Secular Coalition Responds to Arizona House Silencing Nonreligious Lawmaker

The Secular Coalition for America released the following statement in response to the Arizona House invalidating and publicly rebuking a secular invocation by State Representative Athena Salman.

Statement by Larry T. Decker, Executive Director of the Secular Coalition for America

"The Secular Coalition for America is deeply saddened to learn that, rather than respect the secular invocation of a fellow lawmaker, the Arizona House felt compelled to publicly invalidate and admonish Rep. Salman for her thoughtful remarks. It is important that the Arizona House represent the diversity of Arizonans, more than a quarter of whom are unaffiliated with religion. By requiring these "prayers" to recognize "a higher power", the House rules silence secular lawmakers and prejudicially deny them a platform to speak that is available to their religious colleagues. The Secular Coalition for America implores Speaker Mesnard to worry less about defending the definition of words like "prayer" and more about fostering a spirit of inclusion that celebrates the diversity of Arizona."

Contact: Casey Brescia, Communications Associate, [email protected], (845)-380-6201


The Secular Coalition for America is the nation's premier advocacy organization representing atheists, humanists, agnostics, and other nontheists. Its mission is to increase the visibility of and respect for nontheistic viewpoints in the United States, and to protect and strengthen the secular character of our government as the best guarantee of freedom for all. The Secular Coalition represents 19 voting member organizations.


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