Congress OKs Funding to Rebuild Churches


Secular Coalition for America          February 15, 2013

House OKs Funding to Rebuild Churches

Melissa Brandes /     
Congress passed a bill to allow tax dollars to go directly to houses of worship to rebuild after disasters--a major breach of church/state separation.

On Wednesday, the House quietly passed HR 592, a serious threat to the separation of religion and government. The bill aims to amend the Disaster Relief Act to permanently allow federal grant money to go directly to rebuild churches and other houses of worship after disasters. Nearly 2,500 of you sent letters to your Representatives urging them to vote "no" on this bill--and according to our sources, at least 12 members changed their votes from "yay" to "nay" just before the vote. It wasn't enough to change the outcome, but we are making an impact. We will continue to track the bill in the Senate do what we can to make sure it dies there. See how your Representative voted here

This week the Secular Coalition met with top executives at the Republican National Committee to discuss what the Party can do to better serve the needs of secular Americans. The meeting was part of the RNC's Growth & Opportunity Project. We also had a productive meeting with the White House Office of Public Engagement who agreed to work with us and secure Administration staff to join all four of our Secular Summit panels--announcements on those confirmed speakers to come soon.

We've confirmed another speaker for our Secular Summit: Brad Jacklin of the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force, who will participate in our Discrimination panel. Today is the final day to secure the early bird registration rate for the event. Register tooday for $50--fees increase to $75 tomorrow!  To learn more about the Summit & Lobby Day, view our detailed agenda or to register, visit our Summit & Lobby Day page here.

View a web versions of this and past newsletters, as well as weekly movement
call agendas

Above image courtesy of

Movement Wrap Up
The Clergy Project announced the addition of the Employment Transitional Assistance Grant, to help formerly-religious clergy find secular employment, thanks to a generous grant from the Stiefel Freethought Foundation. After originally being denied, the Secular Humanists of the Lowcountry won their battle to run a community booth at the Flowertown Festival in South Carolina. It's coming: The BLACKOUT! On July 27, in Queens, NY, will be the first outdoor Rally/Celebration that will predominantly feature nontheists of color. More details on the BLACKOUT to come soon! Finally, registration for the Secular Student Alliance conferences in Las Vegas and Columbus opened on Monday this week. Get more information and register here. Foundation Beyond Belief is raising money for the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society and encouraging everyone to  take part in their Light The Night Walks and help raise money through the Foundation Beyond Belief team.

Cartoon by Vinney Cavallo, for the Secular Coalition for America. 


Judges Split Over Birth Control Coverage and Religious Liberty

 Image courtesy of Shutterstock

Judges across the country are increasingly split over whether private employers and their companies can cite their religious beliefs as a valid reason for denying birth control coverage to their employees.SCA is quoted in this article.
Read more
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The Secular Coalition for America is the national lobby for atheists, humanists, freethinkers, and other nontheistic Americans. From our office in the nation's capital, our lobbyists and support staff engage public policy makers and the media on issues ranging from religion's influence on education and medical research to the privileging of faith groups by government. We are the first and only cooperative venture of freethought organizations coming together to improve the cultural and political situation of a previously unrepresented constituency: the tens of millions of atheists and agnostics in the United States. The Secular Coalition for America is a 501(c)(4) nonprofit organization.

Please consider joining or donating to one of our national member organizations: 
American Atheists
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Institute for Humanist Studies
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Secular Student Alliance
Society for Humanistic Judaism


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