2009 Media Coverage


Fresh Air (NPR)

Dec. 22, 2009 - Good Without God a Breath of Fresh Air (the NPR Kind) Secularism and Humanism will receive some great national media attention this week as Good Without God: What a Billion Nonreligious People Do Believe (Morrow/HarperCollins), by Harvard Humanist Chaplain Greg Epstein, will be the subject of this Wednesday 12/23's episode of NPR's "Fresh Air" with Terry Gross.

Washington Post On Faith

The Secular Coalition for America and its member organization the Freedom From Religion Foundation comment on health care reform proposals that would provide insurance reimbursements for prayer.

Chicago Tribune Newsblogs

The Seeker quotes Coalition executive director Sean Faircloth about spiritual care being dropped from the House of Representatives' health care reform package.

Santa Barbara Independent

Separation of church and state makes the world a better place, says Coalition executive director Sean Faircloth.


Oct. 8, 2009 - Helen Keller: radical
"Alabama is making great progress," said Sean Faircloth, Executive Director of the [Secular Coalition for America]. "First they removed the unconstitutional Ten Commandments display installed by former Chief Justice Roy Moore, and now they’re honoring Helen Keller – a freethinker and humanist who helped make our nation a better place."


Coalition executive director Sean Faircloth addresses the Atheist Alliance International conference about religious exemptions for faith-"killing" parents.

Religion News Service

Conducted by researchers at Trinity College, the study, entitled "American Nones: The Profile of the No Religion Population," showed that people who profess no religion, or "Nones," are similar to the general public in marital status, education, racial and ethnic makeup and income. "We are here. We are like everybody else. We are part of the community," said Jesse Galef, communications associate at the Secular Coalition for America.

Agence France Press

Executive director Sean Faircloth told AFP the coalition is particularly interested in bringing down state laws that give special privileges to religious-based services.

The Nation

Aug. 3, 2009 (print), July 15 (Web) - Obama's Faithful Flock
Sarah Posner, senior correspondent for The American Prospect and author of God's Profits: Faith, Fraud, and the Republican Crusade for Values Voters, on faith-based funding under the new administration and the Secular Coalition for America's push to end the program.

Politics Daily

In the Politics Daily lead story of the day, David Gibson outlines the many ways in which the Obama administration has failed, so far, to address the Secular Coalition for America's policy concerns. Gibson describes the non-religious as a voting bloc that was critical to President Obama's election and "that figures to be crucial to Obama's chances in 2012." Although the president mentioned secular Americans in his inaugural address and has done so since, Jesse Galef, the coalition's communications associate, told Gibson, "Lip service is better than no service. But at a certain point we'll stop being happy with just the lip service."

Roll Call

July 29, 2009 - "K Street Files: Secular Coalition Finds Religion (on K Street)" [no link - subscribers only]
[T]he Secular Coalition for America has gotten its lobbying sea legs and moved into its own new digs on K Street.

WashingtonPost.com OnFaith

As a panelist for WashingtonPost.com's On Faith, Coalition president Herb Silverman answers the question, "How should a particular judge's life experiences -- including faith, gender or ethnicity -- inform his or her judicial rulings?"

Religion News Service

Religion News Service, syndicated by Beliefnetnews, quotes the Secular Coalition's Jesse Galef on Sotomayer rulings involving religious displays in public spaces.

The Nation

The Nation's editor, Katrina vanden Heuvel, on the new administration's outreach to the Coalition and member groups. According to vanden Heuvel, American nontheists are increasingly "assertive and respected."

The American Prospect blog "The FundamentaList"

Sarah Posner highlights secretary of the Army nominee John McHugh's anti-separationist Congressional voting record, noting scrutiny by the Secular Coalition for America and our member organization the Military Association of Atheists and Freethinkers.

WashingtonPost.com OnFaith

Democratic theocracy or theocratic democracy? As an On Faith panelist, Coalition president Herb Silverman reflects on the future of Iranian governance.


POLITICO interviews Ron Millar, Secular Coalition for America Associate Director, and other freethought leaders about religious accommodation in the Obama administration.

WashingtonPost.com OnFaith

As an OnFaith panelist, Coalition president Herb Silverman hopes that President Barack Obama's message to the Muslim world will remind us of times when disputes were not framed as religious wars.


