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AHLC Warns Secretary of Agriculture against Proselytizing to Staff

For Immediate Release


Sarah Henry, (202) 238-9088,

David Niose, (202) 238-9088,

(Washington D.C., December 21, 2018) – The American Humanist Association (AHA) legal team sent a warning letter to U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue in response to his promotion of Christian ideology. In his official capacity, Perdue sent a letter to all U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) staff via USDA email in which he cited heroic efforts of USDA staff as “a reflection of the true essence of Christmas, when God gave us His Son for a lost and hurting world.”

“The promotion of sectarian Christian views is wholly inappropriate, completely disregarding the fact that there are surely many non-Christians among the members of the USDA staff,” said David Niose, director of the AHA’s Appignani Humanist Legal Center. He continued, “It also violates the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment by clearly promoting and endorsing Christian beliefs.”

Roy Speckhardt, executive director of the American Humanist Association, explained, “the federal government includes a diverse workforce – one that is not represented, or even acknowledged, in Perdue’s divisive Christmas message.”


The American Humanist Association (AHA) works to protect the rights of humanists, atheists, and other nontheistic Americans. The AHA advances the ethical and life-affirming worldview of humanism, which—without beliefs in gods or other supernatural forces—encourages individuals to live informed and meaningful lives that aspire to the greater good of humanity.

Special thanks to the Louis J. Appignani Foundation for their support of the Appignani Humanist Legal Center.

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