January 23, 2017 - 4:56 pm

Secular Coalition at the Women's March

Why We Marched

The Secular Coalition for America is a nonpartisan organization that represent atheists, agnostics, humanists, and other nontheistic Americans across the political spectrum. As a partner of the Women’s March on Washington, we have received several letters from supporters seeking to understand why the Secular Coalition would participate in an event that may be perceived as partisan.

As an organization dedicated to protecting the separation of church and state, we have a duty to stand up to religious privilege and bigotry. Between the rhetoric and campaign promises made by President Trump, Vice President Mike Pence’s record, and President Trump’s nominees for key positions in his administration whose policy decisions will impact millions of Americans, it would be a betrayal to the cause of secularism not to speak out.

Religious privilege

On the campaign trail, Trump pledged to push for the repeal of the Johnson amendment, a law passed by Congress in 1954 that prohibits nonprofits (including churches) from endorsing political candidates. As this is a top priority on the policy wish list for the Religious Right, Trump’s pledge to repeal this little known law is a disturbing sign of allegiance to their agenda. We oppose any tax policy that would further privilege religious institutions and elevate them above accountability to American taxpayers.

No Hate No Exceptions

LGBTQ Equality is a Secular Issue

President Trump has publicly expressed his support for the First Amendment Defense Act, which would amount to government-funded discrimination against LGBT Americans, unwed couples, and single mothers on the basis of religion. Anti-LGBT policies have long been advanced under the guise of “religious freedom,” which in reality amounts to a religious privilege to be exempt from nondiscrimination laws that apply to everyone else. We oppose all exceptions to nondiscrimination laws that are based on a special privilege for religion, especially when these laws are applied to institutions receiving government funding, involved in government contracts, or receiving other benefits from the government.

Reproductive Rights

Reproductive Freedom is a Secular Issue

President Trump and Vice President Pence have made it abundantly clear that they will support anti-choice policies and appoint cabinet nominees who are hostile to women’s reproductive rights. The anti-choice agenda is largely driven by religious dogma and beliefs holding that life begins at conception and that everyone, especially women, should be abstinent until marriage. These are not beliefs held by all Americans and we oppose any attempts to advance this ideological agenda by dictating the private medical decisions of women, depriving women of basic health care through their employers, or withholding critical information to women seeking reproductive counseling.

Patriotism Has No Religion

Fighting Religious Bigotry is a Secular Issue

President Trump’s rhetoric toward Muslims and his call for a Muslim registry is unacceptable, unAmerican, and unconstitutional. Persecution of any religious minority is of equal concern to nontheists, as it is a violation of the Constitution’s ban on a religious test and the freedom of and from religion guaranteed by the First Amendment. The hallmark of a truly secular government is a commitment to equally defending the rights of people who belong to all faiths and none. It is critical that the secular community’s voice be heard when this principle is violated.

President Trump’s Nominees Do Not Support Secularism

Who President Trump chooses to surround himself with is a strong indicator of the direction he intends to take our country. We have released detailed statements outline why we are opposing the confirmation of five nominees for President Trump’s cabinet, based on both their records and statements they made at their confirmation hearings over the past two weeks. Read more here:

President Trump’s Inauguration Excluded Atheists

In his inaugural address to the country, President Trump called for unity but preached a divisive message that implied our nation is composed only by people of faith. Our presence at the Women’s March was essential for ensuring that President Trump knows he has a duty to serve the one-quarter of Americans with no religion.

The March is over. Now what? A call to action:

  1. Join the Secular Coalition’s Rapid Response Team.
    To go above and beyond the impact of our electronic Action Alerts, we need constituents in every congressional district ready to act on a moment’s notice to make phone calls, attend town halls, and to schedule in-person meetings with members of Congress. Email sarah@secular.org to join a Rapid Response Team in your state.  

  2. Get involved with your political party.
    The Secular Coalition for America is calling on secular Americans from every political party to elevate secular values and bring visibility to nonreligious voters. We want to work with party activists and leaders like you to create a Secular Caucus in your state, draft and distribute secular planks at your local and state conventions, facilitate engagement between party leadership and nonreligious party members, and much more. Email sarah@secular.org to get involved in forming a secular caucus in your state’s political party.  

