National Secular Movement Update Call

Thursday, March 14, 2013 - 12:00 - 12:30
Call In Details: 
Call In Details: 559-726-1300 Code: 199568
Secular Coalition for America

National Secular Movement Update
Newsletter and Call

Call Every Thursday from 12PM - 12:30PM (ET)
Phone Number: 559-726-1300 Code: 199568
March 14, 2013

Washington is buzzing with news of CPAC and Budgets. The 40th annual Conservative Political Action Conference began last night  drawing all the big conservative names, including Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul, Wisconsin Rep. Paul Ryan and  NRA CEO Wayne LaPierre. Edwina Rogers attending opening events last night and will be representing the Secular Coalition at several other events this week.

On Tuesday Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis) released his budget plan, promising to cut spending by $5.7 trillion, cut the top tax rate to 25 percent and balance the budget in 10 years. On Wednesday the House's Congressional Progressive Caucus put forth their own budget plan, promising increased employment and GDP, and reducing the deficit by $4.4 trillion through tax reform and tax increase on the highest earners.  Senate Democrats unveiled their budget which plans to raise nearly $1 trillion in new taxes, add new stimulus spending and does not project any date at which balance will be reached.

The Secular Coalition held our Philadelphia lunch event with Dr. Richard Dawkins on Tuesday, at near-capacity! Dawkins lunched with about 25 attendees including students, scientists, teachers and secular leaders. In the intimate setting he was able to speak personally with each participant, all of whom got an answer to the question that they have "always wanted to ask" him. At the lunch Dawkins said that the "Secular Coalition is probably the most effective organization for long-term change," because we are focused on effecting change in legislation.

The SCA attended the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee Spring Reception, where we were able to meet face to face with more than 30 U.S. Senators and their chiefs of staff.

Melissa Rogers was announced as Special Assistant to the President and Director of the Office of Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships. Rogers attended a Coalition Against Religious Discrimination meeting and appears to be more open to our movement than the former Director, Josh DuBois.  Rogers was formerly on the President's Advisory Council for Faith Based & Neighborhood Partnerships were she suggested some much needed changes in the relationship between the government and the faith community.

The big religion news of the week is that the Roman Catholic Church selected a new Pope on Wednesday: Jorge Mario Bergoglio, 76, a cardinal from Argentina. Bergoglio is the first leader of the church ever chosen from South America and the first non-European leader of the church in more than 1,000 years. According to the New York Times, "In choosing him, the cardinals sent a powerful message that the future of the Church lies in the Global South, home to the bulk of the world’s Catholics. One of Benedict’s abiding preoccupations was the rise of secularism in Europe, and he took the name Benedict after the founder of European monastic culture."

A little about the new Pope:
  • Cardinal Bergoglio has invited his clergy and laity to oppose both abortion and euthanasia.
  • He has affirmed church teaching on homosexuality, though he teaches the importance of respecting individuals who are gay.
  • He strongly opposed legislation introduced in 2010 by the Argentine Government to allow same-sex marriage.
  • On April 15, 2005, a human rights lawyer filed a criminal complaint against Bergoglio, accusing him of conspiring with the junta in 1976 to kidnap two Jesuit priests.
And finally, The History Channel airs its final installment of its miniseries, "The Bible" this Sunday. The creators of the show, Mark Burnett and Roma Downey, have said they want The Bible taught in public schools.

Table of Contents:
I. White House and Congressional Update
II. Secular Events and Calendar
III. Secular Movement in the News
IV. Legislative and Regulatory Update
V. Judicial
VI. SCA State Chapters
VII. Policy and Research Documents
VIII. Secular Coalition Expansion
IX. SCA Member and Associated Organization Announcements
X. Movement Charity Updates and Activities

Please join our movement today! Follow this link to the SCA sign-up page.

