Across nation, nonreligious Americans put values into action through community service
by Secular Coalition for America
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Minnesota Atheists pack meals at Second Harvest Heartland in Brooklyn Park, Minnesota.
Secular Americans want to make clear that we value actions over words. We have the muddy boots, packed meals, and stuffed trash bags to prove it. —Debbie Allen, Secular Coalition for America
WASHINGTON, D.C. (May 2, 2019) – In the week leading up to the National Day of Prayer, nonreligious Americans have dedicated thousands of hours to community service as part of the Secular Week of Action.
Secular Student Alliance students at USC, along with humanist chaplain, Ryan Bell, participated in the annual LA River Clean Up put on by Friends of the Los Angeles River.
“The Week of Action is about showing our neighbors that secular values are American values,” said Debbie Allen, Acting Executive Director of the Secular Coalition for America. “Through The National Day of Prayer, our government inappropriately encourages citizens to adopt faith, effectively elevating believers above nonbelievers in our national culture. It is critical, especially today, that we demonstrate the positive impact the nonreligious community has on society and continue to reinforce the secular character of our government as defined by the Constitution.”
"Part of being an atheist is acknowledging that we have an obligation to build the kind of world we want to be a part of," said Nick Fish, President of American Atheists. "In celebration of the Secular Week of Action, we raised more than $15,000 and packed 50,000 meals for families in need at our 2019 National Convention in Cincinnati last week. As the founder of American Atheists, Madalyn Murray O'Hair, said, 'An atheist thinks heaven is something for which we should work now, here on earth, for all to enjoy.'"
Advocates for Freethought and Skepticism from Oregon State University doing a forest clean up
“We aren’t volunteering to denigrate our religious neighbors or to suggest secular action and prayer are mutually exclusive,” continued Allen. “But when such a big platform is delivered to people of faith by way of a national holiday, secular Americans want to make clear that we value actions over words. We have the muddy boots, packed meals, and stuffed trash bags to prove it.”
While the Secular Week of Action ended on May 2, nonreligious organizations continue to volunteer year-round, demonstrating the secular community’s commitment to public service. That includes events this weekend, including a food pantry fundraiser in Illinois hosted by End of the Line Humanists, and a sustainable item giveaway, hosted by Central Colorado Humanists.
Atheist Community of Lubbock, TX serving the homeless.
“At the core of humanism is a belief that positive change requires human intervention,” said Noelle George, Executive Director of Foundation Beyond Belief, a humanist nonprofit that has given millions to charity and organizes volunteer teams doing service work around the country. “That means if we want a more compassionate, equitable, and inclusive world, we have to make it happen. The Week of Action is a way to celebrate humanity’s shared values and what we can accomplish together—rather than focusing only on the values of those who pray.”
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To view more photos of secular public service events from across the country, click here.