The Atheist Lobby’s New Executive Director is a Female Republican Strategist Who Used to Work for George W. Bush

… and my interview with her is below.

After Sean Faircloth left his post as Executive Director of the Secular Coalition for America last September to begin working for the Richard Dawkins Foundation for Reason and Science (RDFRS), SCA leaders have been on the search for their next director.

Today, they’re announcing their selection. She’s a bold choice, sure to grab headlines, and she may just be the ideal person for the job.

Edwina Rogers

Edwina Rogers has spent twenty years working in Washington as a lawyer and lobbyist. She was seriously considered to be a cast member on Bravo’s “The Real Housewives of DC” (more on that in a bit). More recently, she was the Executive Director of the Patient Centered Primary Care Collaborative. Perhaps most importantly, she has more than just a foot in the door of Republican circles — not usually thought of as a welcome place for atheists:

From 2001-2002, Rogers served as an Economic Advisor for President George W. Bush at the White House, at the National Economic Council, where she focused on health and social security policy. She also worked on International Trade matters for President George H. W. Bush at the Department of Commerce from 1989 until 1991.

Rogers served as General Counsel to the National Republican Senatorial Committee in 1994. She worked for Senator Lott while he was Majority Leader in 1999 and she handled health policy for Senator Sessions in 2003 and 2004. She practiced law in the Washington office of Balch and Bingham from 1991 until 1994.

She’s also appeared on several news outlets, including both MSNBC and FOX News Channel (check out the clip below beginning at the 1:42 mark).

So can a “Republican strategist” — a person who worked closely with über-conservative senators Trent Lott and Jeff Sessions — properly lead an organization representing Secular Americans?

I was a little skeptical…

I also had a lot of questions for Rogers and, to her credit, she responded to all of them.

You have an extensive political resume… with the GOP. You worked for Senator Trent Lott when he was Majority Leader. You handled health policy for Senator Jeff Sessions. You were a General Counsel to the National Republican Senatorial Committee in 1994 (the year Newt Gingrich made headlines for his role in the Republican takeover of Congress). Put very bluntly, you’ve worked for the “other side” for decades.

Why should we trust you now to work for us after a career spent working for people who seem to be actively against us?

I think it’s a misconception that the majority of Republicans are lined up against the secular movement. As someone who has been an insider within the Republican Party, I’m certain it’s not the consensus of the majority of Republicans to have an [overt] influence of religion on our laws. Having said that, no one agrees with everyone they work with on every single issue. In these roles I never worked on anything having to do with issues of religion — I worked primarily on economic issues.

People are going to do a double-take when they hear a Republican strategist is now the leader of an organization working on behalf of atheists… what do you hope the public reaction will be?

I hope it will be a positive reaction and one that gets everyone thinking about the right direction for the secular movement. Often times, problems are arising from the conservative side and that’s one reason why it’s important to include both sides. The majority of the gubernatorial positions and state legislatures are controlled by Republicans. The Religious Right is a segment of the Republican Party — but it’s not a majority within the party and it certainly does not represent a majority of Americans. It’s a very active, vocal part of the Republican base, but it’s a minority.

I do think that for the vast majority of conservatives and Republicans, they are true believers of secularism — the majority of Republicans believe in the separation of church and state. Many of them are simply laissez faire about the issues, which gives us an opening to recruit them to the movement. Just within the last few months, talking to all my Republican conservative friends, the majority of them are in line with our thinking. They can be recruited, they just haven’t been active.

So, there is tremendous potential — in both parties, but especially with Republicans because there hasn’t been a major outreach to them in the past. There are a lot of leaders that would be interested in our big picture message. They may not support 100%, but even if they support 50%, that helps us when it comes to our efforts on Capitol Hill.

I don’t know if you’re an atheist — and I don’t even know if it really matters in your role as long as you can advocate for our cause — but what label do you use to describe your religious beliefs?

I am a nontheist and have always been a strong secularist and a firm believer in the separation of religion and government. I’m not a fan of labels though, because I feel like it creates unnecessary division within the movement. I agree with the mission of the Secular Coalition for America one hundred percent.

What prompted you to apply for the job of Executive Director of the SCA?

I was drawn to the position because of the opportunity to expand the secular movement. This is a segment of the population that is underrepresented and I think there’s a tremendous opportunity for expansion. I think I can make a big difference.

Can Republicans in Congress ever be receptive to our cause? Do you think your own background can help in that matter?

