Secular Coalition Continues to Work the Hill, Plan Tax Summit

Secular Coalition for America          December 7, 2012

SCA Continues to Work the Hill, Plan Tax Summit 

Edwina InterviewLast week, the Secular Coalition joined with other members of the Coalition Against Religious Discrimination in submitting comments to the Department of Housing and Urban Development. The comments were in response to HUD proposed regulations to implement the President’s Advisory Council recommendations for the department's Faith-based and Neighborhood Partnerships program. We met with three offices this week, Reps. Chellie Pingree (D-ME), Suzanne Bonamici (D-OR) and Judy Chu (D-CA) to introduce them to the Secular Coalition and our issues. We will have the opportunity meet President Obama at an upcoming event next week and are working diligently to confirm meetings with Senate offices before the holidays. We have already scheduled meetings with Sen. Roberts (R-KS) for next week and Sen. Crapo (R-ID) the week after. Finally, this week the Secular Coalition welcomed two new Endorsing Organizations, the Grand Traverse Humanists and the Minority Atheists of Michigan. 

Secular Coalition Executive Director, Edwina Rogers got a chance to sit down with Jacques Berlinerblau on his online show "Faith Complex", scheduled to air in December. The Georgetown professor recently wrote a book, "How to Be Secular: A Call to Arms for Religious Freedom." 

Don't forget: On Wednesday (December 12), Secular Coalition will host a national tax summit, via conference call to discuss our tax policy approach in advance of tax reform being addressed in the new Congress. Further information can be found here


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

Same sex marraigeAnd now for the weekly wrap-up...
Americans who oppose same-sex marriage are most likely to cite religion or the Bible as the reason, according to Gallup. Those opposed cite the Bible (47 percent), marriage as between a man and a woman (20 percent), and morality (16 percent) as their top reasons. Blasphemy laws are on their way out in the Netherlands, and Ireland may soon follow. Republican Fla. Sen. Marco Rubio has continued to make news by offering up one Bible-infused comment after another. Earlier this week he said homosexuality is a sin, and despite his claims of being nonjudgmental, he said, "As a policy maker, I can just tell you I'm informed by my faith." Last week Rubio made statements that questioned the theory of evolution and this week walked them back ever so slightly by admitting he believes the earth is four and a half billion years old, "I was referring to a theological debate and which is a pretty healthy debate.” The Michigan Senate Committee on Health Policy approved legislation that allows religion to be an excuse for LGBT discrimination in health care. A Louisiana State Judge Tim Kelley determined the voucher program, which funnels public money to private religious schools that teach creationism, is unconstitutional. A Federal Court upheld Nevada's ban on same-sex marriage.  And a California judge partly blocked a "gay conversion therapy" ban in the state.
Photo courtesty of Shutterstock.

Indiana Court Upholds Ban on Secular Celebrants Who Want to Perform Weddings
via Religion Clause

Wedding photo via Shutterstock.

In an Indiana case brought by the Center for Inquiry, a judge ruled that the state’s ban on secular celebrants was constitutional. The judge claimed that non-religious people already can perform weddings if they go through the “proper channels”, which may include becoming Internet certified.   Read more.

West Point Cadet Drops Out, Cites Discrimination Against Nontheists
via The Huffington Post

West Point Cadets
Photo credit: Spirit of America/

Among issues, cadet points to  mandatory prayer, the maintenance of the 3rd Regiment Shield, awarding extra passes to Plebes who take part in religious retreats and chapel choirs, as well as informal policies such as the open disrespect of non-religious new cadets as major problems at West Point.  Read more.

Nontheist News Corner

Dates to Remember:
  • 12/10/12 - Human Rights Day
  • 12/21/12- Winter Solstice
  • 12/23/12 -  HumanLight 
  • 12/23/12 - Festivus
  • 1/16/13 - National Religious Freedom Day
  • 1/8/13-1/10/13 - Evolution Sunday
  • 1/12/13 - Darwin Day

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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
American Ethical Union
American Humanist Association
Atheist Alliance of America
Camp Quest
Council for Secular Humanism
Institute for Humanist Studies
Military Association of Atheists & Freethinkers
Secular Student Alliance
Society for Humanistic Judaism


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