  3. Sustain our mission by becoming a monthly donor.
    By attending the Women’s March, we helped send a message loud and clear to the incoming Trump Administration but real political change will always take more than one day. Help us build on this momentum by becoming a monthly donor. For just $5 per month, your support helps ensure that we can fight back against the religious right year round and at a moment’s notice. We depend on support from individuals like you, and it is more important than ever that we ensure a sustainable future for the secular movement. Become a monthly donor here.

May 6, 2016 - 5:54 pm

States of the States

Victory in Tennessee reminds us that religious exemptions continue to endanger children throughout the U.S. 

Victory for child victims of faith healing in Tennessee
The Secular Coalition for Tennessee celebrated major victory last week when Governor Haslam signed Senate Bill 1761 into law, striking the religious exemption for medical neglect from the state’s criminal statutes. No longer will parents be allowed to endanger their children or let them die by refusing to provide them medical care due to their religious beliefs.

Members of the Secular Coalition for Tennessee sent letters and made phone calls to the governor’s office urging him to sign the legislation. Thanks to our work and the leadership of Child Healthcare is a Legal Duty (CHILD), religion is no longer an excuse to neglect children in Tennessee.

Unfortunately, there is still much work to be done. Forty-three states still have these laws on the books. The next state on our list to tackle is Idaho, which is notorious for the number of child deaths to due to medical neglect by parents who believe in faith healing.

There was a panel discussion on the topic at the state capital recently featuring Mariah Walton, who is suing her parents for denying her health care as a child, as this has left her unnecessarily disabled and unable to survive without intensive daily care. Had she been treated properly as a young child, her mobility and health would be significantly better than it is today. As tragic as her story is, it is important remember that Mariah is a survivor. Many children who fall victims to religiously based child neglect die as a result.

If you live in Idaho and would like to help protect children in your state from faith healing, contact idaho@secular.org for more information.

Children are still at risk in religiously-affiliated child care centers
A little known fact is that 26 states allow religiously-affiliated child care centers to operate without a license, creating a dangerous, unregulated environment for children where facilities may be unsafe and staff may not be properly trained or required to undergo a background check.

Virginia has a particularly horrifying history of child deaths due to this religious exemption, which is why the Secular Coalition for Virginia has chosen this issue as a top legislative priority for the 2017 legislative session. If you’re a constituent in Virginia and would like to get advocate on this issue, contact virginia@secular.org.

At the Secular Coalition for America, we are calling on lawmakers to stop allowing religious privilege to endanger the health and safety of children. We need your help. Support our worksign up for Action Alerts, and if you’d like to take action in your state, contact states@secular.org.

Take Action
At the Secular Coalition for America, we are calling on lawmakers to stop allowing religious privilege to endanger the health and safety of children. We need your help. Support our work, sign up for Action Alerts, and if you’d like to take action in your state, contact states@secular.org.

 

April 22, 2016 - 10:00 am

States of the States

Spotlight on Religious Exemptions for Child Abuse and Neglect
It’s hard to imagine any exception to laws that protect children from child abuse and neglect and hold parents accountable for putting their children in harm’s way. Yet 32 states have such an exception on the books.

The story of Mariah Walton has captured national headlines recently, highlighting the tragic impact these laws can have. Mariah had a condition at birth that, had it been treated by a doctor, would have given her a chance for a healthy life, rather than becoming disabled and unable to survive without intensive care.

According to Child Healthcare is a Legal Duty (CHILD), most states offer some level of protections for withholding medical care from children, but Idaho is one of nine states where parents are still protected if their children die as a result. Idaho has become notorious for child deaths as as a result of faith healing, as it has a sizable community of a Christian sect called Followers of Christ that rejects medical care.

If you’re a secular or allied constituent in Idaho and want to help us fight to protect children from faith healing, contact states@secular.org.


Tennessee lawmakers oppose faith healing, but okay with refusing mental health care to children for any religious reason
The Secular Coalition for Tennessee has been monitoring and sending letters of support to Senate Bill 1761 and its companion bill in the House, which would repeal Tennessee’s religious exemption for child abuse and neglect. On Thursday, April 21, the chapter issued another Action Alert thanking legislators who supported the bill and urging Governor Haslam to sign it into law.

While this legislation is certainly a step forward for protecting children in the state, the Secular Coalition for Tennessee has also been fighting legislation that would allow religious therapists and counselors to refuse their services to anyone, including children, for any religious reason.