The answers are yes and yes. Last month I participated in SCA’s Lobby Day for Reason and was received very warmly by the offices of several high profile Republican U.S. Representatives. There have been times in my past as a lobbyist, where I was thrown out of politicians’ offices when they didn’t like my message — this wasn’t one of them. There is definitely an opening there, and we are going to work to make our issues known and widely accepted by those on both sides.

My Republican background will help open certain doors. The sky is really the limit. Good work has been done but it’s only a foundation, and now we’re going to build a skyscraper. On the top of my agenda for this year will be meeting with every U.S. House and Senate office, as well as the appropriate committees. We are going to educate them on the downside of allowing laws to be based on religion and faith and not reason and science.

Conservatives tend to believe there is room for religion in politics while liberals tend to want them separated. What do you think is the appropriate mix of church and state? (Should the President be hosting prayer breakfasts? Should the Office of Faith-based and Neighborhood Partnerships be expanded? Should invocations be given before city council meetings or Congressional sessions?)

We need to strive to have an absolute division between religion and government, but keep in mind that we need to be respectful and open to people of all faiths and none. No one — religious or non-religious — should be excluded from the conversation. But ultimately, the laws shouldn’t be based on a religious perspective.

On which issues do you think the SCA can get the most traction with political leaders?

I think in the near future, chances are good to make inroads on issues surrounding health and safety (things like stem cell research — because the upside is so tremendous), discrimination (especially in the military), fairness in tax policy, emphasizing a pro-science based education in public schools and tempering religious extremism — these are things the average American can really relate with.

Similarly, what can we reasonably expect the SCA to accomplish with a Congress that continues to move in a more conservative direction?

We can expect a more educated Congress on the core issues that matter to the secular movement. With a strong voice from the nontheist side, voting members in the future will be armed with important information that simply was not accessible in the past. The sad reality is that staff members don’t always have time to research both sides of an issue unless it’s sitting right in front of them. We have not always been there to make the opposition case. In the future, we will be that strong voice coming in and urging them to look at the repercussions and downsides of religiously based laws. I truly believe that once we do that, many members will think twice.

What do you believe the SCA has to do to become a more powerful force in politics?

We have a whole list of specific goals to be accomplished that will definitely produce measurable results with regard to our access and results with decision makers. We will do this in a number of ways, but largely through coalition building and messaging.

By the end of the year, we will have up and running coalitions in all 50 states. And we will unify those coalition members with a master secular calendar, a national weekly secular movement update call, and biweekly legislative and regulatory calls with featured government policy decision makers and speakers. We also have an aggressive plan to greatly expand the participation in the movement by increasing the number of member endorsing organizations and allied organizations.

Additionally, we will begin to establish relationships with all the legislative committees, Congressional and Senate offices, as well as the Executive branch officials at the appropriate departments.

Finally, we will begin hosting policy summits and continue our lobby days. Policy summits will feature legislative and regulatory officials. We will also begin producing persuasive policy issue and advocacy summaries, along with research papers that we can use on the Hill to advocate our positions.

Have you always supported the secular cause? If so, has that ever hurt you in your political career?

I have always supported the secular cause, and I do not feel it has ever hurt my political career at all. I have had disagreements with fundamentalists belonging to most of the world’s major religions, but I am still able to work with them. Even though I may disagree with them, it’s a respectful disagreement, so it hasn’t gotten in the way of anything I want to accomplish.

What was your experience like during law school at The Catholic University of America? With regards to church/state separation and health care, were you ever taught anything there you actively opposed?

The far majority of the law students there were not Catholic and the professors were well known experts in their respective fields. I really only had one troubling situation with one professor — a priest who taught Constitutional Law based on the Church’s interpretation of the Constitution.

You were almost cast on “The Real Housewives of DC” — and made a couple of memorable cameos during the one season the show aired. Now that the series is over, do you wish you had been cast?

The producers of the show courted me to be a full time cast member, but I declined for a variety of reasons, the first being that I did not have time for the rigorous taping schedule. Also, I don’t consider myself a “housewife” — I work! However, they asked me if I would be willing to attend a few of their events and I am always up for a good event!