I. White House and Congressional Update I. White House and Congressional Update
  • House of Representatives: It's a budget battle! On Tuesday Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis) released his budget plan, promising to cut spending by $5.7 trillion, cut the top tax rate to 25 percent and balance the budget in 10 years. On Wednesday the House's Congressional Progressive Caucus put forth their own budget plan, promising increased employment and GDP, and reducing the deficit by $4.4 trillion through tax reform and tax increase on the highest earners. 
  • Senate: Senate Democrats unveiled their budget which plans to raise nearly $1 trillion in new taxes, add new stimulus spending and does not project any date at which balance will be reached.  On Tuesday, the Senate Judiciary Committee passed Sen. Schumer’s universal background checks bill as Sen. Schumer works to find common ground with Senate Republicans on gun control issues.
  • White House: Melissa Rogers was announced as Special Assistant to the President and Director of the Office of Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships. President Obama will visit lawmakers on the hill to discuss deficit reduction, gun control, immigration reform, and judicial nominations. The President plans to release his budget plan next month.
  • UN: Last week I mentioned that the International Humanist and Ethical Union has delivered several joint statements with the Center for Inquiry and British Humanist Association at the ongoing Human Rights Council. One of those statements (available here) applauded a new report from the Office of the High Commissioner on Human Rights (OHCHR) called the Rabat Plan of Action (available here). Released just weeks ago, this report is the product of a series of workshops held by UN human rights experts that focused on how states should define and handle instances of "advocacy of national, racial or religious hatred that constitutes incitement to  discrimination, hostility or violence." As you might all know, this incitement language is contained within international agreements such as the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), and has been a kind of loophole through which states have made unreasonable expression-based arrests yet claimed to be in line with international law. However, the report effectively closes that loophole by making it absolutely clear that incitement language is not meant to be used to punish people for criticizing or dissenting from religion, such as Indonesia has done with Alexander Aan. In the coming months, the Center for Inquiry will release a full analysis on this report, but for now, I urge you to read it yourself. As always, feedback is welcome. 
If you are interested in attending one of our scheduled meetings, please contact Director of Federal and State Affairs, [email protected]. For UN-related questions or remarks for these meetings can email [email protected]. More information on the Committee and all its events can be found at (Thank you to Michael DeDora for this update, [email protected], 646.706.6080). Otherwise, contact Edwina Rogers, Executive Director, Edwina Rogers, at [email protected] or by phone at 202-299-101 ext. 207 or cell: 202-674-7800.

II. Secular Events and Calendar
Anything to add? Contact Communications Manager, Lauren Anderson Youngblood at [email protected]. Please let us know if you'd like to attend one of these meetings: If you are interested, please contact Director of Federal and State Affairs, Kelly Damerow at [email protected] for anything legislation-related.

III. Secular Movement In the News

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Secular Coalition in the News

