Secular Coalition for Florida Monthly Conference Call


Tuesday, November 27, 2012 - 13:00 - 13:30
Call In Details: 
Phone Number: 530-881-1400 Participant Code: 978895


Secular Coalition for America - Florida Chapter Conference Call
Call in number: 530-881-1400 Participant Code: 978895
Tuesday, November 27th at 1pm ET


Welcome Message

  • Who is here and who is not here that needs to be?
  • Agenda available at Florida chapter page at
  • Explanation of conference call style and recording
    • No one is required to speak up, but there will be opportunities to do so.
  • Thank you for joining us for the Secular Coalition for Florida monthly conference call!
  • The Secular Coalition for America is the only 501(c)(4) representing secular and nontheistic Americans.
  • The Secular Coalition for America is working to make sure that we are heard on Capitol Hill. We fight in Washington DC against religious privileging on a federal level, yet some of the most egregious violations of separation of church and state are being promoted and passed at a state level.
  • The Secular Coalition for America is forming state chapters across the country to bring together secular and nontheistic Americans in each state to lobby on secular issues.


State Government Update - November Elections

  • U.S. Senate
    • Bill Nelson (D) won re-election
  • U.S. House
    • Florida gained 2 seats after the 2010 census
    • All 27 Florida seats in the House were up for election
    • The Republican Party lost 2 seats and now hold 17
    • The Democratic Party gained 4 seats and now hold 10
  • State Senate
    • All 40 were up for election
    • Republican Party lost 2 seats, but still holds a 26-14 majority
  • State House of Representatives
    • All 120 seats were up for election
    • Republican Party lost 7 seats but still holds a 74-46 majority
  • Newly elected legislators were sworn in on November 20th.



  • Amendment 8 Defeated!
  • Coalition fights Florida prosecuting attorney's 'biblical strategy' for death penalty sentencing
    • Former 7th circuit (Flagler, Putnam, St. John's and Volusia counties) prosecutor John Tanner convinced a jury to vote for the death penalty by presenting explicitly religious evidence to the jurors and repeatedly citing the Book of Romans
    • Tanner asserted that the “infallible word of God” mandates capital punishment.
    • Americans United and other groups filed an amicus brief  in the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals 
      • "The state courts of Florida are not ecclesiastical courts, and the entanglement of religious doctrine in a criminal trial is the kind of breach of church-state separation that not only prejudices the defendant but also injures the interests of the diverse religious communities that thrive in our society in part by virtue of their independence from the operations of the state."
      • "The Constitution prohibits the application of religious law to criminal defendants precisely because different religious groups (including different Christian denominations) have differing views about theological rules and the interpretations of biblical texts – such as the teachings of religion regarding the morality of capital punishment. Prosecutor Tanner’s use of Pastor Davis to instruct the jury that religious law called for a sentence of death was grossly improper."


Chapter Development Status

  • Leadership
    • Executive Committee
      • Flexible to availability and strengths of individuals who want to get involved
      • Co-Chair Duties: Scheduling state coalition meetings as necessary, Building relationships with local organizations and keeping them informed;  Scheduling and Coordinating trainings; Ensuring compliance with all SCA policies (listed in the chapter manual soon to be finished); Assisting with fundraising and ensuring donations are sent  to the SCA; Contact person for SCA Research and Advocacy Manager; Upholding the respectful, diplomatic, and non-partisan approach of the Secular Coalition
      • Communications Chair Duties: Official press releases; Letters to the Editor; Working with LD on action alerts; Coordinating messaging with SCA; Acting as spokesperson; Available for interviews or local speaking engagements; Draft action alerts with Leg. chair
      • Tech Chair Duties: Website updates and blog posts; Social media; Answering email; 
      • Legislative/ Policy Chair Duties: Monitoring legislation for our issues; Gatherings research; Drafting action alerts with Comm. Chair; Tailoring SCA lobbying materials to be state specific
      • Lobbying Chair Duties:  Conducting lobbying visits; Building relationships with legislators
      • Examples of Helpful Skills: leadership skills, familiarity with local groups, monitor legislation, conduct lobbying visits, mobilize grassroots, IT or website knowledge, social networking familiarity, comfortable speaking with press
      • Executive Committee so far:
        • Shayne Chesire (need a co-chair!) 
        • Allen Drozd and Kelly Clark (communications)
        • EllenBeth Wachs, Dave Nichols, Brandon Seda, and Beth Maxi (EC at-large members)
      • Interested Individuals: Amanda B., Lori N, Alan L., Sonya P.
    • Volunteer List
    • Those who do not wish to be on the Executive Committee, but still want to play an active role and help out once there is work to be done, please email me [email protected] 
  • Resources Status 
    • Website
      • still under construction 
      • Temporarily:>States>Your State>Florida 
    • Conference Calls 
      • Changing call schedule in 2013 
        • Adding evening and weekend calls
      • Agendas and Call replays available on the Florida chapter page 
      • Looking into technologies to assist with online discussion 
    • Logo - viewable on Florida chapter page and Facebook page 
    • Facebook Page – Secular Coalition FOR Florida 
    • Future Resources 
      • Promotional resources- brochures, stickers, buttons, handouts 
      • Informational resources – Research, fact sheets and policy papers 
      • Trainings and Guides – media and lobby trainings and guides 
    • National Resources 
      • Powerpoints –available at 
      • National Secular Calendar – homepage
      •  National Secular Update Weekly Conference Call - Thursdays at Noon 559-726-1300 Code 199568

Wrap Up

  • What the SCA is doing until the next call:
    • Getting resources in place
    • Researching technologies to assist in chapter coordination
    • Identifying leadership and putting Executive Committee members in contact with each other
  • What you can do:
    • Email [email protected] if interested in leadership or volunteering
    • Sign up on our website to receive info and updates
    • Check out the Florida chapter page for updates
    • Like the Secular Coalition FOR FloridaFacebook page
    • Spread the word!


Contact Information

  • Kelly Damerow
  • Research and Advocacy Manager, Secular Coalition for America
  • Email: [email protected]
  • Phone: 202-299-1091 ext. 204

Thank You!




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