While the legislation has been amended to include a clause that makes an exception for those who are a threat to themselves or others, if this legislation becomes law, a child who identities as an atheist, as LGBT, or who could be turned away by a therapist who objects to their identity on a religious basis.

Knowing full well that this bill flies in the face of the the American Counseling Association’s Code of Ethics, Tennessee’s lawmakers added an amendment to the bill that basically says those standards don’t apply and can’t be used as a basis for reprimanding therapists who refuse to do their jobs.

It’s important for Tennessee’s citizens to know that their lawmakers struck down several amendments to the bill that would have made this bill less harmful by adding important protections for children. This included:

  1. An amendment that would have prohibited religious counselors from turning away children (18 years or younger) who are victims of bullying;

  2. An amendment that would have required discriminating therapists to post signage in their workspace and include language in their marketing materials that make it clear who they do and do not serve;

  3. An amendment that would have prohibited a discriminating therapist to turn someone away and still charge them for services and

By striking down these amendments, Tennessee lawmakers are demonstrating a disturbing disregard for child health and safety, and an all-too-eager desire to give health care providers the easiest possible path to discriminate with impunity.

 

Take Action
At the Secular Coalition for America, we are calling on lawmakers to stop allowing religious privilege to endanger the health and safety of children. We need your help. Support our work, sign up for Action Alerts, and if you’d like to take action in your state, contact states@secular.org.

 

April 8, 2016 - 2:29 pm

States of the States

Mississippi wins Bad Bill Madness bracket
The very same day Mississippi’s “God’s Army” bill was declared the worst state bill in America in our Bad Bill Madness bracket, it was passed by the state Senate. In response, we issued an Action Alert calling our supporters in Mississippi to urge Governor Bryant to veto the bill when it comes to his desk. It has still not been sent to the Governor, so if you’re a Mississippi constituent, pick up the phone today and call 601-359-3150 to tell your Governor to veto the bill!

Mississippi’s governor also signed into law a “religious freedom” bill allowing businesses and nonprofits to discriminate against LGBT people. In response, New York Governor Cuomo has banned non-essential, state-sponsored travel to Mississippi in response, saying “In New York, we believe that all people – regardless of their gender identity or sexual orientation – deserve the same rights and protections under the law.”

 

Tennessee takes one step forward, two steps back
Where to start with Tennessee? There are three bills we’re working on, one we support and two we oppose.

1) Let’s start with the good news. The Secular Coalition for Tennessee is advocating for a bill that would repeal Tennessee’s religious exemption for medical neglect. It's been passed by the Senate and is pending a vote in the House, which already passed the original version of the bill before the Senate added amendments. After holding a workshop on political advocacy at the Nashville Nones conference, the chapter hand-delivered constituent letters at the state capitol in support of the bill.

2) The state’s legislature wants to make the Bible the official state book, alongside other precious state symbols, like the state amphibian, the Cave Salamander. After passing both houses, secular constituents sent over 100 letters to Governor Haslam urging him to veto the bill, thanks to the chapter’s Action Alert. Our press release on this bill helped bring attention to the issue and the Secular Coalition was also invited to speak on the issue on Chattanooga's TalkMonster, WGOW.

3) We also issued an Action Alert today in opposition to House Bill 1840, which would allow therapists to turn away and refuse treatment, even to children, for any reason rooted in a “sincerely held religious belief.”

 

A victory for true religious freedom in Georgia
Secular Coalition for Georgia, after sending dozens of letters to Governor Deal urging him to veto a sweeping, “religious freedom” bill that would amount to state-sanctioned discrimination, was thrilled to see the governor do the right thing. The chapter sent the governor a thank you letter commending him for standing up for true religious freedom.

 

Other happenings in the states
Secular Coalition for New York is advocating for the End of Life Options Act and two companions bills that would repeal New York’s nonmedical vaccine exemptions. After Governor Cuomo proposed $419 million for vouchers, SCNY issued an Action Alert telling New York lawmakers to oppose any measures that would give taxpayer money to private and religious schools, which are not required to.

Our chapters are also fighting voucher bills in Maryland, New Jersey, and Washington, D.C.

 

Support the State Chapters!