Secular and Related News

  • Church-State Separation Advocates Praise New Obama Pick for Faith-Based Office Director -Rogers is a well-known and highly respected expert on the intersection of religion and public life, as well as a legal expert on the First Amendment and related religion issues. The Coalition Against Religious Discrimination has long advocated for greater adherence to constitutional priciples during DuBois’ tenure. Some of the organizations that have been part of CARD are praising the pick this morning.
  • RI Gay Marriage Bill May Hinge On Religious Clause -Valente and Bond hope Rhode Island joins the rest of New England this year in allowing gay and lesbian couples to marry. But they're concerned that the kind of treatment they received may still be allowed if lawmakers insert a broad religious exemption allowing religious organizations like churches, hospitals and schools - or private businesses - to ignore the law and decide for themselves whether they want to extend benefits and rights to married gay couples.
  • Colorado Legalizes Civil Union - Colorado lawmakers passed legislation on Tuesday to legalize civil unions for same-sex couples, following several years of bitter debate over the issue.
  • The New Pope: Bergoglio of Argentina (New York Times)
  • Is religion good for women - In Honor of International Women's Day, The Tony Blair Foundation in collaboration with the Washington Post On Faith, posed the question "Is religion good for women?" Responses from 10 women here.
  • Baptist Joint Committee Stands with Secular Community in Opposing FEMA Aid to Churches - The Baptist Joint Committee for Religious Liberty has asked Members of the U.S. House to oppose a bill that would violate religious liberty by authorizing the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to provide direct grants to houses of worship. The bill is scheduled to be discussed on the House floor at noon today.
  • National Secular Society - Pupils must "prove" their religion to qualify for free school buses - (Wales) Flintshire County Council has launched a consultation on proposed changes to its discretionary home to school transport policy, that will require pupils attending faith schools to "prove" their religion to qualify for free school buses. The local authority say they will no longer provide free denominational transport for pupils whose admission is not based on faith grounds.
  • Old Earth, Young Minds: Evangelical Homeschoolers Embrace Evolution - For homeschooling parents who want to teach their children that the earth is only a few thousand years old, the theory of evolution is a lie, and dinosaurs coexisted with humans, there is no shortage of materials. It's no secret that the majority of homeschooled children in America belong to evangelical Christian families. What's less known is that a growing number of their parents are dismayed by these textbooks. More Christian parents are asking for mainstream science in their children's curricula. Will religious textbook companies deliver?
  • (Mississippi)  Mississippi Legislature Passes School Prayer Bill -Mississippi lawmakers have passed legislation that would legalize student-led prayer in the state's public schools. Senate Bill 2633, which went to Gov. Phil Bryant March 6 for his signature, would also allow students to talk about their faith in the classroom and organize school Bible clubs, as well as pray at football games, graduation ceremonies, and during morning announcements.
  • (Virginia) Virginia’s Liberty transforms into evangelical mega-university - The small Baptist college that television preacher Jerry Falwell founded here in 1971 has capitalized on the online education boom to become an evangelical mega-university with global reach. Total enrollment now exceeds 74,000, with nearly 62,000 working toward degrees online in fields such as psychology, business, education, criminal justice and, of course, religion. That makes Liberty the largest university in Virginia — with more than double the number of students at No. 2 George Mason — and the largest private, nonprofit university in the country.=
  • (Texas) Abbott ad laments schools not teaching guns or Bible - In his latest political ad causing a social media stir, the state’s top lawman tackles two issues central to the state’s conservative base: guns and religion. The ad, posted on Abbott’s Facebook page on Wednesday, features a photo of a handgun next to a Bible. “Two things every American should know how to use,” it reads. “Neither of which are taught in schools.”
  • It’s time to overturn DOMA - Bill Clinton, who signed the Defense of Marriage Act into law in 1996, now says it’s unconstitutional and should be struck down by the Supreme Court.

Want daily updates? If you're interested in receiving our daily morning run-down of secular news stories, or for press inquiries, updates and other media related information, contact [email protected].

Calendar Events
Are there any upcoming issues or events that the movement needs to coordinate press around?

  • March 29 - April 6 - Atheist Week (Facebook)
  • April 13 - Birthdays of Christopher Hitchens & Madalyn Murray O'Hair
  • April 18 - National Ask an Atheist Day
  • April 19 - LGBT Day of Silence
  • April 22 - Earth Day
  • April 24-26 - SCA's Lobby Day and Summit
  • May 2 - National Day of Reason
  • May 11 - Richard Feynman Birthday (American theoretical physicist known for his work in the path integral formulation of quantum mechanics)
  • May 20 - Everybody Draw Mohammed Day
  • May 27 - Memorial Day 
  • June 6 - Atheist Pride Day 
  • June 14 - Flag Day 
  • July 4 - Independence Day