Neil Macdonald writes an op-ed as an "apatheist" critical of society's prejudice against the non-religious.

WashingtonPost.com OnFaith

As an OnFaith panelist, Coalition president Herb Silverman argues for government intervention when parents deny children medical treatment on religious grounds.

WashingtonPost.com OnFaith

As an OnFaith panelist, Coalition president Herb Silverman comments on attitudes about abortion and birth control in the Catholic Church.

USA Today

Secular Coalition Acting Director Ron Millar disagrees with a study claiming that religious Americans are nicer and more active in their communities than secular people. [Webmaster's note: The article incorrectly identifies Ron Millar as the leader of the American Humanist Association, a Coalition member organization.]

WashingtonPost.com OnFaith

As an OnFaith panelist, Coalition president Herb Silverman writes about celibacy in the Catholic priesthood.

Chicago Tribune

Acting Director Ron Millar suggests that the National Day of Prayer was more about courting the Religious Right than promoting spirituality.

Christian Science Monitor

Acting Director Ron Millar points out the difficulty of achieving inclusiveness when government endorses religious activities such as a National Day of Prayer.

WashingtonPost.com OnFaith

As an OnFaith panelist, Coalition president Herb Silverman imagines government endorsement of minority views.

The Equinox

Op-ed in The Equinox, student newspaper of Keene State College, New Hampshire.


Trina Hoaks, National Atheism Examiner, talks with Herb Silverman at the American Atheists convention. [Webmaster's note: All five videos are permanently hosted on NoGodTube.]


"Herb Silverman, a math professor at the College of Charleston, founded the [Secular Humanists of the Lowcountry] and is now president of the Secular Coalition for America, an umbrella organization formed to counter the religious right ... 'It's not about carrying banners or protesting,' Silverman said. 'The most important thing is coming out of the closet.' "

Los Angeles Times

Johanna Neuman at the LATimes blogs the New York Times coverage and the National Journal article (both below).

The New York Times

Apr. 26, 2009 - More Atheists Shout It From the Rooftops [also appeared on Apr. 27 print copy front page]
"Local and national atheist organizations have flourished in recent years, fed by outrage over the Bush administration’s embrace of the religious right ... These groups, once rivals, are now pooling resources to lobby in Washington for separation of church and state [through the Secular Coalition for America]."

The American Prospect group blog, "TAPPED"

"One of the complaints of civil liberties groups about the Office of Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships (OFBNP) advisory council is its lack of transparency. Yesterday, the Coalition Against Religious Discrimination (CARD) met with the Office's director, Joshua DuBois. Ron Millar, acting director of the Secular Coalition for America, was also present. According to Millar, CARD raised concerns regarding both faith-based hiring discrimination and transparency."


U.S. News & World Report's Bonnie Erbe blogs the National Journal article and the Secular Coalition for America

Progressive Populist

"If the religious right is a key element in conservative political strategies, then the antithesis of conservative religion—secularism—is an important tool in resisting the right-wing agenda. To the extent secular Americans are silenced and marginalized, and to the extent the political dialogue necessarily involves large doses of religiosity, progressivism tends to suffer." - Herb Silverman, president, Secular Coalition for America, and David Niose, president, American Humanist Association.


The Bergen Record in New Jersey interviews local Ethical Culture Society members and the Secular Coalition's director about the growth of the nontheistic movement locally and nationally.


Columnist David Swanson uses a recent National Journal story and new polling to show that secular Americans are culturally and politically coming of age.

National Journal

Mar. 7, 2009 - Rise of the Godless
The cover story of this edition of National Journal magazine highlights the Secular Coalition for America. A video, Face of the 'Godless' Movement, is available on the National Journal Web site.

Los Angeles Times

Letter to the editor: "Until a thorough review of constitutional issues is complete, the faith-based funding program should be suspended." - Ron Millar, Acting Director, Secular Coalition for America.


Feb. 7, 2009 - Clergy Column
Retired Episcopal priest The Rev. Thomazine Shanahan comments on the varieties of prayer at President Obama's inaugural ceremony, quoting Secular Coalition for America director Lori Lipman Brown.

