- The Washington Times - Wednesday, September 18, 2013

The Education Department invited five atheist representatives from the Secular Student Alliance to attend an interfaith meeting the department is putting on Sept. 24.

“Atheists absolutely want to do their part to improve the world,” said alliance spokesperson Jesse Galef in a release. “We may not believe in religious services, but we sure believe in community service.”

Other groups invited to the President’s Interfaith and Community Service Campus Challenge, which looks at the best ways to include different worldviews in college service projects, include the Jewish group Hillel, the Hindu Seva Charities and Campus Compacts, which promotes community service at college campuses, a press release from the Secular Student Alliance said.

The Obama administration has made it a point to include secular students in interfaith discussions, including inviting atheists to the White House in 2010, drawing some criticism from faith leaders.

The secular community in the U.S., especially among young people, continues to grow. A 2012 Pew survey found that 20 percent of all Americans are not affiliated with a religion, while one-third of those younger than 30 do not declare a religious affiliation.

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