New Secular Group to Help Those Unsafe at Home

My friend and colleague Noelle George, who is all kinds of amazing, has formed a new organization called Secular Avenue, whose initial focus will be on helping those who are unsafe at home due to having come out as atheist or LGBT or facing domestic abuse or religious extremism. On Monday they sent out a press release about the group:

Secular Avenue is a newly launched 501(c)(3) organization formed to help secular people achieve safety, stability, and autonomy. While other safety net organizations exist, Secular Avenue Founder and President Noelle George identified a need for an atheist organization to serve the secular community.

“Many local assistance programs are faith-based or church-based, and while they may not actively exclude secular people, there often is an undercurrent of religion or a direct expectation of participation in religious activities that may make survivors uncomfortable or traumatize them even further,“ George said. “No one should have to lie or compromise their values in order to receive help.”

The initial focus of Secular Avenue is SAFE, a program to assist people who are unsafe at home due to leaving religion, religious extremism, domestic abuse, or coming out as LGBTQ. Services include financial assistance, counseling, legal assistance and resource coordination. As Secular Avenue grows, programs will be expanded to help additional demographics.

“Programs serving domestic violence survivors and LGBTQ youth are stretched very thin,” George said. “We will fill a needed gap for secular support, while working with existing organizations such as Recovering from Religion and Ex-Muslims of America to reach people in need.”

Secular Avenue’s values include offering individualized, trauma-informed care based on best practices and needs assessment, effectively using resources to maximize impact, transparency, and stewardship of donated funds. Additionally, Secular Avenue promotes the humanist values of autonomy, human dignity, critical thinking and assistance without religion.

“Our biggest challenge is to raise enough funds to assist everyone who needs our help. Our goal is to raise $30,000 in 2015 so that we can assist every person who comes to us for help achieve safety, stability and autonomy,” said George. “It is our hope that we can provide a meaningful way for atheists to support other atheists.”

Secular Avenue (SA) is 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization that provides support and resources to help people who are unsafe at home achieve safety, stability, and autonomy. SA was founded in 2014 by Noelle George, who serves as the organization’s President and Executive Director. For more information visit: or contact Noelle George at 323.723.3069 or

I think this is a great idea and fills a gap that needs to be filled. I know of so many people who have been in terrible situations at home, having to hide who they are or facing all manner of emotional abuse because they’re atheist or gay, not to mention victims of domestic violence. They often are forced to endure it rather than escape it because they lack the resources and this will help at least some of them find a way out. I strongly urge you all to support this group if you can.

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  • Modusoperandi

    Look, if you Athiests really wanted to support other Athiests, you’d try to lead them to Jesus like the rest of us do.

  • michaellatiolais

    I need an RSS feed of just Modusoperandi’s replies.

  • raven

    I know of so many people who have been in terrible situations at home, having to hide who they are or facing all manner of emotional abuse because they’re atheist or gay,…

    I’m sure most or all of us do. The women’s domestic abuse shelter in my old area is quite, well…popular. A lot of the women come from rural fundie households. I heard this from the staff who don’t quite know how to explain it.

    1. My friend’s father in college read some of her writing and decided she was gay. He was a large male and she was much smaller. He tried to strangle her and almost did until the mother pulled her off.

    Needless to say, that was the end of her parental relationship. She was for good reasons terrified of the guy.

    The irony. She wasn’t the least bit gay. Her problem was being too boy crazy if anything.

  • ttch

    IANAL, but I fear this group is setting itself up for “interference with custody” lawsuits, or worse.

    “Did you individually counsel a minor to deliberately antagonize and/or disobey his or her parents? Evade parental (corporal) discipline? Commit truancy from the parent-selected (Christian) school (which in some states may also legally beat the child)? Avoid sessions with the parent-selected (Christian) counselor? Did you offer material support if they ran away from home or so antagonized their parents that they were refused housing if they continued to disobey (were kicked out)?”

  • raven

    IANAL, but I fear this group is setting itself up for “interference with custody” lawsuits, or worse.

    Maybe. Maybe not.

    Child abuse is illegal in most states. And most states require parents to provide the necessities of life for their children including food, shelter, medical care, and education.

    Got news for you ttch. You can’t neglect or abuse your children legally unless you are faith healing xians in some but not all states. They are considered US citizens and human beings under the law, not property.

    If the parental abuse is flagrant enough, they are setting themselves up for criminal charges.

  • raven

    You can only kill your kids under certain defined conditions in the USA. Being a faith healing fundie xian. But only in some states. One of them used to be Oregon.

    Not any more. Two parents from a notorious cult, General Assembly and Church of the First Born just got…ten years for killing one of their kids.

    Faith-healing parents get 10 years in prison –

    koin. com/…/faith-healing-parents-wenona-travis-rossiter-manslaug…

    Dec 19, 2014 – Judge: Faith-healing beliefs are evidence in trial. ALBANY, Ore. … Three years ago, Oregon changed its law to exclude spiritual treatment as a …

  • ttch
  • Modusoperandi

    ttch “These Are The 19 States That Still Let Public Schools Hit Kids”

    ttch, and? Back when I was a boy, all of us got hit by public schools. My brother even got run over by a gymnasium!

  • magistramarla

    This group needs to get the word out to GSA groups and Secular Student Groups.

    Some of my students were living in fear that their parents would find out that they were gay and felt that they had nowhere to go for help. As a teacher, I could not pass on the name of this group to them, but the students who led the group certainly could.

  • mithrandir

    ttch, these issues are not new; there are plenty of existing organizations intended to help protect LGBTQ youth from parental abuse which have presumably faced all the same parental-rights legal issues. Indeed, any abuse shelter of any kind, especially ones that accept minor victims of parental abuse, would be well advised to retain legal counsel well-trained in family law. Do you have any reason to believe Secular Avenue is ignorant of the legal issues?