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Humanists denied a place at the Interfaith Service in Boston: SPEAK OUT!

From: Debbie A.
Sent on: Saturday, April 27, 2013 11:10 AM

Dear Friends,

I just signed the campaign: Help Us Tell MA Gov. Deval Patrick & Melissa Rogers: Healing Must Be For Everyone

It would mean the world to me if you could also add your name to this important issue. Every name that is added builds momentum around the campaign and makes it more likely for us to get the change we want to see.Will you join me by taking action on this campaign?

After you've signed the petition please also take a moment to share it with others. It's super easy – all you need to do is forward this email.Thank you!

Judith Hand
Former Board Member, HFSD


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Why is this important?

Last week, President Obama and Governor Patrick attended “Healing Our City: An Interfaith Service,” where religious words of comfort were offered to a wounded city.

However, Boston has an extremely active Humanist/secular/nontheistic community that was also directly affected by the attacks. Our community, comprised of thousands of women and men of different backgrounds and ages, had friends and volunteers who were severely injured and nearly killed. We had runners in the Marathon and community leaders who narrowly escaped harm. By Thursday, we were in shock and pain along with the rest of our city.

So we worked all week with our national lobbying office, the Secular Coalition for America, to request some form of public recognition that the interfaith healing event—the de facto “official” such event due to the President’s and Governor’s participation—was inclusive of nonreligious as well as religious Bostonians. We made clear that even one seat among the 1000+ reserved places within the Cathedral of the Holy Cross would have been sufficient.

Despite numerous conversations and requests with your offices, we were denied even a single seat in the Cathedral. This added confusion and pain to the grief of secular Americans in Boston and beyond.

Governor Patrick and Ms. Rogers, our community is neither small nor antireligious. Every week in Boston, Humanists and nontheists gather to serve, to help one another raise good kids, to celebrate life, and to mourn death. We hold leadership positions in major interfaith coalitions. And we have prominent religious allies who are aware that Gallup lists Boston among the top ten least religious metro areas in the United States.

Therefore, we are calling upon you to meet with us in the coming weeks, to hear our stories, and to ensure that, in the future, healing and unity will include everyone. We would also like the opportunity to tell you about our efforts to support the inclusion of members of other groups. For example, we seek to ensure that Muslim, Sikh, Arab, and South Asian communities are not singled out or intimidated. And we stand vigilant against security measures or other moves to curtail civil liberties and cast suspicion around these attacks while our nation considers immigration reform.

President Obama’s call to “stay true to the unity and diversity that makes us strong” represents a promise we cannot afford to break. To keep it we must bring religious and nonreligious neighbors together, against prejudice, and for the full inclusion of all in acts of healing.

As religious and nonreligious people, we call on you to meet with the secular community by June 15th to right this wrong.

For more info:


Greg M. Epstein, Humanist Chaplain at Harvard University

The Reverend Scott Campbell, President, Harvard Chaplains

The Reverend Brian McLaren, Author

Steven Pinker, Harvard College Professor of Psychology

Reza Aslan, Author

Edwina Rogers, Executive Director, The Secular Coalition for America

Rebecca Hale, President, the American Humanist Association

August Brunsman, Executive Director, Secular Student Alliance

David Silverman, President, American Atheists

James Randi, Founder, the James Randi Educational Foundation

The Rev. Canon Charles Gibbs, Executive Director, the United Religions Initiative

Hemant Mehta, Blogger,

Ellery Schempp, Co-Chair, Secular Coalition for Massachusetts

Zachary Bos, Co-Chair, Secular Coalition for MA

Chris D. Stedman, Assistant Humanist Chaplain at Harvard

Dr. Rebecca Goldstein, Harvard University

Todd Stiefel, President, Stiefel Freethought Foundation

Amanda Metskas, Executive Director, Camp Quest

Rabbi Jonah Steinberg, Director, Harvard Hillel

Reverend Luther Ziegler, Episcopal Chaplain at Harvard

Nuri Friedlander, Associate Chaplain for the Harvard Islamic Society

Lama Migmar, Buddhist Chaplain at Harvard

Daryush Mehta, Zoroastrian Chaplain at Harvard

Mary Johnson, Author

Fred Edwords, National Director, United Coalition of Reason

Ronald Lindsay, President and CEO, Center for Inquiry

Kim Rippere, President, Secular Woman

Ayanna Watson, President, Black Atheists of America

Emma Bates, Director of Outreach, American Humanist Association

Frank Fredericks, Executive Director, World Faith


If you would like to meet with other Humanists, plan to come to the national conference of the American Humanist Association, which this year, just so happens to be in San Diego!!

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