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Robert is a commissioner on a certain Minnesota city council’s “Human Rights and Diversity” committee. He wrote to me about a city “manifesto” that he feels needs a bit of tweaking:

[The manifesto] upholds “the rights of every individual… to freedom, dignity, and security regardless of religious affiliation…”

I am attempting to amend this manifesto to include the words “or secular” between religious and affiliation.

The city attorney and other members of the commission are opposed to this proposal because they claim that the non-religious are included in “religious affiliation,” which I deny.

They are also uncomfortable with the word “secular” as if it had some sinister meaning.

At first glance, I sided against Robert. I think the inclusion of non-religious people in that phrasing is implied.

But then again, there are plenty of laws against discrimination… which have had to be amended later to specifically include discrimination against GLBT people. Is this any different?

Similarly, the First Amendment is clear about how we all have “freedom of religion” but we’ve had to constantly battle about how that phrasing includes the freedom to have no religion.

So what should Robert do? Should he pursue the change in phrasing or just let this drop?