Have something to add to the calendar? Contact Communications Manager, Lauren Anderson Youngblood at [email protected]
IV. Legislative and Regulatory Update
Tracking House Bills:
  • HR 1099 -  A bill to repeal the Prevention and Public Health Fund. Sponsor Rep. Pitts (R- PA) Introduced 3/12/13, referred to House Energy and Commerce
  • HR 1091 - A bill to implement equal protection under the 14th article of amendment to the Constitution for the right to life of each born and preborn human person. Sponsor Rep. Jordan (R-OH) Introduced 3/12/13, referred to House Judiciary
  • HR 1090 - A bill to establish an Elementary Educator Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) Content Coach program. Sponsor Rep. Honda (D-CA) Introduced 3/12/13, referred to House Education and Workforce
  • HR 1075- A bill to direct the secretary of Defense to provide support for Boy Scout Jamborees. Sponsor Rep. McKinley (R-WV) Introduced 3/12/13, referred to House Armed Services Committee
  • HR 973 -  "Religious Exemption to the Contraception Mandate" - A bill to exempt employers from any excise tax and certain suits and penalties in the case of a failure of a group health plan to provide coverage to which an employer objects on the basis of religious belief or moral conviction. Sponsor Rep. Sensenbrenner (R-Wis.), Introduced 3/5/13, referred to Committees on Education, Energy, and Ways and Means.
  • HR 940 - "Religious Exemption to the Contraception Mandate" - A bill to amend the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act to protect rights of conscience with regard to requirements for coverage of specific items and services, to amend the Public Health Service Act to prohibit certain abortion-related discrimination in governmental activities, and for other purposes. Sponsor Black (R-Tenn.) Introduced 3/4/13, referred to Committees Energy and Commerce and Ways and Means
  • HR 898 - "Religious Organizations Using Taxpayer Money without Limits" A bill to authorize appropriations for fiscal 2014 through 2017 for the Trafficking Victims Protection Act of 2000, and for other purposes. Offending provision, sec. 303(a)(1)(B) which generally says faith based organizations receiving federal assistance shall not be required as a condition of receiving the assistance to utilize a program to which the organizations objects. Sponsor Rep. Smith (R-N.J.) Introduced 2/28/13, referred to Committee Energy and Commerce, Foreign Affairs, Judiciary, and Ways and Means
  • HR 728- Access to Birth Control Act- A bill to establish certain duties for pharmacies to ensure provision of Food and Drug Administration-approved contraception, and for other purposes. Sponsor Rep. Maloney (D-NY) Introduced 2/14/13, referred to House Energy and Commerce Committee.
  • HR 725 -Real Education for Healthy Youth Act of 2013 - A bill to provide for the reduction of unintended pregnancy and sexually transmitted infections, including HIV, and the promotion of healthy relationships, and for other purposes. Sponsor Rep. Lee (D-Calif.) Introduced 2/14/13, referred to Committees on Education and Energy and Commerce (Companion to S 372)
  • HR 718 - Abstinence Education Reallocation Act of 2013 - Sponsor Rep. Hultgren (R-Ill.) Introduced 2/14/13, referred to House Energy and Commerce Committee
  • HR 652 - A bill to amend the Foreign Assistance Act of 1961 to limit assistance to countries that engage in certain discriminatory religious, educational or freedom of movement practices. Sponsor Rep. Gowdy (R-SC) Introduced 2/13/14, referred to House Foreign Affairs\
  • HR 422 - "School Vouchers/Tax Credits" - A bill to amend the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 to provide for a credit which is dependent on enactment of state qualified scholarship tax credits and which is allowed against the federal income tax for charitable contributions to education investment organizations that provide assistance for elementary and secondary education. Sponsor Rep. Franks (R-Ariz) Introduced 1/25/13, referred to House Ways and Means
  • HR 343 - A bill to ensure that every military chaplain has the prerogative to close a prayer outside of a religious service according to the dictates of the chaplain's own conscience. Sponsor Rep. Jones (R-N.C.) Introduced 1/22/13, referred to House Armed Services Committee.
  • HR 127 - A bill to restore the Free Speech and First Amendment rights of churches and exempt organizations by repealing the 1954 Johnson Amendment. Sponsor Rep. Jones (R-N.C.) Introduced 1/3/13, referred to House Ways and Means
