|From The Friendly Atheist: |
Everyone could move forward if Kindig would offer an honest
apology instead of asking everyone to just forget about what he
said. While the event may have been emotional, the preparation
leading up to it allowed for ample time to make sure no laws
were being violated. His staff either didn’t know about the legal
problems or didn’t care. Either way, they need to promise it
won’t happen again.
Just to be clear, the Omaha Atheists don’t want to file any lawsuit.
They would prefer to have a conversation with the Mayor before
taking any drastic steps.
Omaha Atheists / American Atheists / Apostacon
OmahaAtheists.org Atheists.org Apostacon.org
For Immediate Release: Thursday, May 29, 2014
Atheists Plan “Minorities Matter” Rally to Challenge Nebraskan Mayor’s Outburst
Mayor Will Meet with Atheist Representatives on Tuesday
Omaha, NE—Omaha Atheists and the national nonprofit American Atheists announced on Thursday plans for a rally in La Vista, a suburb of Omaha, to be held Monday, June 2. The rally’s theme, “Minorities Matter, Mr. Mayor,” challenges La Vista Mayor Douglas Kindig’s disparaging remarks about the role of minorities at a city-sponsored Memorial Day event last Sunday.
The rally, which will begin at 5:30 at La Vista City Hall, is scheduled to feature a diverse program of brief remarks from representatives of various minority groups in the Omaha metro area. Immediately following the rally, a “Meet the Atheists” potluck, open to all, is planned at Central Park a half mile away.
The rally protests the city of La Vista’s recent Memorial Day activities, which included a “Prayer Walk” and a “Faith and Freedom Day,” including an official “Service” led by a local Christian pastor. The activities, promoted on the city’s official website, included songs praising “Jesus” and overtly Christian prayers. After the religious service, a La Vista resident in attendance, Robert Fuller, approached the mayor to request a meeting at a later date about Mr. Fuller’s concern regarding separation of church and state at the service. Mayor Kindig responded to Mr. Fuller, an atheist and board member of Omaha Atheists, by stating, “Take me to f*cking court because I don't care," and "Minorities are not going to run my city."
Following national media coverage of the comments, Mayor Kindig’s staff has sent a request for a meeting with Mr. Fuller, scheduled to take place on Tuesday, June 3, to which Mr. Fuller has agreed. Amanda Knief, Managing Director and Inhouse Counsel of American Atheists, and Jill Fitzgerald, a spokesperson for Omaha Atheists, will accompany Mr. Fuller to the meeting.
“Mayor Kindig’s remarks about minorities are despicable,” said Ms. Fitzgerald. “Minorities such as atheists create a healthy diversity and though we may be in the minority in the Bible Belt, our government has a responsibility to represent us and our interests equally to those of all other citizens. It was Mayor Kindig who suggested a lawsuit, not us—we see this as an educational opportunity and a chance to build bridges.”
“At this meeting, we have three objectives,” said American Atheists Managing Director Amanda Knief, a former Omaha resident and journalist for the Omaha World-Herald, who will be coming to Omaha from American Atheists headquarters in New Jersey for the rally and the Tuesday meeting with the mayor. “We will invite Mayor Kindig to offer a real apology to the minority groups of his community. We will invite him either to include representatives from every religious, humanist, and atheist group at future government events, or ideally, to keep government events entirely secular. Lastly, we will invite Mayor Kindig to attend the Apostacon secular conference in Omaha this September, where he will be asked to join American Atheists President Dave
Silverman on stage to explain his remarks to the atheist community at large and create a plan for how we can work together to undo this damage and ensure La Vista Nebraska is known as an accepting place for all people.”
OMAHA ATHEISTS is a Nebraska based 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization dedicated to welcoming atheists and nonbelievers as they promote the separation of church and state and make charitable contributions to society through positive community action in and around the Omaha Metro Area. Omaha Atheists was founded in 2008 and is a proud sponsor of Apostacon.
AMERICAN ATHEISTS is a national 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization based in New Jersey that defends civil rights for atheists, freethinkers, and other nonbelievers; works for the total separation of religion and government; and addresses issues of First Amendment public policy. American Atheists was founded in 1963 by Madalyn Murray O’Hair.
APOSTACON is an annual Omaha-based secular conference focused on bringing nationally known speakers of the scientific, secular, and skeptical communities to the Midwest. Apostacon began as the Midwest Freethought Conference and is entering its sixth year as an annual event. Apostacon is sponsored by Omaha Atheists and the national nonprofit Recovering From Religion. This year’s conference will feature astrophysicist Neil Degrasse Tyson at its Evening of Scientific Inquiry and Dr. Lawrence Krauss as its keynote speaker, and will be held at the Doubletree Downtown from September 19-21.