There’s a video on YouTube of you wrapping gifts in sheets made of real dollar bills… I don’t have a question for that. I’d just love to hear your thoughts on it since it’s been a few years since all that happened. (I mean, you had to realize the PR ramifications…)

The clip on the Internet is a 30 second snippet of a much larger program (and a feature in the Washington Post) that focused on the “gift limit” that all gifts to government employees could not exceed. At the time, the limit on gifts to most government employees was around $20 and we were always looking for unique gifts for government speakers at conferences that represented the United States. Many of us in Washington lived this constant search for finding unique gifts, special to America that are very inexpensive. If you give a gift of a letter opener, or something else with a value of $15, wrapping it in American money makes it a little more unique and memorable, but still keeps it under the $20 limit. Ironically, the purpose of the program was just the opposite of what someone might think by watching that clip on YouTube. Of course, now gifts are no longer allowed to most government employees.

One of the issues the atheist community has struggled with, especially lately, has been getting more women involved in our movement. Do you think your role with the SCA can help change that?

Of course, I think me being female will help recruit women and I am going to make it a priority to get more women involved. I will be speaking at the Women in Secularism conference on the 19th of this month.

There will inevitably a lot more publicity and stories about Rogers in the coming days, but I’m hopeful that her background gives us exactly what we need — a strong voice, coming from an unexpected place, that endorses the visibility and respectability of non-theistic viewpoints.

About Hemant Mehta

Hemant Mehta is the editor of Friendly Atheist, appears on the Atheist Voice channel on YouTube, and co-hosts the uniquely-named Friendly Atheist Podcast. You can read much more about him here.

  • Simon

    What does she mean by “fairness in tax policy” ?

    • Nick Fish

      She is talking about fairness in the way that our government treats 501(c)(3) nonprofits, 501(c)(4) advocacy groups, and churches with respect to filing requirements. Particularly Form 990, which requires groups with tax exemptions to be open and transparent with their finances. 

      Basically, if groups want the tax exemption (and for gifts made to you to be tax deductible for donors), they should all have the same filing requirements. No special privileges for religious groups.

    • http://www.facebook.com/liberalism Katie Hartman

      My question, too.

      Conservative economic policy generally takes the highest toll on the poor – and on women and many ethnic minorities, who are disproportionately represented in ‘the poor.’ I’m curious to see how the pro-diversity atheists react.

    • Rohen

      I’m hoping she means that churches, mosques, temples, etc. should pay taxes. 

      • Nick Fish

        Or they should have the same reporting requirements as other nonprofits. 

  • JJ Astor

    You just got schooled, Mehta.

    It’s ridiculous how so many Americans always equate Republicanism with conservative Christianity. Give me a break.

    • Kaoru Negisa

      You say that as if a vast majority of elected Republicans don’t act primarily in the interests of conservative Christians. Yes, there are outliers, but all you have to do is read this blog to see how the GOP agenda is designed to cater primarily to conservative Christians. I’m not sure what point your trying to make, but I submit as evidence over 500 anti-abortion bills between Congress and the states, wide-spread support for anti-contraception measures (e.g. the Blunt-Rubio amendment), the return of the Ten Commandments judge in Alabama (who won his primary), and numerous claims by elected officials that this is a “Christian Nation”.

      I’ll agree that “always” is inaccurate, but I don’t think “usually” would be a stretch.

      • advancedatheist

         all you have to do is read this blog to see how the GOP agenda is designed to cater primarily to conservative Christians. 

        Oh, piffle. These Republican politicians can bad-mouth atheists all they want. Have you ever hear one say that we atheists, along with gays, Hollywood bohemians and other caricatures in their demonology, don’t deserve tax cuts, fewer regulations on our businesses and the right to own firearms and buy ammunition for them? The fact that they trust atheists, especially, with money, wealth and guns shows that they don’t really consider us a threat to society. 

        • Kaoru Negisa

          I think they assume they can safely give us money that we’ll promptly give back because it says “In God We Trust” on it.

        • AnonymousSam

          Erm, as recent state laws go, they also trust ex-boyfriends who have violated restraining orders and are stalking their exs with guns. :p

        • Behr121002

           Oh really advanced…?   If you’ll recall, George H.W. Bush publicly said that he didn’t think atheists should be considered citizens or patriots since we are ‘..one nation under God.’

           I think this is reflective of MANY if not most  Republicans certainly, and perhaps even a good number of Democrats as well.

          BTW, nice job defending the points Kaoru.

          • Kaoru Negisa

             Thank you. And I think he was being facetious with this post, hence my facetious reply. %)

    • eonL5

      IMHO, you’re both right and wrong. We do have that knee-jerk assumption, and shouldn’t, but I think that mainstream Republicans would do well to speak up against the religious radicals in their ranks. Letting the vocal minority take over their agenda and their “message” is allowing the rest of the world to view the radical Christians as the core and heart of Republicanism.