  • HR 23 - A bill to provide that human life shall be deemed to begin with fertilization. Sponsor Rep. Broun (R-Ga.) Introduced 1/3/13, referred to House Judiciary Committee
  • H Res 106 - A resolution calling for the protection of religious freedoms in the Arab world, condemning Pakistan's blasphemy laws. Sponsor Rep. Bridenstine (R-OK) Introduced 3/12/13, referred to House Foreign Affairs, companion to S Res 69
Tracking Senate Bills:
  • S 403 - A bill to amend the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965 to address and take action to prevent bullying and harassment of students. Sponsor Sen. Casey (D-Pa.) Introduced 3/6/13, referred to Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee
  • S 372 - Real Education for Healthy Youth Act of 2013 A bill to provide for the reduction of unintended pregnancy and sexually transmitted infections, including HIV, and the promotion of healthy relationships, and for other purposes. Sponsor Sen. Lautenberg (D-N.J.) Introduced 2/14/13, referred to Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee (Companion to HR 725)
  • S 356 - Unborn Child Pain Awareness Act of 2013 - A bill to ensure that women seeking an abortion are fully informed regarding the pain experienced by their unborn child.
    Sponsor Sen. Johanns (R-Neb.) Introduced 2/14/13, referred to Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee
  • S 297 - "School Vouchers/ Tax Credits" - Educational Opportunities Act - A bill to amend the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 to allow a credit against tax for qualified elementary and secondary education tuition. Sponsor Sen. Rubio (R-Fla.) Introduced 2/13/13, referred to Senate Finance Committee
  • S Res 11 - A resolution expressing support for prayer at school board meetings. Sponsor Sen. Vitter (R-La.) Introduced 1/23/13, referred to Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee
  • S Res 69 - A resolution calling for the protection of religious freedoms in the Arab world, condemning Pakistan's blasphemy laws. Sponsor Sen. Inhofe (R-OK) Introduced 3/7/13, referred to Senate Foreign Relations Committee.
Lobby Day and Secular Summit
  • Space is filling up! Register now!
  • Hundreds of secular supporters, representing millions of Americans, will stand together and be heard during the Secular Coalition for America's Lobby Day and Secular Summit. They will travel from across the country to Washington DC April 24 through 26 to discuss the issues that matter to them with federal government decision makers.
  • Thursday is the Secular Summit, a conference unlike any other in the secular movement. Our panels will feature experts and decision makers from both the legislative and executive branch will discuss and defend decisions on topics of key importance to secular Americans in education, health and safety, tax policy, and discrimination.
  • Friday's Lobby Day kicks off with a training in best practices in lobbying, how to get politicians to listen and really create change. Then we take over Capitol Hill. Each lobby day participant will meet with multiple offices, resulting in Secular Coalition supporters advocating secular issues in hundreds of legislative meetings in a single day.
  • The potential impact of our lobbying force cannot be overstated. 20% of this county is unaffiliated with any religion and the majority of Americans support a strong separation of religion and government. Yet the small but squeaky Christian Right wheel gets all the grease.  Hundreds of people marching up the Capitol steps are hard to ignore. We have the numbers, but we must speak up together. Lobby Day is our chance to impress upon our elected officials that we are organized, informed, and we will show up. Show your government you will no longer be ignored, attend the Secular Coalition for America's Lobby Day and Secular Summit.
  • Book your hotel accommodations at the site of event to get the full experience. Only one block from the Capitol Hill offices where the lobby day meetings will take place, the Hyatt Regence Washington on Capitol Hill is where Secular Summit speakers and secular leaders are staying, and where major DC politicians walk the lobby between "off the hill" meetings. (Limited number of rooms available, book now!
Contact Kelly Damerow, Director of Federal and State Affairs, with additional suggestions or information at [email protected].

