Former Marine Recounts Participation in SCA Summit

The Secular Coalition for America's Strategic Summit in Washington D.C. last weekend was indicative of the growing voice of secular Americans, and I am proud to be able to say that I participated.

SCA's current lobbying efforts are largely defensive in nature, combating the Religious Right's efforts to "Christianize" the United States. They have a long, arduous battle ahead of them and they need our assistance and support.

Among those present for the Summit were some of the more notable representatives of the secular movement to include David Silverman of American Atheists, Sean Faircloth and Herb Silverman of SCA, guest speaker Susan Jacoby, openly atheist Congressional candidate Cecil Bothwell, David Niose of the American Humanist Association and numerous others.

For the second day of the summit, SCA Government Relations Manager Amanda Knief arranged for a lobbying day in which more than 70 summit participants lobbied their Congressional representatives in the House and Senate. In total, SCA supporters lobbied the staffs of 24 U.S. Senators and 25 members of the House of Representatives. I personally lobbied the offices of Rep. Jim Moran (D-VA) and Senator Jim Webb (D). We discussed three issues: the need to ensure that medical patients are not denied certain treatments because of religious bias, the campaign to create humanist chaplains for nonreligious service members, and what it is generally like to live as a nontheist in America. This was a new experience for me. To be able to lobby Congress on behalf of millions of secular Americans is something that makes me proud, and I have SCA and the efforts of Amanda Knief to thank for allowing me that opportunity.

SCA Executive Director Sean Faircloth gave an inspiring speech on Friday night outlining SCA's Secular Decade plan, and I highly recommend and encourage you take a look at it. Part of the plan he discussed is to create state affiliates in all 50 states before the year 2020. I think this is a manageable goal, as long as SCA continues to receive support and secular Americans are motivated to participate. I suggest that any one reading this blog help support SCA's cause by also becoming a member of one of SCA's 10 member organizations.

You can read more of A.D. Ellis' work here.

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