Agence France Press

[Secular Coalition for America Acting Director Ron] Millar said the new White House faith office was inherently unconstitutional, arguing it would channel federal funds to religious groups that discriminate against non-believers in hiring new workers. But he said he was pleased to have a seat at the table, after his group joined a coalition of civil rights organizations in meeting Obama transition officials three times leading up to the president's January 20 inauguration.

The American Prospect group blog, "TAPPED"

"Changing two words in the name does not make this a new program," said Ron Millar, acting director of the Secular Coalition for America. "It still begins with 'faith-based' and it still ends up giving taxpayer dollars to religious institutions."

The Examiner

Hofstra Chronicle

Feb. 5, 2009 - Dropping the A-bomb
Hofstra University's newspaper interviews Secular Coalition for America director Lori Lipman Brown and other freethought leaders on vocabulary terms (atheist, humanist, etc.) used by secular Americans to describe their lifestance.


In the American melting pot, protecting our freedom to hold and express different beliefs makes us stronger. In that same vein, I actually can name a nontheist in Congress, Rep. Pete Stark of California, as identified by the Secular Coalition of America. But, yes, there are many more people of faith in Congress than secularists - as there should be, in a representative government.

Washington Jewish Week

The day before the inauguration, [the Secular Coalition for America] had posted an open letter to Obama on its Web site, urging him to find a way to include a nontheistic viewpoint at the next day's event.

The American Prospect

Jan. 27, 2009 - With God On Our Side? (web only)
"President Obama acknowledged nonreligious Americans in his Inaugural Address. Will his administration re-separate church and state?" asks author Paul Waldman. "When I spoke last week to Lori Lipman Brown, the director of the Secular Coalition for America, she was cautiously optimistic about the Obama administration. Brown, often called 'the atheists' lobbyist,' noted that the group has been included in meetings about the transition, and 'just the fact that he's conscious of including us' is a step up."

Fredericksburg.com (The Free Lance-Star)

News report on a local group event celebrating Fredericksburg (Virginia)'s Religious Freedom Week and featuring Coalition director Lori Lipman Brown.

The Daily Evergreen

Barack Obama’s inauguration speech was heard around the world, and it was not lost on nonbelievers. For the first time, nonbelievers were publicly recognized in an inaugural address by the highest officer in the nation. ... Yet nonbelief is [still] so oppressed in American political discourse, it took a nationally broadcasted search by the Secular Coalition of America to find a politician willing to confess his or her disbelief.

Washington Post

"[Rev. Joseph Lowery] didn't say this prayer was for Jesus or Allah or any other god, he said let all who embrace justice say amen," said Lori Lipman Brown, director of the Secular Coalition of America. "I hardly ever say amen, but how could you not say amen to embracing justice?"

WashingtonPost.com On Faith

As a guest voice for On Faith, Coalition president Herb Silverman passes along a message from secular Americans to the Obama Administration: "This week, we atheists have the audacity to remind President Obama of our founding as a secular nation, with a godless Constitution to protect the freedom of conscience and belief--or non-belief--for all people."

Religion News Service

"The fact that he mentioned non-believers leads me to think that he is cognizant of not leaving us out," said Lori Lipman Brown, director of the Secular Coalition of America. Brown was also heartened at Obama’s pledge to "restore science to its rightful place," a veiled reference to criticism that religious ideology trumped research during the Bush administration—especially in the field of bioethics.


CBN interviews Coalition director Lori Lipman Brown about the practice of adding "so help me God" to the neutral oath of office prescribed in the U.S. Constitution. (video & article)

The American Prospect

A coalition of 19 agnostic and atheist organizations has asked Barack Obama to decline any invitation to be the honorary president of the Boy Scouts of America (BSA), as has been tradition since the presidency of William Howard Taft.

Charleston City Paper

Jan. 7, 2009 - Bad Neighbors
In this letter to the editor, Coalition president Herb Silverman compares private religious expression with state-issued sectarian license plates.

LA Times

[Secular] Coalition advisory board chair Woody Kaplan estimates there were 22 members of the 110th Congress who hid their unbelief from the public.

The Daily Profaner

While our old buddy Pete Stark is still the only, lonely, out Atheist in Congress, the LA Times reports that the Secular Coalition was able to root out 22 other godless members…who are scared shitless to be identified.


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