V. Judicial
  • PA Court Refuses To Dismiss Challenge To 10 Commandments Monument.  A Pennsylvania federal district court has rejected a motion to dismiss for failure to state a claim in a case brought by FFRF challenging a Ten Commandments monument at a Pennsylvania public middle school.   The court emphasized that “Establishment Clause challenges are all unique and driven by the particular facts of the case. Plaintiffs are entitled to a reasonable time in which they may conduct limited discovery in their attempt to garner support for the cause they pursue.” 
  • PR Police Sued By Atheist Officer Over Workplace PrayerThe ACLU of Puerto Rico has filed suit in federal court on behalf of an atheist police officer who was harassed and demoted to handling menial tasks after he refused to participate in Christian prayers that were part of a staff meeting.  The suit alleges that this practice violates the Establishment Clause and Puerto Rican law, including its constitution and anti-discrimination laws.  News sources indicate that the suit is “one of the first cases of its kind filed” in territory.
If you have any additions, questions or submissions for inclusion on the judicial section for next week, contact Bill Burgess, [email protected], 202-238-9088.

VI. SCA State Chapters
     State Legislation

North Carolina
  • SB 138 to provide for local boards of education to offer to students in grades nine through twelve an elective course in bible study. Referred to Senate Committee on Rules and Operations 2/27/13. The Secular Coalition for North Carolina published an opinion piece yesterday in opposition.
  • SB 2633 Mississippi Student Religious Liberties Act of 2013 passed both Houses, and awaits signature by the Governor. Under the bill, schools will designate time during school events for students to pray, students may not be penalized on the basis of religious content in their assignments, and if any nonreligious clubs are allowed, religious clubs and prayer groups must be allowed as well. 
  • HB 279 Government shall not substantially burden a person's freedom of religion. This bill could let business owners and individuals violate anti-discrimination laws on the basis of religion. Delivered to the Governor for signature.
  • HB 1017 to allow school districts to adopt an academic study of the bible. Passed House. Hearing by the Senate Committee on Education, originally scheduled for  3/6/13, pushed to 3/13/13
  • HB 217 allows religious 501c3 organization to put ballot issue material in their literature. Hearing before Senate State Administration Committee on 2/20/13. No vote yet.
  • SB 132 Eliminating Oregon's "religious exemption" from child immunizations. Public hearing held 2/19.
  • HCR 58 Displays of the Ten Commandments in public educational institutions and other government buildings. Referred to state affairs on 3/4/13
  • HJR 110 Proposing a constitutional amendment relating to a person's freedom of religion, that the government may not indirectly burden, including assessing penalties, or exclusion from programs. Referred to state affairs on 3/11/13
  • SB 48 Physician-assisted suicide. Introduced in Senate, referred to Joint Committee on Judiciary 1/9
More Information on States
  • Conference call Thursday 3/14 at 6pm. 530-881-1400 code 978895
  • Legislation tracking is now available on the chapter pages of all officially launched Secular Coalition chapters! Coming soon to all pages!
  • We encourage everyone to “like” the Facebook pages of their state chapter, listed as “Secular Coalition for [State].
  • Get the latest updates and sign up to receive emails about the chapter forming in your state on the state chapters page on our website.
If you have seen any bills that concern secular issues in your state, please email [email protected] with the state and bill number in the subject line.

VII. Policy and Research Documents

Americans and religion increasingly parting ways, new survey shows Religious affiliation in the United States is at its lowest point since it began to be tracked in the 1930s, according to analysis of newly released survey data by researchers from the University of California, Berkeley, and Duke University. Last year, one in five Americans claimed they had no religious preference, more than double the number reported in 1990. Results of the survey – which looked at numerous issues, including attitudes about gun ownership and how tax dollars should be spent, and is funded in part by the National Science Foundation – are being released now and in coming weeks. An analysis of the results suggests the following:
  • Liberals are far more likely to claim “no religion” (40 percent) than conservatives (9 percent)
  • Men are more likely than women to claim “no religion” (24 percent of men versus 16 percent of women).
  • More whites claimed “no religion” (21 percent) compared to African Americans (17 percent) and Mexican Americans (14 percent).
  • More than one-third of 18-to-24-year-olds claimed “no religion” compared to just 7 percent of those 75 and older.
  • Residents of the Midwestern and Southern states were least likely to claim “no religion” compared to respondents in the Western, Mountain and Northeastern states. But Midwesterners and Southerners are catching up, Hout said.
  • About one-third of Americans identify with a conservative Protestant denomination, one-quarter are Catholics (although 35 percent were raised Catholic) and 1.5 percent are Jewish.

Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life: The percentage of U.S. Catholics who consider themselves “strong” members of the Roman Catholic Church has never been lower than it was in 2012, according to a Pew Research Center analysis of new data from the General Social Survey (GSS). About a quarter (27%) of American Catholics called themselves “strong” Catholics last year, down more than 15 points since the mid-1980s and among the lowest levels seen in the 38 years since strength of religious identity was first measured in the GSS, a long-running national survey carried out by the National Opinion Research Center at the University of Chicago. The decline among U.S. Catholics is even starker when they are compared with Protestants, whose strength of religious identification has been rising in recent years. About half (54%) of American Protestants – double the Catholic share (27%) – described their particular religious identity as strong last year, among the highest levels since the GSS began asking the question in 1974.

Reminder: The Open Access on-line Research Library at the Institute for the Study of Secularism in Society & Culture, Trinity College, Hartford, CT is available to everyone in the movement. Go to This is the academic website for ISSSC.  From there you can access (top right) all the reports and materials on the American Religious Identification Survey series since 1990.