1) Sign up for Action Alerts

2) Become a member of the Secular Coalition

3) Volunteer: Contact states@secular.org to find out more

 

 

March 11, 2016 - 12:13 pm

 


State of the States: January 8

Our State of the States update has moved to our Monthly Wrap-Up, be sure to subscribe here. As always, follow and get involved with your state chapter here

State of the States

State Campaigns

Put Kids First
Our campaign states are out educating the community about nonmedical vaccine exemptions. 

Please help us spread the word about #PutKidsFirst on Twitter and “Like” the Put Kids First Facebook page here!

 

Media Coverage 
Communications Assistant, Casey Brescia, speaks about the Texas chapter's secular resolution initative on Dogma Debate at 16:15 here.

 

State Legislative Update

Action Alerts 
If you are registered to vote in one of these states, please take action! Not signed up for Action Alerts? Make an impact in your state signing up today

Maryland
Action Alert! A new Senate bill, SB 267, has been introduced that would mandate that public schools grant students a right to pray at all public school sponsored events. Public school students discuss many topics of their choice and have the right to vocally pray if they want to during their free time, such as during lunch. During school sponsored events, however, students can be required to refrain from behaviors that interfere with other students’ focus  

New Jersey
Action Alert! The Opportunity Scholarship Act, S 340, has been introduced and referred to the Senate Education Committee for consideration. This legislation would effectively divert funds from public schools to private, sectarian religious schools through a pilot program that would create tax credits for individuals donating to voucher programs. This is a blatant violation of the constitutional separation between church and state. 

New York
Action Alert! The science is clear: vaccines are safe and effective. New York has introduced two vaccine bills, S 6017 and A08329, which would make all New Yorker's safer by removing the state's religious exemption for vaccines. Urge your representatives in the Senate and the Assembly to support S 6017 and A 8329.

Action Alert! Tell the Senate Health Committee to support the New York End of Life Options Act. The New York End of Life Options Act (S 3685) would allow terminally ill, mentally-competent adults to choose the time and manner of their own death by requesting life-ending medication from their physician. The fiercest opponent of initiatives to legalize the right to die has been the Catholic Church, which has spent millions to spread misinformation and fear surrounding this issue. The bill is currently sitting in the Senate Health Committee.

Missouri
Action Alert!
No one with a terminal illness should be forced to endure extended suffering due to government interference, a politician’s ideology, or a religious leader’s dogma. The Missouri Death with Dignity Act, HB 1919, would empower terminally ill individuals to end their lives on their own terms, if and when they choose to.

Tennessee
Action Alert!
Did you know that in Tennessee, parents can legally deny their children life-saving medical care if doing so in accordance with their religious beliefs, even if the child is seriously injured or dies as a result? Senate Bill 1761 would change that. 

 

On the Calendar

March 14 - Pi Day

March 14 - Anniversary of County of Allegheny vs. Greater Pittsburgh (1989)

March 15 - Hypatia Day

 

 

March 4, 2016 - 11:00 am


State of the States: January 8

State of the States


Campaigns

Put Kids First
Our campaign states are out educating the community about nonmedical vaccine exemptions. 

Please help us spread the word about #PutKidsFirst on Twitter and “Like” the Put Kids First Facebook page here!

State Media Coverage
Ross Llewallyn, Communications Chair of the Secular Coalition for Georgua, reflects on Governor Deal's hypocritical rejection of his Darwin Day Proclamation request. Check out his blog post here 
 

State Legislative Update

Action Alerts 
If you are registered to vote in one of these states, please take action! Not signed up for Action Alerts? Make an impact in your state signing up today

Georgia
Action Alert! The Georgia legislature has combined the Pastor Protection Act and the First Amendment Defense Act (formerly HB 284) into one bill in an unprecedented, dangerous attack on religious freedom. This bill, HB 757, would allow individuals, businesses, nonprofits, or taxpayer-funded organizations to deny service for any religiously-motivated reason, effectively legalizing discrimination. Tell the Senate that true religious freedom means that no citizen is forced to abide by the religious beliefs of others. 

Iowa
Three Secular Coalition for Iowa volunteers showed their support for the Iowa Death with Dignity Act by attending a hearing on the bill in Des Moines on Thursday afternoon.

