Secular Coalition for America Seeks Summer Intern

The Secular Coalition for America is looking for an intern this summer. Sounds like a fantastic opportunity for someone:

SCA is seeking a highly motivated undergraduate junior- or senior-level student with a demonstrated interest in being active in the nontheistic movement. The student must live and attend school more than 50 miles outside of the District of Columbia.

SCA is a 501(c)4 advocacy organization whose purpose is to amplify the diverse and growing voice of the nontheistic community in the United States. Located in Washington, D.C., our staff lobbies U.S. Congress about issues of special concern to our constituency and advocates for the separation of church and state.

The internship will provide activities and opportunities to learn about, assist with, and work with the four main areas of SCA’s office: lobbying and advocacy, grassroots and outreach, development and fundraising, and media relations and social media networking.

If you’re an atheist looking to get involved with politics in some way, this may be perfect for you. All the information can be found here and the application is just waiting to be filled out! The deadline is February 18th.

  • Jeffrey

    Either the article you’re quoting is wrong, or you mean “an atheist not living near DC”. The quote says more than 50 miles outside, not less.

    (Hemant says: You’re correct. The press release was right and I was wrong. The post now reads correctly. Thanks!)

  • http://girlofthegaps.blogspot.com/ Nicole Schrand

    One of the requirements is at least one reference from the nontheistic community… What exactly do they want, there? A letter from the leader of my university’s student group? Or are they expecting someone more well-known?

  • http://www.meetup.com/beltwayatheists Shelley Mountjoy

    Actually, Hemant, they are looking for an atheists living outside of DC (more than 50 miles.) Housing is included.

  • http://st-eutychus.com Nathan

    So you’re saying you can’t have this job if you’re a theist? Sounds discriminatory to me.

  • Sean Santos

    So you’re saying you can’t have this job if you’re a theist? Sounds discriminatory to me.

    a) The purpose of SCA is to promote the “nontheistic” community. I don’t actually see a section stating that the intern can’t be a believer, it’s just that they probably are expecting mostly nontheist applicants.

    b) I don’t see how it’s different from any other nonprofit lobbying organization. Should Christian groups be required to hire Muslims? Should groups for the advancement of racial minorities not be allowed to have minority-specific internships? And, of course, churches are not required to hire atheist ministers (or gay ones, or women, or black ones, at least in the U.S.).

    c) From a legal perspective, the SCA is covered by Title VII in the Civil Rights Act, which allows exceptions for both religious groups and nonprofit organizations with private membership (the SCA is such a nonprofit under 501(​c)4). The SCA is not treated differently from organizations for the advancement of Christians (Mormon, Catholic, or otherwise), Jews, women, racial minorities… or even the Council of Conservative Citizens, which is a rather racist nonprofit under 501(​c)3, and is thus not required to hire non-white members. These exemptions are necessary due to the very strong First Amendment protections for belief and political action (freedoms of religion, speech, and association).

  • http://st-eutychus.com Nathan

    Hi Sean,

    I fear you’ve taken my tongue in cheek comment a little too seriously. There have been people on occasion (in threads on this site) who have suggested that the churches/Christian organisations you’ve described in b are discriminating when they choose not to hire atheists or homosexuals…

  • Sean Santos

    There have been people on occasion (in threads on this site) who have suggested that the churches/Christian organisations you’ve described in b are discriminating when they choose not to hire atheists or homosexuals…

    Well, perhaps I’ve helped by providing a reminder of how discrimination laws actually work. Everyone wins! (Except black people who want to join the CCC, and atheist Mormon clergy.) (Incidentally, if the CCC didn’t want to be seen as racist, maybe they shouldn’t have picked an acronym that sounded like the KKK (but much of their membership actually came from the KKK and explicitly “white” organizations anyway, so maybe it was still a good rebranding).)

  • Sean Santos

    To be fair, I’m refreshing my knowledge of U.S. constitutional law, and the law is also kind of fuzzy with respect to individual state laws, and outside the realm of organizations devoted primarily to lobbying and politics. For instance, Bob Jones University had to accept black students (or lose federal tax-exempt status), and several nonprofit clubs have had to accept women due to state laws (not Title VII). On the other hand, the Boy Scouts don’t have to accept gay people or atheists, and some St. Patrick’s Day parades have been allowed to bar gay groups even if they let essentially everyone else in. Officially, the test seems to be whether an organization is engaging in “expressive association”, that is, whether they are sending a specific message using membership (such as “don’t be gay, kids”), as opposed to inventing discriminatory membership rules solely out of prejudice or caving to social pressure. Of course, other people think that this is bunk and that it’s really just a matter of who’s on the Supreme Court and how much they like the parties involved. But someone is always going to say that about every case they don’t like anyway. Oh, politics.

  • Claudia

    @Nathan, if I’m remembering such threads correctly, the issue with discrimination against gays by religious organizations is that those organizations had tax-exempt or even in some cases were subsidized by the federal government, so that the US tax-payer was effectively subsidizing discrimination.

    It does get tricky though. Private groups aren’t allowed to not hire blacks, even if there is no tax-payer money involved. ENDA, which would end discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation, explicitly excludes religious groups from these rules. So apparently bigotry in the name of god is still A-OK.

    In any event this internship does not explicitly exclude theists. You do have to have a demonstrated track record of working for nontheist issues though, which lowers the possibility of a theist applying rather drastically. Still, if some Unitarian Humanist deist had a track-record of working for our rights and applied I don’t see why there would be the slightest issue with hiring them.

  • Robert W.

    Nathan’s tongue and cheek comment has raised a more serious question and that is the right to hire or not hire someone based upon their belief system.

    On another thread people are discussing Belmont University and how horrible it is that as a private Baptist University they should be forced to hire people regardless of their sexual orientation. Okay let’s grant that. However, should they be forced to hire someone who goes against their stance on moral behavior? That is two different issues entirely.

    In this instance, I don’t think that this organization should be forced to hire someone who believes in God as it goes against everything that the organization is supporting. Just like I don’t think that a religious organization should be forced to hire someone that engages in behavior that goes against their moral beliefs. It would be like a person who believes in open marriage working for Focus on the Family.

  • bernerbits

    Nathan’s tongue and cheek comment

    Tongue-in-cheek. The more you know…

    However, should they be forced to hire someone who goes against their stance on moral behavior? That is two different issues entirely.

    I’d say exercising any kind of moral judgment as grounds for hiring or firing is discriminatory. The only thing you should really be considering is whether or not the person is qualified and well-suited to the job in question.

  • bernerbits

    In this instance, I don’t think that this organization should be forced to hire someone who believes in God as it goes against everything that the organization is supporting. Just like I don’t think that a religious organization should be forced to hire someone that engages in behavior that goes against their moral beliefs. It would be like a person who believes in open marriage working for Focus on the Family.

    I completely agree. In these cases, it’s entirely a matter of qualification. A polyamorous person is unqualified to work for an organization that actively promotes the nuclear family as superior to all other family units.


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