      But related to that, another question: what are the actual numbers, there? Edwina states that the wingnuts are a minority. But are they? Really? Lets see some data.

    • Forrest Cahoon

       Oops, cliked “like” by mistake when I meant to reply. It’s difficult not to equate Republicanism with the Christian Right when every serious candidate for the presidency (back when there were a lot of ‘em) spoke at convicted felon Ralph Reed’s Value Voters Summit — as if they had to in order to be taken seriously by the Republican rank and file. Give me a break.

    • The Vicar

      On the basis that we should judge by results, rather than rhetoric, Republicanism is conservative Christianity, frighteningly bad foreign policy, frighteningly bad domestic policy, childishly stupid and irresponsible fiscal policy, a worship of authoritarianism, and a general kowtowing towards greed and superstition.

      There may be some small percentage of peanut M&Ms which get through the conveyor belt without actually containing a peanut, but people who are allergic to peanuts don’t buy a bag of them hoping to find those rare few.

    • Lucilius

      Yeah, when our only evidence is the 40 years Republican candidates have spent sucking up to the fanatics …

    • http://twitter.com/FelyxLeiter Felyx Leiter

      I entered “marriage” in GOP.gov’s website.  Not a single item about Republicans standing up for same-sex couples’ right to marry.  Well over half of them referenced GOP bills to defend “traditional marriage” (including articles about Rep. Peter King calling Iowa a “gay marriage Mecca”).  How ridiculous that anyone would associate this with conservative Christianity, right?  I’m sure they had completely valid secular reasons to put so much time and energy into fighting gay marriage, which they’ll disclose to us any time now.  You can also type in “abortion” and the search will yield countless results about exclusively pro-life measures, defunding Planned Parenthood, tales of Obama covering abortions with taxpayer dollars.  Again, I’m sure it has nothing to do with pandering to a conservative Christian mindset.  Oh, you can also type in “god,” and the HUGE list of articles ranges from the GOP going after NBC for omitting “under God” when broadcasting the US Open, to footage of congressmen being thankful to God in their floor speeches, to 20+ articles about reaffirming “In God We Trust” as a national motto (including the first article, which encourages the public display of this motto in all public buildings and schools).  Oh, and several pro-life articles also appear under “god,” but surely that’s a coincidence.
      Seriously, why would anyone associate the Republican party with conservative Christianity?

    • http://user-illusion.myopenid.com/ user illusion


      It’s ridiculous how so many Americans always equate Republicanism with conservative Christianity. Give me a break.”

      As here, the phrase “give me a break” is frequently preceded by something grossly intellectually dishonest and stupid. No one anywhere, and certainly not Mehta, claims that all Republicans are conservative Christians.

  • noyourgod

    She may be what we need now – an insider lobbyist who can push the Separation of Church and State.

    But god damn she REEKS of GOP/Conservative excesses – especially that “wrapping in money” bullshit.  Sure, keep the gift under $20, but wrap it in $25 (wink wink).   And the whole “Housewives” baloney – that means she may have been on when the White House gate crasher was on…. sorry, but I cannot condone ANYTHING that is even remotely related to that.

    This one has to fall into the “wait and see” category.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_K5KGZH6OZGNABUMZRJA46XUMXE Brad

    Even thought I’m a Democrat, I think this is a shrewd move by the SCA.

  • Paula Jarvis

    As an atheist libertarian Republican, I’m delighted to hear that a Republican woman is now heading the Secular Coalition for America!!!!

  • Kaoru Negisa

    Sorry, but I’m incredibly skeptical of this.

    “I think it’s a misconception that the majority of Republicans are lined up against the secular movement. “Evidence? She points to her insider status, and I think it’s highly likely that there are plenty of elected members of the GOP who believe in secular government. However, their personal feelings are absolutely meaningless if their policy positions don’t match them. I don’t much care what Darrell Issa believes in the privacy of his own home or how Tom Harkin feels about secular government in his heart of hearts. Their votes and their policies reveal something else. It doesn’t much matter to me how the GOP electorate thinks on these issues so long as they keep electing religious fanatics to office.

    “It’s a very active, vocal part of the Republican base, but [the religious right is] a minority.”

    This is a meaningless statement. It doesn’t matter if it’s a majority or one person. If the party’s policy positions match their agenda, then the GOP is in the pockets of the religious right.

    “I do think that for the vast majority of conservatives and Republicans, they are true believers of secularism — the majority of Republicans believe in the separation of church and state.”