Maryland
Action Alert! A new Senate bill, SB 267, has been introduced that would mandate that public schools grant students a right to pray at all public school sponsored events. Public school students discuss many topics of their choice and have the right to vocally pray if they want to during their free time, such as during lunch. During school sponsored events, however, students can be required to refrain from behaviors that interfere with other students’ focus

Missouri
Action Alert!
No one with a terminal illness should be forced to endure extended suffering due to government interference, a politician’s ideology, or a religious leader’s dogma. The Missouri Death with Dignity Act, HB 1919, would empower terminally ill individuals to end their lives on their own terms, if and when they choose to.New Jersey

Action Alert! The Opportunity Scholarship Act, S 340, has been introduced and referred to the Senate Education Committee for consideration. This legislation would effectively divert funds from public schools to private, sectarian religious schools through a pilot program that would create tax credits for individuals donating to voucher programs. This is a blatant violation of the constitutional separation between church and state. 

New York
Action Alert! The science is clear: vaccines are safe and effective. New York has introduced two vaccine bills, S 6017 and A08329, which would make all New Yorker's safer by removing the state's religious exemption for vaccines. Urge your representatives in the Senate and the Assembly to support S 6017 and A 8329.

Action Alert!
Tell the Senate Health Committee to support the New York End of Life Options Act. The New York End of Life Options Act (S 3685) would allow terminally ill, mentally-competent adults to choose the time and manner of their own death by requesting life-ending medication from their physician. The fiercest opponent of initiatives to legalize the right to die has been the Catholic Church, which has spent millions to spread misinformation and fear surrounding this issue. The bill is currently sitting in the Senate Health Committee.

 

On the Calendar

March 1 - Future Day

March 1 - Women's History Month

March 6 - Periodic Table Day

March 8 - International Women's Day

March 8 - Anniversary of McCollum v. Board of Education Dist. 71 (1948)

March 10 - National Women and Girls HIV/AIDS Awareness Day

 

Upcoming State Calls

Secular Coalition for Connecticut: Tuesday, March 8 (5 pm EST)

Secular Coalition for North Carolina: Tuesday, March 8 (6 pm EST)

Secular Coalition for Maryland:  Wednesday, March 9 (5:30 pm EST)

Secular Coalition for Pennsylvania: Wednesday, March 9 (6:30 pm EST)

Secular Coalition for Michigan: Thursday, March 10 (5 pm EST)

Secular Coalition for Texas: Thursday, March 10 (5 pm CST / 6 pm EST)

 

 

February 26, 2016 - 1:06 pm


State of the States: January 8

State of the States

State Campaigns

Put Kids First
Our campaign states are out educating the community about nonmedical vaccine exemptions. 

Please help us spread the word about #PutKidsFirst on Twitter and “Like” the Put Kids First Facebook page here!

 

State Legislative Update

Action Alerts 
If you are registered to vote in one of these states, please take action! Not signed up for Action Alerts? Make an impact in your state signing up today

Maryland
Action Alert!
A new Senate bill, SB 267, has been introduced that would mandate that public schools grant students a right to pray at all public school sponsored events. Public school students discuss many topics of their choice and have the right to vocally pray if they want to during their free time, such as during lunch. During school sponsored events, however, students can be required to refrain from behaviors that interfere with other students’ focus

Georgia
Action Alert!
 Stop Georgia from legalizing religiously based discrimination. The misnamed “First Amendment Defense Act of Georgia” (SB 284) would legalize discrimination under the guise of religious freedom while denying victims of religiously-based discrimination a legal recourse for justice. If this bill passes, any individual, corporation, public or private organization of any kind could discriminate against same-sex couples, unmarried mothers, and their children by citing a "sincerely held belief" in the "union of one man and one woman or that sexual relations are properly reserved to such marriage."  

Florida
Action Alert! House Bill 1411 and its Senate companion SB 1722, prohibit state agencies, local governmental entities, and Medicaid-managed care plans from making payments to any clinic that provides abortion, even for non-abortion related services. Both have been passed out of committee and HB 1411 is scheduled for a vote. Tell your representatives to oppose this assault on access to reproductive health care.
 

New Jersey
Action Alert! The Opportunity Scholarship Act, S 340, has been introduced and referred to the Senate Education Committee for consideration. This legislation would effectively divert funds from public schools to private, sectarian religious schools through a pilot program that would create tax credits for individuals donating to voucher programs. This is a blatant violation of the constitutional separation between church and state.
 

New York
Action Alert! 
The science is clear: vaccines are safe and effective. New York has introduced two vaccine bills, S 6017 and A08329, which would make all New Yorker's safer by removing the state's religious exemption for vaccines. Urge your representatives in the Senate and the Assembly to support S 6017 and A 8329.

