broadest and most diverse advocacy group for nontheists, the Secular Coalition has the credibility to provide our nation’s leaders with an understanding of nontheists' political and cultural interests. More importantly, this meeting is evidence that nontheists are becoming an influential and increasingly organized constituency, and that elected officials want to take our concerns into account.
The goal of the Secular Coalition has always been to increase the visibility of and respect for nontheists in America. This meeting was one small step for the Secular Coalition, but it was a significant leap for nontheists everywhere.