The Secular Coalition for America has finally gone public with its new “Secular Values Voter” website.
You might ask: What exactly is a Secular Values Voter?
Secular Values Voters share a commitment to:
Protect our community and our secular government. The U.S. Constitution, the source of our civil rights, establishes a secular government – a unique and intentional construction of our founders. The Constitution provides for a strict separation of church and state, prohibits religious tests for public office, and guarantees equal protection for all Americans under the law. We must challenge claims that our “rights are derived from God,” we are a “Christian nation” and other theocratic fallacies that subvert our system of government.
Campaigns based on issues, not religion. Americans draw their values from a variety of sources, not just faith or religion. As far as voters are concerned, it is important to remember — as clearly demonstrated by the current president — that the prominence of the candidate’s religious credentials has no relationship to the quality of their performance in office. Secular values voters want to know the candidates’ stances on issues that affect the everyday lives of real Americans.
An end to faith-based initiatives. Government funding of religious organizations in the Bush administration has enabled tax-supported proselytism, hiring discrimination, and mediocre social service programs. It’s time to end charitable choice. The American tradition is to allow individuals to voluntarily provide financial support to religious organizations.
A secular military that both defends and reflects our diversity of belief. A growing culture of religious intolerance and proselytizing is developing within our military that jeopardizes the freedoms and safety of non-religious service members, tolerance of the beliefs of non-evangelical Christians, and our standing in the international community. Officers, chaplains, and all members of the military must not be permitted to put their perceived religious obligations above their duty to our secular government.
Public policy based on reason and science. Evidence, rather than faith, must be the driver of public policy decisions. Currently, in policies involving health, education, social services and the environment, religious beliefs have been allowed to trump reason and science. Only with a politically active and vocal secular community can this dangerous trend be reversed.
It’s nice to see the Secular Coalition working to take back the word “values” from the Religious Right. We have as much (if not more) reason to use it.