Action Alert! Tell the Senate Health Committee to support the New York End of Life Options Act. The New York End of Life Options Act (S 3685) would allow terminally ill, mentally-competent adults to choose the time and manner of their own death by requesting life-ending medication from their physician. The fiercest opponent of initiatives to legalize the right to die has been the Catholic Church, which has spent millions to spread misinformation and fear surrounding this issue. The bill is currently sitting in the Senate Health Committee.

 

On the Calendar

March 1 - Future Day

March 1 - Women's History month

 

Upcoming State Calls

Secular Coalition for Ohio: Monday, February 29 (5:30 pm EST)

Secular Coalition for Tennessee: Monday, February 29 (6:30 pm CST / 7:30 pm EST)

Secular Coalition for Iowa: Tuesday, March 1 (6:30 CST / 7:30 pm EST)

Secular Coalition for Georgia: Wednesday, March 2 (5:30 EST)

Secular Coalition for Missouri: Wednesday, March 2 (6 CST / 7 EST)

 

 

 


February 19, 2016 - 11:51 am


State of the States: January 8

State of the States

 

State Campaigns

Put Kids First
Our campaign states are out educating the community about nonmedical vaccine exemptions. 

Please help us spread the word about #PutKidsFirst on Twitter and “Like” the Put Kids First Facebook page here!

 

State Legislative Update

Action Alerts 
If you are registered to vote in one of these states, please take action! Not signed up for Action Alerts? Make an impact in your state signing up today

Georgia
Action Alert! Stop Georgia from legalizing religiously based discrimination. The misnamed “First Amendment Defense Act of Georgia” (SB 284) would legalize discrimination under the guise of religious freedom while denying victims of religiously-based discrimination a legal recourse for justice. If this bill passes, any individual, corporation, public or private organization of any kind could discriminate against same-sex couples, unmarried mothers, and their children by citing a "sincerely held belief" in the "union of one man and one woman or that sexual relations are properly reserved to such marriage."

  

Florida
Action Alert! House Bill 1411 and its Senate companion SB 1722, prohibit state agencies, local governmental entities, and Medicaid-managed care plans from making payments to any clinic that provides abortion, even for non-abortion related services. Both have been passed out of committee and HB 1411 is scheduled for a vote. Tell your representatives to oppose this assault on access to reproductive health care. 

 

New Jersey
Action Alert! The Opportunity Scholarship Act, S 340, has been introduced and referred to the Senate Education Committee for consideration. This legislation would effectively divert funds from public schools to private, sectarian religious schools through a pilot program that would create tax credits for individuals donating to voucher programs. This is a blatant violation of the constitutional separation between church and state.

 

New York
Action Alert! The science is clear: vaccines are safe and effective. New York has introduced two vaccine bills, S 6017 and A08329, which would make all New Yorker's safer by removing the state's religious exemption for vaccines. Urge your representatives in the Senate and the Assembly to support S 6017 and A 8329.

Action Alert! Tell the Senate Health Committee to support the New York End of Life Options Act. (Note: only constituents of the committee members will be able to send a message) 

The New York End of Life Options Act (S 3685) would allow terminally ill, mentally-competent adults to choose the time and manner of their own death by requesting life-ending medication from their physician. The fiercest opponent of initiatives to legalize the right to die has been the Catholic Church, which has spent millions to spread misinformation and fear surrounding this issue. The bill is currently sitting in the Senate Health Committee.

 

On the Calendar

February 21: Texas Monthly, Inc. v. Bullock (1989)

February 22: Word Thinking Day

February 26: Introduce a Girl to Engineering Day

 

Upcoming State Calls

Secular Coalition for Maine: Friday, February 19 (5:30 pm EST)

Secular Coalition for Illinois: Monday, Feburary 22 (5:30 pm CST / 6:30 pm EST)

Secular Coalition for New Jersey: Thursday, February 25 (5:30 pm EST)

 

 


February 12, 2016 - 4:14 pm


State of the States: January 8
States of the States
 – Your weekly digest on the secular movement in the states. 

State Campaigns

Put Kids First
Our campaign states are out educating the commmuniy about nonmedical vaccine exemptions. Please help us spread the word about #PutKidsFirst on Twitter and “Like” the Put Kids First Facebook page here!

