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It’s strange hearing a politician mention non-religious people in a positive, inclusive way.

I could get used to this.

At the National Prayer Breakfast yesterday, Obama made a couple more mentions of atheists (PDF):

There is no doubt that the very nature of faith means that some of our beliefs will never be the same. We read from different texts. We follow different edicts. We subscribe to different accounts of how we came to be here and where we’re going next — and some subscribe to no faith at all.

We know too that whatever our differences, there is one law that binds all great religions together. Jesus told us to “love thy neighbor as thyself.” The Torah commands, “That which is hateful to you, do not do to your fellow.” In Islam, there is a hadith that reads “None of you truly believes until he wishes for his brother what he wishes for himself.” And the same is true for Buddhists and Hindus; for followers of Confucius and for humanists. It is, of course, the Golden Rule — the call to love one another; to understand one another; to treat with dignity and respect those with whom we share a brief moment on this Earth.

The goal of this office [Office of Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships] will not be to favor one religious group over another — or even religious groups over secular groups. It will simply be to work on behalf of those organizations that want to work on behalf of our communities, and to do so without blurring the line that our founders wisely drew between church and state. This work is important, because whether it’s a secular group advising families facing foreclosure or faith-based groups providing job-training to those who need work, few are closer to what’s happening on our streets and in our neighborhoods than these organizations. People trust them. Communities rely on them. And we will help them.

I’m sure many atheists will be mad that Obama is speaking at a National Prayer Breakfast in the first place. They’ll be upset that he used us as an afterthought on lists of religions — so many of which have hurt our friends and family.

But it’s an important step. Let’s get the nation used to hearing atheists (or some variant) included in lists of who Americans are.

Then, let’s back his words up with our own actions. That’s how movements happen.

(via The Economist)