For Immediate Release: December 19, 2007

  Contact: Anne Singer, (202) 271-4679

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Historic Civil Rights Group Recognizes Nontheists' Struggle

Secular Coalition for America Joins Leadership Conference on Civil Rights,

Becomes First Member Advocating for Nontheist Americans

Washington, DC -- The Secular Coalition for America has become the newest member of the oldest and most respected civil rights organization in the United States. As one of eight new members joining the Leadership Conference on Civil Rights (LCCR) this year, the Secular Coalition for America will work with the LCCR in its mission to unite all Americans as one nation true to its promise of equal justice, equal opportunity and mutual respect.

Recognition that the nontheistic minority must be included in the struggle for civil rights marks a milestone. There are several religious groups within LCCR's coalition, but the Secular Coalition for America is the first nontheist (atheists, humanists, and other Americans without a god belief) advocacy group to be included. Both organizations agree that religious freedom as protected by the Bill of Rights must also include the freedom to practice no religion.

Secular Coalition Director, Lori Lipman Brown, said, "This decision says as much about the LCCR and its willingness to acknowledge and include nontheists as it does about the Secular Coalition and its recognition of our theistic allies who support our rights."

A total of eight groups were added to the LCCR's coalition at their most recent board meeting: Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now (ACORN); Center for Responsible Lending; Citizen's Commission on Civil Rights; DC Vote; Laborers' International Union of North America (LIUNA); Matthew Shepard Foundation; Paralyzed Veterans of America; and the Secular Coalition for America.

The Leadership Conference on Civil Rights is the nation's premier civil rights coalition, and has coordinated national legislative campaigns on behalf of every major civil rights law since 1957. LCCR consists of more than 192 national organizations, representing persons of color, women, children, labor unions, individuals with disabilities, older Americans, major religious groups, gays 6tsa5 and lesbians and civil liberties and human rights groups (www.civilrights.org).

The Secular Coalition for America was established in 2002 as a 501(c)4 lobbying organization to increase the visibility and respectability of 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 (www.secular.org).