State Media Coverage

Darwin day
Happy Darwin Day! The Secular Coalition sent out a press release yesterday commending lawmakers who put science above politics, while expressing disappointment in the Governors in Connecticut, Georgia, and Michigan, where our state chapters' requests for Darwin Day Proclamation were denied. 

There are two Resolutions reocgnizing Darwin Day in the House and Senate. Both recognize Charles Darwin's contributions to science, affirm the importance of the theory of evolution, and condemn the teaching of creationism in public schools! Please take a moment to stand up for science education! Take action, share, and spread the word!

 

State Legislative Update

Action Alerts 
If you are registered to vote in one of these states, please take action! Not signed up for Action Alerts? Make an impact in your state by signing up today

 

Georgia
Action Alert! Stop Georgia from legalizing religiously based discrimination

The misnamed “First Amendment Defense Act of Georgia” (SB 284) would legalize discrimination under the guise of religious freedom while denying victims of religiously-based discrimination a legal recourse for justice.

If this bill passes, any individual, corporation, public or private organization of any kind could discriminate against same-sex couples, unmarried mothers, and their children by citing a "sincerely held belief" in the "union one man and one woman or that sexual relations are properly reserved to such marriage." Take action today

 

Florida
Action Alert! Urge your legislators to oppose religiously-based discrimination 
Action Alert! Fight back attacks on reproductive healthcare
Action Alert! Support the ban of practicing "conversion therapy" on LGBT youth

Florida House Bill 401 would allow any person, hospital, physician, nurse, pharmacist, for-profit company, business, organization, day care center, or privately held adoption agency to refuse to provide products or services based on religious belief, protecting them from legal liability for discriminating. Instead of promoting religious freedom, this bill legalizes religiously based discrimination and denies victims of discrimination a path to justice. Take action.

Reproductive health care is under attack in Florida. Several extreme anti-choice bills have been introduced, including HB 865, the Florida Right to Life Act, which includes references to a "Creator" and language urging the Supreme Court to overturn Roe v. Wade. This bill was recently voted favorably out of the House Criminal Justice Subcommittee and is now being considered by the House Justice Subcommittee. Take action on these extreme bills now

SCFL supports two new bills, including SB 258, which would ban conversion therapy, and HB 4019, which strikes language from Florida's existing laws defining marriage as a union excuslusively between a man and a woman. 

 

New York
Action Alert! Tell the Senate Health Committee to support the New York End of Life Options Act. 

The New York End of Life Options Act (S 3685) would allow terminally ill, mentally-competent adults to choose the time and manner of their own death by requesting life-ending medication from their physician. The fiercest opponent of initiatives to legalize the right to die has been the Catholic Church, which has spent millions to spread misinformation and fear surrounding this issue. The bill is currently sitting in the Senate Health Committee.

 

Other legislation worth noting

Virginia
Governor Terry McAuliffe issued a historic Darwin Day Proclamation in Virginia! Special thanks to chapter volunteer, Susan Quilty, for submitting the proclamation request to the Governor's office. 

SB41 is an unnecessary bill reaffirming no one can force clergy to solemnize a marriage. Clergy already have such protections, making this bill an affirmation of Virginia's support for discrimination. This bill has passed committee.

HB43 repeals the requirement that a women undergo an ultrasound prior to an abortion procedure; this bill has not yet been schedule for a vote in the House.

HB5 repeals the bans on same sex marriage and same sex civil union in Virginia; this bill has passed committee.

HR 19 is an attack on reproductive rights claiming that a human life "commences at conception" and that Roe v Wade is based on false science. It has been assigned to the House Subcommittee on Constitutional Law. 

Florida
HB43 is like SB41 in Virginia an unnecessary bill reaffirming no one can force a clerk into sacralizing a marriage. This is already implemented and this bill reaffirms the will of discrimination by the state of Virginia. This bill has currently passed committee.

