Atheists in the White House?

From AlterNet: “Last week, the Secular Coalition for America, an atheist advocacy group, held its FIRST-EVER individual face-to-face with the White House. Ron Millar, the coalition’s acting director, told POLITICO that he met with Paul Montero, Obama’s religious liaison in the White House Office of Public Engagement.

Obama “is OPENING a little door to include us in, which we are very appreciative of,” says Millar, who says he anticipates a number of additional such meetings with the administration.

Among the concerns Millar says he TOUCHED on was proselytizing in the U.S. military: “That is something we really want to follow up with this administration, because we have not seen much there.”

There have been organizations representing atheists around for decades, but I don’t recall ever hearing about one being invited to the White House for a chat.

Given that White House officials have also recently engaged plenty of religious groups and communities, from across the theological spectrum — even a Focus on the Family representative extended generous praise — it’s only fair that they also sit down with an atheist advocacy group.

That said, this seems like an ENCOURAGING development concerning the interests of atheists. Historically, administrations would keep a group like the Secular Coalition for America at arm’s length. What’s more, a meeting like this, not too long ago, may have sparked a controversy.

That this meeting occurred, the group RAISED legitimate concerns, and no one freaked out about their discussion, looks like a positive development as it relates to diversity of spiritual thought.


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