Secular Coalition for America (Official)

Information

Secular Coalition for America (Official)

The Secular Coalition for America is an advocacy organization whose purpose is to amplify the diverse and growing voice of the nontheistic community in the United States.

Website: http://secular.org
Location: Washington, D.C.
Members: 374
Latest Activity: Jul 11

Secular Coalition for Arizona Kick-Off a Rousing Success

Secular Coalition for America Needs Your Leadership to Build More State Affiliates

“What an amazing night.”

The positive online comments keep pouring in!
The movement for a saner and more secular America is blazing a historic new trail, a trail that will lead to Secular Coalitions in all 50 states and the District of Columbia by the end of the decade. On October 12, we took the first exciting steps on that trail with the establishment of the Secular Coalition for Arizona, the first Secular Coalition for America State Affiliate.

To read more, click here!

Discussion Forum

Nebraska trying to organise despite wide open distances

Started by James Kz. Last reply by Joan Denoo Jan 19, 2013. 1 Reply

There were several people in Lincoln today meeting about trying to organise a state chapter of the SCA in Nebraska.Organising people over in Omaha and Lincoln (the state capital) is not too hard, the…Continue

Prayer god and Veterans Admin

Started by mike h.. Last reply by James Kz Oct 23, 2012. 3 Replies

Here we go, this may spur a conversation...I am a disabled vet and am offended at constantly hearing "No athiests in foxholes" .....  …Continue

The Good News Club or Truth Seekers Club

Started by Jeff Dempsey. Last reply by James M. Martin Jun 27, 2012. 1 Reply

This organization is a very serious threat to a "Secular Nation."  These people are using our tax dollars to go into school buildings after hours and teach this garbage to our children!  I'm sure…Continue

Tags: State, &, Church, of, Seperation

Launching A Campaign Against My City To Stop Prayer Before Council Meetings

Started by Jeff Dempsey. Last reply by Jeff Dempsey Jun 17, 2012. 5 Replies

I live in Southern, Ohio and the Bible-Belt runs strong through the hills in our community.  I frequent many city council meetings because of the corruption that has been within our tiny city for…Continue

Tags: State, and, Church, of, Seperation

Secular Coalition Latest News

Secular Coalition Says Congress Has No Business Building Churches

Washington, DC -- The Secular Coalition for America released a statement today condemning a bill recently introduced in the Senate (S.1823) which would amend the Stafford Act to allow churches and other houses of worship to receive grants from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) for the repair, restoration, and replacement of damaged facilities. The Senate bill, introduced by Senators Blunt (R-MO), Cornyn (R-TX), Lankford (R-OK), and Cruz (R-TX) is a companion to (H.R. 2405) which was reintroduced by Rep. Chris Smith (R-NJ) earlier this year.

"The government cannot compel taxpayers to support religious institutions," said Larry T. Decker, Executive Director of the Secular Coalition for America. "True religious freedom is the right for all Americans to decide for themselves what houses of worship if any, they support with their money. This legislation violates this fundamental freedom, protected by the Establishment Clause, by using taxpayer money to literally build churches. Our hearts go out to all who were impacted by the recent hurricanes but religious freedom is a value that must be defended in the best and worst of times. This legislation, however well-intentioned, will rebuild houses of worship by knocking down the wall of separation between church and state."

On Wednesday, Texas Governor Greg Abbott and Attorney General Ken Paxton sent an open letter to President Trump urging him to give houses of worship access to the same funds as secular institutions. The letter cites the recent Supreme Court case of Trinity Lutheran v. Comer as providing a precedent for churches to be eligible to receive public grants. In the case of Trinity Lutheran v. Comer, the Supreme Court ruled 7-2 that a Missouri church was eligible to receive a grant to renovate a playground on its property.

