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Obama offers shout-out to atheists on Religious Freedom Day

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For the first time, President Obama included atheists in his annual observance of Religious Freedom Day.

In a proclamation marking the occasion, Mr. Obama said that “America embraces people of all faiths and of no faith. We are Christians and Jews, Muslims and Hindus, Buddhists and Sikhs, atheists and agnostics.”

Mr. Obama slowly has progressed to this point. In last year’s proclamation marking Religious Freedom Day, he mentioned “non-believers,” but did not include atheists.

The Secular Coalition for America took credit for the development and said it came about due to its “strengthened relationship” with the White House.

“If there’s one thing today’s proclamation showed us, [it] is that you are being heard,” the group said in a statement.

The Gallup polling organization reported early last year that the percentage of American adults who have no explicit religious identification averaged 17.8 percent in 2012, up from 14.6 percent in 2008

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