Tag Archives: Secular Coalition for America

Obama staff to meet with non-theists today

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An actual official meeting at the White House will happen on Friday February 26th between representatives of non-theistic groups and President Obama’s staff. While not as splashy as a meeting with the President it is important for those of us non-believers who feel we were ignored during past administrations.

Instead, several administration officials will sit down quietly for a morning meeting at the Eisenhower Executive Office Building on the White House campus with about 60 workhorses from the coalition’s 10 member groups, including the American Atheists and the Council for Secular Humanism. Tina Tchen, the director of the White House Office of Public Engagement, and representatives from the Justice and Health and Human Services departments will participate.

The coalition doesn’t embrace all the Obama administration’s stances, but members think that they have more of a kindred spirit in the president than in his predecessor, George W. Bush.

Obama once taught constitutional law. His late mother was spiritual but agnostic. His inaugural address is credited as the first by a U.S. president to include explicit recognition of “nonbelievers” as part of the fabric of the nation.

Coalition members plan to use Friday’s meeting to advocate closing federal loopholes in the law that governs medical neglect. They say that officials in any state should be able to remove sick children who need medical treatment from homes in which parents believe in faith healing as easily as they could intervene on behalf of other children.

Obama aides to meet with atheists on White House grounds

Secular Coalition calls for end to religious test

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It would seem that the US Constitution doesn’t allow a religious test to be elected in this country. In fact that prohibition is written in clear language in Article Six. It is why the group, the Secular Coalition for America is taking the time to release a video of the attempts at a religious test during the recently concluded 2008 election campaign and calling for the all secularists to stand up and call for an end to it.

The Senators and Representatives before mentioned, and the Members of the several State Legislatures, and all executive and judicial Officers, both of the United States and of the several States, shall be bound by Oath or Affirmation, to support this Constitution; but no religious Test shall ever be required as a Qualification to any Office or public Trust under the United States.

Article Six of the United States Constitution

Even though it is written in plain language, unlike the religious clause of the first amendment or the right to bear arms of the second, it seems that candidates are put through a religious test. The Secular Coalition for America released a video of clips full of examples from the 2008 election cycle:

The Secular Coalition is also asking secularists to help call attention to this undemocratic anti-American trait. They are sending out a New Year’s Alert:

Pastor Problems, Faith Forums and Godless Gotcha’s on the campaign trail. 2008 was a tough year for atheists, humanists, agnostics and all Americans who are proud of our secular traditions.

I am asking you to join me in signing onto the Secular Coalition for America’s Nine Resolutions for Secular Citizens. I am asking you to make a commitment in your everyday life to help the Secular Coalition and citizens like me change the way our leaders are elected and our country is governed. By signing your name – first, last, or even anonymous – to the resolution, you will help us show that there is a big constituency for the issues the Secular Coalition fights for, and that we intend to be heard in the coming year.

Please go to the New Year’s Resolution sign-on list now and add your name to the hundreds who have already resolved to fight for increased respect and visibility for nontheists and our secular traditions in 2009.

They also have commented and sent a letter to President-elect Obama concerning the inclusion of Rick Warren in the inauguration ceremony on January 20th.

President-elect Obama announced the program for his inauguration this week, and it begins with an invocation from the Rev. Rick Warren, an evangelical mega church pastor. Although Obama and his spokesperson insist his inaugural will be inclusive and offer diverse viewpoints, the choice of two Protestants to open and close the ceremony suggests otherwise.

Obama Chooses Divisive Pastor

Atheists not invited to Democrat Convention opening event

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Austin Cline’s Atheism blog has a post about the lack of inclusion of atheists in the so-called “interfaith” religious service to kick off the 2008 Democratic National Convention in Denver this coming week. Not only were atheists not invited but were basically made unwelcome by the organizer of the event – Leah Daughtry, CEO of the Democratic National Convention Committee.

Ron Millar, Associate Director of the Secular Coalition for America, sent a letter asking the DNC if atheists would be welcome at the service and Daughtry responded to the Associated Press about “an angry letter from a secularist group”:

“Atheists speaking at an interfaith service … does that work?” Daughtry asked this week. “I don’t quite know. But they’re part of the party, you treat them with respect. I’ll give them an answer.”

At the Democrats’ party, a Pentecostal minister

As of 8/22/2008, Daughtry hasn’t responded to the letter nor has she invited an atheist for the service.

As Cline writes:

This is rather like trying to shake the perception that the Party is Jewish and so holding a special event where Jews are told to stay away, or trying to shake the perception that the Party is African-American and so holding a special event where blacks are told to stay away. It’s as if Democratic leaders are trying to draw more support from conservative Christians by saying “look, we can be bigoted and discriminatory towards atheists, too!” Why do they even want the vote of bigots, though? If you have trouble winning on a message of inclusion, then you work harder to get people to see the wisdom of that message; you do not shift your message to match the ignorance of bigots who aren’t voting for you.

Leah Daughtry: Atheists Aren’t Welcome in the Democratic Party

To be honest I don’t expect a political party or presidential candidate not to pander to the religious – it is after all a question of numbers – but I do expect some sliver of respect and the Democrats seem to want to piss me off with their attempts to exclude people like me from their party events.

That’s a gamble they take. It’s sad.

Secular scorecards for Congress released

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The Secular Coalition for America (SCA) released their scorecards on the 109th Congress on September 7th.

It is interesting to note that 7 members of the House got a 100% rating while 18 Senators got a 100% from the SCA. It pretty much confirms my observation that the Senate are a bit more rational in their duties than the House. The other interesting point is that members of Congress who support the SCA positions on many of the issues cross party lines – unlike our religious right friends.

Of course the question becomes – what did the SCA use to rate the Congress. Let them tell you:

The House and Senate Scorecards of the 109th Congress cover votes taken from January 2005 until August 2006. The SCA used ten key votes in both the House and Senate to make the scorecards. Votes include: allowing organizations to discriminate based on religion while using federal funds for secular programs; promoting narrow religious beliefs over secular needs in science, marriage contracts, and the military; the confirmation of judicial appointees who seek to weaken the protections provided by the Establishment Clause; and stripping federal courts of their ability to decide constitutional issues.

U.S. Congressional Scorecards 109th Congress

Hopefully this information will allow secular voters know who supports their issues and who doesn’t. An informed voter is what is needed to support the democracy we say we all need.