Contact Barry Kosmin ([email protected]) Director of the Institute for the Study of Secularism in Society or Jenny Kalmanson ([email protected]), who sits on the Board of the American Humanist Association, with any additions or suggestions for this list. Powerpoints, brochures, scorecards, and other resources are now available on the website.  These speeches will be free and available to everyone in the movement. The Secular Coalition is looking for helpful research papers, to link to from our website and to determine where additional research needs to be done.  If you are aware of any, please send information to [email protected]

VIII. Secular Coalition Expansion
  • Coalition expansion drive underway!  We are looking to add Endorsing and Allied organizations through additional website sign up opportunities and meetings.  Please recommend any non-movement groups we should meet with to discuss common ground. 
  • We had 34 endorsing organizations in May of 2012; we now have 114!
IX. SCA Member and Associated Organization Announcements
Brian Fields of the Secular Coalition for Pennsylvania was on a recent episode of Brave Hero Radio co-hosted by Justin Vacula and Karla Porter of the NEPA Freethought Society. 

Matt Bulger, Legislative Associate at the American Humanist Association, spoke at the National Atheist Party's convention last week the organization’s  lobbying activities. The AHA is urging supporters to complete their action alert  against a bill up for a vote in the Tennessee Senate. SB 514, that “prohibits public institutions of higher education from disciplining or discriminating against a student in a counseling, social work, or psychology program because the student refuses to counsel or serve a client as to goals, outcomes, or behaviors that conflict with a sincerely held religious belief of the student.”

American Humanist Association and American Atheists are not happy with the selection of the new Pope.

If you live in West-Central New York state, or are planning to be there anytime soon, you may want to check out the "Freethought Trail." The birthplace museum of the famous orator, political speechmaker, and outspoken agnostic Robert G. Ingersoll is an anchor of West-Central New York's "Freethought Trail".  The Freethought Trail is a collection of locations in West-Central New York important to the history of freethought. Sites can be browsed by location, by name, by cause, and by type of site. Each site is described in words and in photographs, and directions are provided from one Freethought Trail location to another, so anyone who wants to can make their own path along the multitude of sites on the Trail!

New Pope or not, if you’re tired of being Catholic, there’s an app for that! The “Excommunicate App” allows users to request a formal Excommunication from the Roman Catholic Church.

Camp Quest is hiring a second full-time staff person!  Learn more and apply here. They are also accepting applications for volunteer camp counselors for our summer sessions. Those who are interested can apply here.  If you're interested in sending your children (ages 8-17) to Camp Quest this summer, registration is now open!

Want to share your organization's efforts with the SCA?  Email updates, alerts, announcements or other items you'd like to share with the community to [email protected].

X. Movement Charity Updates and Activities:

Foundation Beyond Belief announced that its Light The Night Walk Team raised $430,000 for The Leukemia and Lymphoma Society last year, the largest amount ever raised by a first year non-corporate team and the 4th largest amount raised by any team in the nation in 2012, including corporate teams. This record-breaking total was made possible by the tremendous commitment of 150 local teams, more than any other organization, made up of thousands of humanists all over the United States and Canada, and by a pledge from the Stiefel family to match the total raised by the FBB teams. Efforts are already underway to increase the number of local LTN teams from 150 to 200. FBB has set a goal of raising $500,000 in 2013, once again with the help of a matching donation from the Stiefel family.

Interested in helping out? Foundation Beyond Belief is raising money for the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society! We are encouraging the secular movement to  take part in their Light The Night Walks and help raise money through the Foundation Beyond Belief team. Foundation Beyond Belief staff will be reaching out to other secular organizations in hopes of incorporating their charity efforts into this report, and to provide a year-end summary of non-theist charity giving.  The LLS LTN initiative headed by Todd Stiefel and supported by many national secular organizations has made it extremely likely that nontheists will reach $1 million in organized charitable giving in 2012.  Join a team, create a team, or join our Virtual Team if there isn't a walk in your area. Learn more about our 2013 Light the Night team efforts here.

Please contact Dale McGowan at [email protected]  if you would like your group's charity effort to be included.

To sign up for newsletters, call announcements, and action alerts, please visit our website. Don't forget to like us on Facebook or Follow us on Twitter.

Contact Executive Director, Edwina Rogers, at [email protected] or by phone at 202-299-1091 ext. 207 or cell: 202-674-7800.
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