    Evidence? I see a party in which a Republican can’t get past a primary without swearing their undying allegiance to Jesus and people who attempt to buck the trend and oppose purely religious policies (e.g. Jon Huntsman’s acceptance of science, Richard Grenell being openly gay and a supporter of marriage equality being forced out of his position, GOProud being excluded from CPAC while white supremacists VDARE are invited, etc.) are marginalized and pushed out of the party. I have about as much faith in this invisible, silent majority as I do in an invisible, silent deity.

    I respect where she’s coming from, and I really hope she will be successful. I think it’s a good thing that she’s reaching out to people who might not otherwise be on the side of separation of church and state. But let’s be real here: this is not an education problem. Do you think John McCain and Steve King  have simply never heard of the Treaty of Tripoli? Are we under the impression that J. Randy Forbes is unaware of the years of Court rulings supporting the concept? Does Miss Rogers think the big problem is that the benefits of secular government just have never been explained to members of the GOP? That seems naive at best.

    I like what she has to say and I do hope she’s effective, but I remain highly skeptical that her outreach is going to be successful or that reason can break the hold of the religious right on the Republican party except in terms of reducing their numbers through convincing them to abandon superstition. So long as they’re a motivated and effective voting block, politicians will still kowtow to their every whim.

    I’ve been wrong in the past, though, and I hope I am now, too.

    • http://www.facebook.com/liberalism Katie Hartman

      It might be that it’s easier to make inroads with Republican politicians than with their constituents, but that’s just something we’d have to take on her word. Anyone can glance at the polling data and see that a vast majority of conservatives are actively opposed to the very existence of atheists in public life and generally supportive of theocratic law, insofar as it can be assumed to be Christian.

      • Reginald Selkirk

        It might be that it’s easier to make inroads with Republican politicians than with their constituents,

        Uh right. Those politicians are going to take positions that their constituents view as getting in bed with Satan.

      • http://www.bullshitexpress.com Izzy

         Unfortunately the constituents are the ones electing politicians that are nuttier and nuttier. 

      • http://user-illusion.myopenid.com/ user illusion


        that’s just something we’d have to take on her word”

        Why would any self-respecting skeptic take her on her word on anything?

    • Reginald Selkirk

       “It’s a common misconception of mediocre minds that squids must live in water.”

    • http://user-illusion.myopenid.com/ user illusion

      The woman is a professional liar, so it’s hard to know if she believes any of what she says. But regardless of what she believes, it is a serious mistake to hire as the executive director of the SCA someone who refers to “the Democrat Party”.

      • http://www.facebook.com/kestertaylor Christopher Taylor

        “But regardless of what she believes, it is a serious mistake to hire as the executive director of the SCA someone who refers to ‘the Democrat Party’.”

        That is a logical fallacy if I’ve ever seen one.

    • http://user-illusion.myopenid.com/ user illusion

      “this is not an education problem”

      As Chris Mooney points out in “The Republican Brain”, the more educated a conservative is, the more intransigent they are likely to be in their views.

    • http://www.facebook.com/kestertaylor Christopher Taylor

      I’m skeptical too, but with respect, I think what Tom Harkin and Darrell Issa think in their heart of hearts does matter.

      Rogers didn’t come out and say this explicitly in the interview, but I think what she may have been getting at (particularly when she talked about “coalition building” and lobbying) was this: 

      The religiously unaffiliated make up a huge minority in this country, but we are physically and culturally isolated, and politically marginalized and disorganized.  If we managed to overcome those obstacles, we could wield a lot of political power: enough, perhaps, to counterbalance some of the worst effects of the Religious Right.  And in that sphere, we have an advantage: the average American is with us.  Most Americans like sex, scientific advances, and contraception, and don’t go to church every Sunday.  

      Remember, too, how secular the governments are in the rest of the Western world.  The “Conservative” parties throughout the EU are consistently more libertarian than their American counterparts.  Look at the UK right now: David Cameron and some other Tories are leading the charge on gay marriage rights.  

      It doesn’t have to be this way.  The Republican party has gone majorly far to the right socially in the past four years.  If we can show them that we’re not someone you can write off–not just a rounding error–who’s to say we can’t shift things the other direction?  One thing’s for certain: we won’t do it if we assume from the start that it’s impossible, and don’t even try.  

  • The Other Weirdo

    Queue the paranoia!