On the Calendar

February 15 - Susan B. Anthony Day

February 15 - Presidents' Day

February 17 - Giordano Bruno Executed

February 20 - World Day of Social Justice

 

Upcoming State Calls

Secular Coalition for Utah: Monday, Feburary 15 (10 am MST / 12 pm EST)

Secular Coalition for Illinois: Monday, February 15 (5:30 pm CST / 6:30 pm EST)

Secular Coalition for Florida: Wednesday, February 17 (6:30 pm EST)

Secular Coalition for Rhode Island: Wednesday, Ferbuary 17 (7:30 pm ET)

Secular Coalition for Maine  Friday, February 19 (5 pm ET)


February 5, 2016 - 11:00 am


State of the States: January 8
States of the States
 – Your weekly digest on the secular movement in the states. 

State Campaigns

Iowa Caucuses
Thirty-four secular voters submitted planks on behalf of the Secular Coalition for Iowa in precincts in 21 different counties, meaning that planks were submitted in over 20% of all Iowa counties on caucus night, including in the most populous county of Polk, which includes the cities of Ankeny, Des Moines and Urbandle. See the planks that were submitted here

Put Kids First
Our campaign states are out educating the commmuniy about nonmedical vaccine exemptions. So far, chapter leaders have given 17 preswnt

Please help us spread the word about #PutKidsFirst on Twitter and “Like” the Put Kids First Facebook page here!


State Media Coverage

Once again making headlines, Communications Chair of the Secular Coalition for Iowa, Justin Scott, got his letter to the editor, "Secular Government Nonpartisan Issue," published in the Des Moines Register on the day of Iowa's primary. He was also interviewed by the Washington Post and another article featured him here, both discussing how got presidential candidates on the record about atheist voters and separation of church and state. 

State Legislative Update

Action Alerts 
If you are registered to vote in one of these states, please take action! Not signed up for Action Alerts? Make an impact in your state by signing up today

Georgia
Action Alert! Stop Georgia from legalizing religiously based discrimination

The misnamed “First Amendment Defense Act of Georgia” (SB 284) would legalize discrimination under the guise of religious freedom while denying victims of religiously-based discrimination a legal recourse for justice.

If this bill passes, any individual, corporation, public or private organization of any kind could discriminate against same-sex couples, unmarried mothers, and their children by citing a "sincerely held belief" in the "union one man and one woman or that sexual relations are properly reserved to such marriage." Take action today

Florida
Action Alert! Urge your legislators to oppose religiously-based discrimination 
Action Alert! Fight back attacks on reproductive healthcare
Action Alert! Support the ban of practicing "conversion therapy" on LGBT youth

Florida House Bill 401 would allow any person, hospital, physician, nurse, pharmacist, for-profit company, business, organization, day care center, or privately held adoption agency to refuse to provide products or services based on religious belief, protecting them from legal liability for discriminating. Instead of promoting religious freedom, this bill legalizes religiously based discrimination and denies victims of discrimination a path to justice. Take action.

Reproductive health care is under attack in Florida. Several extreme anti-choice bills have been introduced, including HB 865, the Florida Right to Life Act, which includes references to a "Creator" and language urging the Supreme Court to overturn Roe v. Wade. This bill was recently voted favorably out of the House Criminal Justice Subcommittee and is now being considered by the House Justice Subcommittee. Take action on these extreme bills now

SCFL supports two new bills, including SB 258, which would ban conversion therapy, and HB 4019, which strikes language from Florida's existing laws defining marriage as a union excuslusively between a man and a woman. 

 

New York
Action Alert! Tell the Senate Health Committee to support the New York End of Life Options Act. (Note: only constituents of the committee members will be able to send a message) 

The New York End of Life Options Act (S 3685) would allow terminally ill, mentally-competent adults to choose the time and manner of their own death by requesting life-ending medication from their physician. The fiercest opponent of initiatives to legalize the right to die has been the Catholic Church, which has spent millions to spread misinformation and fear surrounding this issue. The bill is currently sitting in the Senate Health Committee.

 

On the Calendar 

February 10 - Anniversary of Everson v. Board of Education (1947)

February 12 - Darwin Day

February 12 - Sexual and Reproductive Health Awareness Day

 

 

Upcoming State Calls

Secular Coalition for Ohio: Monday, February 8, (5:30 pm EST)

Secular Coalition for Connecticut: Tuesday, February 9, (5 pm EST)

Secular Coalition for Maryland: Wednesday, February 10 (5:30 pm EST)

Secular Coalition for Michigan: Thursday, February 11 (5 pm EST)

Secular Coalition for Texas: Thursday, February 11 (5 pm CST / 6 pm EST)

 

The Secular District Featured blog posts from members of the coalition.