As soon as I posted about today’s Interfaith event in Boston at which atheists were excluded, I knew people would argue that we didn’t belong there, that we shouldn’t have been invited, and we shouldn’t have even tried to get representation there. It’s an interfaith event, so why would we have been included in the first place?
For one, if the President and Governor are attending this event in their official capacities, this should be a secular event, not a religious one. I understand that religion will be invoked by the officials — they’re Christians — but there’s no reason for the event itself to be only for the religious. Even the media is billing this as the “official” memorial service, so the more inclusive, the better.
Also, this is a memorial service for the victims, not a Christmas or Easter service for churchgoers. All of us grieve in different ways. To suggest that the victims were all of one faith — or that the community only mourns them in particular religious ways is ignorant and unfair. Obviously, not every religious group can be represented. But the major groups — Protestants, Catholics, Muslims, Jews — will all have a person representing them up on stage. There’s no good reason that a Humanist couldn’t have given a message of hope, loss, and love without invoking God.
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