Atheists 'Have to Follow the Lead of the LGBT Community'

By Susan Jones | November 7, 2013 | 11:25 AM EST

– The United States Supreme Court heard oral arguments Wednesday in a case examining whether sectarian prayer should be allowed at government meetings. (AP File Photo)

( - Linda Stephens, an atheist who is challenging sectarian prayer at town council meetings in Greece, N.Y., says the godless need to take their cue from the gays. She spoke outside the U.S. Supreme Court on Wednesday.

"One thing I would like to say to my fellow atheists is, we need to come out of the closet. Atheists are starting to come out of the closet now, after 9-11. There are many, many of us, and we have to follow the lead of the LGBT community, and we have to make our voices herad. We can't be shy about this, because it's important. We need to included in this town government and government at all levels, and unless we speak up, we're not going to be."

Asked what kind of prayer would please an atheist, Stephens said she has heard some "atheist invocations" that she admires.

But she said such invocations often invite "blowback," "so it is hard for atheists or other miniorities to speak up."

Stephens said she has "experienced hostility," including mailbox vandalism, from her fellow citizens in the town of Greece.