Secular Coalition for California Officially Launches
Washington, D.C—The Secular Coalition for America is excited to announce the official launch of the Secular Coalition for California. The Secular Coalition for California will lobby state lawmakers in favor of a strong separation of religion and government.
The Secular Coalition for America is a lobbying organization representing nontheistic Americans and advocating protecting and strengthening the secular character of our government. The Secular Coalition for California is the fifth chapter to launch as part of the SCA’s greater effort to establish 50 new state chapters throughout the country this year.
Executive Board Co-Chairs Roger Schlueter of Santa Barbara and Caleb Weaver of Menlo Park, will head up the Secular Coalition for California.
Schluester said he sees the Secular Coalition for California as a unique opportunity to combat religious privileging by the government.
“We rely on governmental laws, regulations and guidelines to maintain that core principle of the
United States, namely freedom of speech,” Schlueter said. “The Secular Coalition for America is uniquely important in shaping and guarding these tools to ensure that the wall of separation between church and state remains robust.”
A recent Pew Forum study indicated that a full 38 percent of Californians do not express an absolute belief in God, and a majority of Californians—52 percent—disagreed that “religion is very important to their lives.” Another Pew study found that the majority of Americans (54%) say that churches and other houses of worship should keep out of political matters, and 38% says that there has been too much expression of religious faith and prayer from political leaders – a number that has grown to its highest point since the Pew Research Center began asking the question more than a decade ago.
“California has a nationwide reputation as an innovative state where new ideas in education, government and industry are born and rise to prominence,” Schluester said. “The presence of the Secular Coalition in California will insure that this innovation stays true to our time-tested constitutional values particularly in the area of church state separation.”
Weaver agreed. "With the rising number of Californians identifying as secular, it is time that the non-religious community had a real voice in the halls of government," said Weaver. "The Secular Coalition for California is going to provide a critical new perspective in a number of public discussions, and that is why I am so extremely excited to be a part of this organization."
Since June, the SCA successfully held initial organizing calls for new chapters in 38 states. And will announce initial organizing calls for the remaining 12 states today. The Secular Coalition plans to have all chapters up and running in every state, D.C. and Puerto Rico, by the end of the year. Secular Coalition groups are already functional in Arizona, Alabama, Colorado, Pennsylvania and South Carolina. The Secular Coalition for Massachusetts is also launching today.
Edwina Rogers, Secular Coalition for America Executive Director said she is excited to see the California chapter launch. The state chapters play an integral role at the state level, as well as the national level, she said.
“In our current U.S. Congress, 38 percent of Representatives held local office first,” said Rogers. “When we get to law makers at the local level, not only are we going to help curb some of the most egregious legislation we’re seeing, but we are also building relationships and working to educate legislators on our issues, before they even get to Washington."
The Secular Coalition, which celebrates its 10th anniversary this year, represents 11 nontheistic member organizations and has as traditionally focused advocacy efforts on federal legislation. The SCA will continue to lobby at the federal level, while state chapters will lobby at the state level. Participation in the Secular Coalition for California is open to all Californians that support a strong separation of religion and government, regardless of their personal religious beliefs.
For Bios, photos, a high resolution chapter logo, and additional chapter information and calls times, please visit: http://secular.org/states/chapters/california
Contact the Secular Coalition for California via email at: [email protected]
Reach Chapter Co-Chair, Roger Schlueter at 805.962.6316
Reach Chapter Co-Chair, Caleb Weaver at 650-924-1564.
CONTACT: Lauren Anderson Youngblood, Communications Manager
O: 202-299-1091 ext. 205
E: [email protected]
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