"It is frankly appalling to see the religious right and the lawmakers beholden to them using these recent tragedies as a pretense to advance their agenda," said Decker. "As someone who spent nearly ten years working for the Red Cross, I've worked with faith organizations in the aftermath of natural disasters. Faith groups and houses of worship already have access to commodities and goods to aid in their sheltering and feeding operations. I support ensuring those commodities make it to places where people are being cared for but, it cannot be stressed enough, that this is not what this bill does. This legislation crosses a dangerous new line by putting the government in the business of building churches."

Contact: Casey Brescia

Communications Associate and Spokesman

Casey@secular.org, (845)-380-6201

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The Secular Coalition for America is the nation's premier advocacy organization representing atheists, humanists, agnostics, and other nontheists. Its mission is to increase the visibility of and respect for nontheistic viewpoints in the United States, and to protect and strengthen the secular character of our government as the best guarantee of freedom for all. The Secular Coalition represents 18 voting member organizations.

Secular Coalition Condemns House Vote To Turn Churches Into Super PACs

Washington, DC -- The Secular Coalition for America released a statement today condemning the House of Representative's vote securing final passage of the "megabus" appropriations bill. This bundle of eight appropriations bills includes the 2018 Financial Services and General Government Appropriations Bill (FSGG), which contains a provision, Section 116, instructing the IRS to cease enforcement of the 1954 Johnson Amendment exclusively for houses of worship.

The Johnson Amendment prohibits nonprofit 501(c)(3) organizations from engaging in partisan political campaigns, including supporting or opposing candidates for public office. Limiting the enforcement of this rule would enable religious organizations to effectively operate like Super PACs by using their anonymous, tax-deductible donations to support political candidates.

"While we are deeply disappointed by Congress's vote today, this is just one of many battles in our fight to protect the Johnson Amendment," said Larry T. Decker, Executive Director of the Secular Coalition for America. "The Johnson Amendment is an indispensable safeguard for America's democracy, nonprofits, and houses of worship. This is why a clear majority of Americans, nonprofits, and faith leaders want the law preserved. The only supporters of this crusade against the Johnson Amendment are a select few Members of Congress who are doing the bidding of the fringe leaders of the religious right. The Secular Coalition for America will not stand by while the integrity of our political system is comprised for the benefit of religious fundamentalists who want to engage in partisan electioneering on the taxpayer's dime."

"Members of Congress had ample opportunities to strike section 116 from this bill; when it was debated at the sub-committee level, at the full committee level, when Congresswoman Wasserman Schultz offered an amendment to cut it from the bill, and when it was on the floor of the House of Representatives," said Decker. "At every point, Congress failed to stand up for a law which has helped maintain the separation of church and state for more than 63 years."

When the FSGG was first introduced in July, the Secular Coalition for America and thirteen of its member organizations sent a joint letter to the committee urging them to strike Section 116 from the bill.

Additionally, the Secular Coalition for America has joined a diverse coalition of nonprofits, nontheist organizations, and faith groups in rallying together to defend the law. In just the past six months, they have issued multiple letters in support of the Johnson Amendment, including:

"The lawmakers leading the effort to gut the Johnson Amendment claim they are doing so on behalf of the religious community," said Decker. "This is demonstrably untrue. The majority of faith leaders know the Johnson Amendment protects their houses of worship from becoming cogs in the political machine. Americans of all faiths and none are speaking up together in defense of the Johnson Amendment. Now, it's time for Members of Congress to listen."

Contact: Casey Brescia

Communications Associate and Spokesman

Casey@secular.org, (845)-380-6201

###

The Secular Coalition for America is the nation's premier advocacy organization representing atheists, humanists, agnostics, and other nontheists. Its mission is to increase the visibility of and respect for nontheistic viewpoints in the United States, and to protect and strengthen the secular character of our government as the best guarantee of freedom for all. The Secular Coalition represents 18 voting member organizations.

Nontheists Issue Joint Statements Calling for Dialogue with Trump Administration

Washington, DC -- Today four national organizations representing atheists, agnostics, humanists, and secular Americans released statements condemning the Trump Administration's lack of outreach to the nontheist community.

