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The Mysterious Atheist White House Briefing

Despite President Obama’s rhetoric about transparency in government, the White House has made the delegates from the Secular Coalition of America (SCA) take an oath of secrecy.

I have talked about this more in my Examiner article which I hope everyone will check out. But I want to say a bit more about this issue. Since we don’t know what the White House has actual said with regard to our issues we have to infer from their past performance.

The Obama Administration has continually promised the gay community change on several issues and yet to date, none of those policies have actually changed. With regard to atheist issues, it is unlikely that the Obama Administration will make any of the changes which they may or may not have promised.

What we as a community need to do is to make sure that our voice is heard. We can do this in two ways. First, we can continue to bombard the White House with our concerns. They have a contact page and I would recommend using it. For simplicity sake, I would recommend that we stick with the message that the SCA brought to the White House briefing: Child abuse and neglect by religious parents, military proselytizing, and ending government funding of faith-based initiatives. Okay that last one I tweaked a little.

Second, we should attempt to meet with our representatives in congress and our senators… in person if possible. If not, then I recommend a snail mail letter. E-mail letters ought to be the last resort.

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  • http://theperplexedobserver.blogspot.com/ TPO

    It’ll be interesting to see who pressures the administration for the details of this meeting the most. Will it be the secular community or Fox News and the GOP?

  • Neal G. Dunkleberg

    Your page called “The Abortion Issue” seems terribly sparse. Want a scientists story on the subject? Ask!

    • http://www.dangeroustalk.net Staks

      I’m not sure why you are posting this here. Why didn’t post this on the Abortion Issue page? If you would like to comment on that subject please do it there. If you have something to say about the WH meeting, do that here. How hard is that to figure out?

  • http://www.maaf.info Jason

    It wasn’t an oath of secrecy to keep information secret. Confidentiality breeds candor. Official statements can come at another time. The purpose of the meeting was to build relationships so that at a later time policy can change. This isn’t helping.

    • http://www.dangeroustalk.net Staks

      Jason, you don’t think it helping to have atheists from all over the nation contact the White House and our elected officials and to press them on these issues? What would be helping? sitting around and hoping that politicians do the right things because they are the right things? We have to make sure our voices are heard.

  • http://www.maaf.info Jason

    It’s good to build on success with more pressure, just try not to put a thumb in their eye about a beneficial and mutual assurance of confidentiality.

  • http://www.shelleymountjoy.com Shelley Mountjoy

    The “off-the-record” policy is standard for all briefings… it’s not as if we (non-theists) had different treatment than the norm in this regard.

  • http://www.agnostic-library.com/ma/ PsiCop

    I’m having a hard time understanding the breezy, casual, even flippant way that people are describing the secrecy of this meeting. It may be that the secrecy was unavoidable, but that doesn’t excuse the “trust us, even if we can explain why you should” attitude. Secret meetings permit no accountability, which is not insignificant. We’re dealing here with politicians and politicos, who make their livings being slippery, and evasive; whose primary jobs to make promises they never plan to keep, and lie outright to anyone and everyone.

    The casual approach to secrecy is just not going to cut it. Not with me anyway. No one can be forced to live up to an agreement which is never disclosed to any witnesses. To an outside observer, a secret meeting is inseparable from one which never occurred. (Actually, it could be worse than a meeting that never happened, if something detrimental had been decided but which no one else can be warned about … but I don’t think that happened here.)

    I agree that barraging the powers-that-be with individual petitions is a good idea, however, even those are of limited effect. The White House … and even individual Congressmen … get too many correspondences each day, to be able to pay attention to one, or even to a healthy number of them. The requests of even a dozen non-believers are not significant when there are thousands of them coming in each day. So it won’t pay to assume too much could come from them.

    One of the reasons Washington seems so unresponsive is precisely because of the fact that there are so many different voices calling to them all the time, too many hands pulling at them. The country has literally become unmanageable. This, in turn, is why lying is so epidemic in Washington. They almost cannot say anything to anyone without contradicting something they said to someone else earlier.

    • http://www.dangeroustalk.net Staks

      In person meetings are the way to go when it comes to congress. I made appointments with several legislative aids to discuss free speech issues a number of years ago. The fact that I met with them and had a handout to give them really stuck in their minds. Especially since I was there as a private citizen and not from a group or anything else.

  • SmilodonsRetreat

    Atheist LEGO conventions! I’m in! Atheist poker tournaments!

    Oh and not all atheists are amazingly talented. I can barely carry a tune on an MP3 player.

    • http://skepticink.com/dangeroustalk Dangerous Talk

      We should have an atheist bad singing contest. I might beat you.

      • SmilodonsRetreat

        Karoke night! I will say that the Southern Baptist Convention was considering a method of excommunication specifically to prevent me from singing in church.