The leader of the American Humanist Association is asking all new members of Congress elected in November not to join the Congressional Prayer Caucus.
In a letter, the group's director, Roy Speckhardt, writes that the Prayer Caucus, "discriminates against non-religious Americans."
He goes on to say, "When public officials and Congress explicitly endorse public prayer, they alienate millions of non-religious Americans who oppose the joining of religion and government."
The American Humanist Association was founded more than 70years ago with a mission to "bring about a progressive society where being good without gods is an accepted way to live life" according to the organization's website.
Speckhardt asks new members to "actively work to ensure that the wall of separation between church and state is strengthened and maintained."
Virginia Congressman Randy Forbes, founder of the Prayer Caucus, is fighting back. In a statement to Beltway Buzz, Forbes said, "This is an unprecedented effort by an extremist group that wants to censor and shut down anything related to faith. The Congressional Prayer Caucus is one of the largest Caucuses in Congress, it has over 105 members and we stand up and fight for religious freedoms and religious liberties."
The Congressional Prayer Caucus was founded in 2005 and has more than 100 members. The bipartisan organization is chaired by Forbes, a Republican and North Carolina Democrat Rep. Mike McIntyre.
The caucus gathers weekly in a room just off the House floor in the Capitol building to pray for each other, the week ahead, and the nation. It also works to defend the expression of faith in the public square such as prayer before public meetings and the public display of Christmas symbols.