In March 2017, leaders representing American Atheists, the American Humanist Association, the Center for Inquiry, and the Secular Coalition for America sent a joint letter to the White House welcoming Donald Trump as the 45th President of the United States. The letter, made public for the first time today, urges President Trump to continue the Obama Administration's policy of regularly engaging with the nontheistic community. In closing, the four signatory organizations urge President Trump to call upon them as a resource so they can work together to "ensure religious freedom and inclusion for all Americans throughout your tenure as President of the United States."

After nearly five months, the White House has yet to respond to the letter or offer any formal recognition to the one-quarter of Americans who identify as nonreligious. Over the same time period, the Trump Administration has pursued a policy agenda that blatantly privileges religion and is overtly hostile to the separation of church and state. These actions include: issuing an Executive Order calling for the IRS to relax the ban on churches engaging in electoral politics, instituting a religiously-discriminatory travel ban, appointing an Attorney General who explicitly slandered secular Americans during his confirmation hearing, and, as recently as Wednesday, repeating a frequently used campaign talking point that implies patriotism requires belief in a God.

Because of these policies and continued incendiary rhetoric, the four signatories to the letter are again calling on the White House to meet with them and speak to the concerns of nonreligious Americans, the single largest "religious group" in the United States.

Below are statements by representatives from each of the nontheist organizations signed on to the letter.

"This administration has continually appeased and kowtowed to the most extreme elements of the religious right. Their attacks on the foundation of the separation of church and state and their use of religious as a weapon against LGBT people, religious minorities, and women have confirmed our fears that the President would allow religious fundamentalists to drive the agenda in this White House. President Trump needs to realize that the tide has turned on religion in America. Our community is growing while the ranks of the extremists he has aligned himself with continue to shrink. Atheists demand equality, respect, and a seat at the table in American politics and we will fight at every step to secure those goals."

-David Silverman, President, American Atheists

"Despite divisive campaign rhetoric, many humanists were willing to give President Trump a chance to establish an inclusive Administration, but his refusal to meet with the nontheistic community and his administration's open hostility to the separation of religion and government is profoundly disturbing. President Trump holds an office that isn't a platform for promoting a particular faith and he has an obligation to represent all Americans."

-Roy Speckhardt, Executive Director, American Humanist Association

"In an attempt to respect the office of the presidency and work constructively with those with whom we may disagree, the secular community reached out to President Trump to open a dialogue. Rather than greet that gesture as an opportunity, Trump ignored it and has gone on to question the patriotism of nonbelievers. When fealty to the president is the only yardstick by which one's patriotism is measured, as it is in this administration, we happily fail that test. The nonreligious, humanists, and atheists, make up a significant proportion of America's citizenry. That Trump finds us unworthy speaks volumes about him."

-Robyn Blumner, President and CEO, Center for Inquiry

"As patriotic Americans, we find it disheartening that the Trump Administration is willing to cast us as second-class citizens. The signatories of this letter represent a community that now includes one-quarter of all Americans and who deserve to a have a seat at the table. We believe firmly in the expressed intent of the first 16 words of the very First Amendment to the Bill of Right which promises that true religious freedom must include both the freedom of and freedom from religion. I hope President Trump will take us at our word that we wish to be a resource to him and recognize that, as President of the United States, he should meet with those who represent such a large constituency of Americans."

- Larry T. Decker, Executive Director, Secular Coalition for America


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Contacts:


Nick Fish, American Atheists

National Program Director

(908) 276-7300 x8

nfish@atheists.org


Amy Couch, American Humanist Association

Communications Manager

(202) 238-9088

acouch@americanhumanist.org


Paul Fidalgo, Center for Inquiry

Communications Director

(207) 358-9785

press@centerforinquiry.net


Casey Brescia, Secular Coalition for America

Communications Associate and Spokesman

(845) 380-6201

Casey@secular.org

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