My wife, Laurel, is an avid atheist -- even more so in some respects than I am. She started a MeetUp group here in Salem, Oregon: Freethinking Atheists of Salem. Here's the description of the group.
Are you too logical/rational to believe in religions, conspiracy theories, and beliefs not supported by modern science, yet miss the fellowship church-goers enjoy? Let's meet up monthly for coffee to converse with like-minded people who also share minority status as "nonbelievers" in a predominantly religious believing world.
Let's share what we learn about science, the challenges of being atheists, and support each other in what we know to be supported by reality. We ask for about a one dollar donation to cover the MeetUp cost, and that you support the IKE Box's hospitality by purchasing a drink or snack.
Last night Laurel used the public comment period at a Salem City Council meeting to talk about her concern that a minister called for prayer prior to Mayor Chuck Bennett giving the annual "State of the City" address.
(You can see the invocation at about the 1:30 mark in this video.)
Yes, the Mayor's talk wasn't held in a government building, but it was part of his official mayoral duties. As Laurel says in the video below, church and state are supposed to be separated in the United States. Having a Christian minister issue a call for prayer elevates one religion above others.
And also, of course, above the 30% or so of people in Oregon who don't embrace any religion, or God. Yet the minister ends his invocation/prayer with "In Jesus' name."
There's absolutely no reason why people who choose to attend a secular event should have to listen to religious talk.
I'm glad my wife made this point to the Mayor and City Council. Hopefully next year there won't be any religious invocation. Or if there is, that it feature a representative of a different faith than Christianity.