Ignoring Rapture Forecasts, Secular Coalition Plans First-Ever Capitol Hill Strategy Summit
WASHINGTON, D.C. – On the same weekend that followers of a Christian fundamentalist broadcaster believe the world will come to an end, more than 100 nontheistic activists and professionals will meet on Capitol Hill for the first-ever Biennial Strategic Summit held by the Secular Coalition for America, the leading national lobby for nontheistic and secular Americans.
The three-day summit, to be held May 19 to 21 at the Hyatt Regency on Capitol Hill, will bring together leaders of America’s growing secular movement to devise and collaborate on strategies for advancing public policies that promote reason, science, the separation of church and state, and other secular values. While swarms of Christian fundamentalists await the Rapture, attendees at the Secular Coalition summit will lobby their representatives in Congress and participate in panel discussions with the goal of strengthening America’s secular government, as was intended by our Founders, and making it easier for nonreligious Americans to be elected to public office.
“Faith-based groups for 2,000 years have been preparing for the end times, while reality-based groups such as the Secular Coalition and our allies have been hard at work to improve present times and plan for our nation’s future,” said Herb Silverman, president and founder of the Secular Coalition for America.
Speakers invited to address the gathering include Susan Jacoby, author of “Freethinkers: A History of American Secularism;” Sally Quinn, moderator of the washingtonpost.com’s “On Faith” blog; comedian, actor, and filmmaker Paul Provenza; writer and poet Jennifer Michael Hecht, author of “Doubt: A History;” David Silverman, president of American Atheists, and David Niose, president of the American Humanist Association.
“Our nation’s public policies should in no way be shaped by theocratic dogma or religious privileging in law,” said Sean Faircloth, executive director of the Secular Coalition for America, which in 2010 became the first organization representing nontheists to engage in a formal briefing with White House officials. “Sadly, rational secular voices are too often silenced in our current political climate by the growing number of pundits and office seekers who routinely condemn the separation of church and state.
“By organizing in our nation’s capital, we plan to re-energize America’s growing secular movement, and bring increased attention to the Secular Coalition’s campaign to re-commit America to the secular government envisioned by its Founders,” Faircloth said. “More and more Americans reject the theocratic political agenda that opposes gay marriage, blocks stem-cell research, and injects religious bias in our armed services. Secular Americans can no longer watch from the sidelines. We must speak up, increase our political muscle, and claim an equal seat at the table of American politics.”
The Secular Coalition for America is a 501(c)4 organization that serves as the national lobby for secular Americans in our nation’s capital. Secular Americans include atheists, agnostics, humanists, freethinkers, and other nontheistic Americans. Composed of 10 diverse member organizations, SCA works to protect and strengthen the secular character of our government as the best guarantee of freedom for all. For more information, please visit www.secular.org.
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