POLITICS
02/25/2014 07:40 pm ET | Updated Feb 25, 2014

CPAC Bans Atheist Group From Conference Right After Saying It Could Attend

An atheist advocacy group was pulled from the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) only hours after announcing its participation in the event.

On Monday evening, American Atheists told CNN it would have a booth at the conservative conference, celebrating the opportunity to bring far-right atheists "out of the closet."

The announcement immediately sparked outrage among many conservatives and by Tuesday, American Atheists spokesman David Silverman confirmed the group had been removed from the conference.

Silverman called the reversal "a very disappointing turn of events."

"It is very obvious to me they were looking for a reason to say no," Silverman told CNN. "Christianity is bad for conservatism and they did not want that message out there."

CPAC spokeswoman Meghan Snyder said Monday the group was included because “conservatives have always stood for freedom of religion and freedom of expression.” But by Tuesday, she was telling CNN Silverman's purportedly divisive language would not be welcomed at the event.

“He pledged that he will attack the very idea that Christianity is an important element of conservatism," Snyder said. "People of any faith tradition should not be attacked for their beliefs, especially at our conference."

American Atheists paid $3000 for their slot at the conference. Snyder confirmed the funds would be returned to the group.

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