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Bruce-Wright/1451447525 Bruce Wright

    I do think this is a shrewd move.  Maybe they can change their name to “Log Cabin Atheists”.  Either that or “Chickens for Colonel Sanders.”

    But, or course, unlike LCR, this is not a group of atheists working to elect Republicans.  Rather it’s a group looking to LOBBY Republicans (and Dems and Independents).  Which is SMART.

    “I think in the near future, chances are good to make inroads on
    issues surrounding health and safety (things like stem cell research —
    because the upside is so tremendous), discrimination (especially in the
    military), fairness in tax policy, emphasizing a pro-science based
    education in public schools and tempering religious extremism — these
    are things the average American can really relate with.”

    Honestly, I think Rogers is describing a past generation of Republicans.  I think the only “Republican” I’ve ever heard championing Stem Cells is Nancy Reagan.  Pro-science Republicans went out of vogue 20 years ago.   Reality has become a fungible commodity within Republicanism today.

  • http://www.dougberger.net Doug B.

    I would like to see what she can do. I am worried but interested. Some of my GOP friends keep telling me how small the religious right is inside the GOP but I never see them speak out about it publicly.

    • Kaoru Negisa

      (All references to “you” other that at the beginning are generic, not specifically aimed at anyone)

      I mean no disrespect to your GOP friends, but they’re making a misleading argument, one that Ms. Rogers made above and that I keep hearing. It doesn’t matter how small the religious right is. It could be composed entirely of Tony Perkins, Matt Barber, Fred Phelps, and a Ronald Reagan puppet that can dance the rhumba. The point is that they are in complete control of that party, minority or not.
      I have friends who are registered and vote Republican, too. However, I make it perfectly clear to them that their personal opinions are absolutely meaningless in comparison to their votes. I don’t much care that you have no problem with me as a bisexual: you vote for me being a second class citizen. I don’t really give a damn that you have no personal problem with atheists: you vote for people who want to push sectarian religion. Protesting that “Well, *I* don’t believe X” is a pointless attempt to absolve themselves of any guilt for making sure that those things happen anyway.

      If they really don’t want to be considered a reflection of the religious right, then stop voting for Republicans that bow to every wish of the religious right. Run secular Republicans in primaries and vote for them. Otherwise, I don’t want to hear, “Of course I don’t want creationism taught in schools” when you vote for people who will put creationism in schools.

      • http://www.dougberger.net Doug B.

         I agree just like I wonder why gay people continue to attend churches full of people who want to take away what little rights they have

        • http://user-illusion.myopenid.com/ user illusion

          Like attending church at all is rational?

    • http://profiles.google.com/mattand08 Matt Andrews

      That’s the problem right there. They either too scared to rock the boat, or they comfortable getting back into power regardless of who they work with.

      Moderate Republicans need to grow a goddamn spine, assuming that they even exist.

  • Reginald Selkirk

     As someone who has been an insider within the Republican Party, I’m
    certain it’s not the consensus of the majority of Republicans to have an
    [overt] influence of religion on our laws.

    She’s clueless.

    Often times, problems are arising from the conservative side and that’s one reason why it’s important to include both sides.

    In the wise words of Richard Dawkins, “sometimes one side can be wrong.”

    The Religious Right is a segment of the Republican Party — but it’s
    not a majority … It’s a very active, vocal part of the Republican
    base, but it’s a minority.

    How many of the GOP presidential candidates believe in evolution?

    • http://www.facebook.com/people/Arthur-Bryne/100002441143047 Arthur Bryne

      Candidates aren’t quite the same as the overall base. Contrariwise, rejection of evolution (specifically, humans developing from earlier animals) runs about 2:1 among strong republicans, and circa 3:2 among the not-so-strong.

      Still, she’s correct; the “Biblically Inerrant” crowd is higher among the GOP, but even for strong republicans falls short of a plurality.

      • Denis

        “Biblically Inerrant” Religious Right. Catholics are not inerrantists, but those that are Republicans are definitely part of the Religious Right. She’s completely wrong: the Religious Right constitutes the largest single group within the GOP, and controls the agenda. They definitely make up more than 50% of the current GOP elected representatives at the Federal level, and probably even more so at the State level.

        • John D

           sources Denis – or it isn’t so!

          • http://user-illusion.myopenid.com/ user illusion


             sources Denis – or it isn’t so!”

            Do you actually believe this absurd fallacy?

        • Kaoru Negisa

           I agree with John. You’re throwing out numbers, please support them. Thank you.

          • http://www.facebook.com/people/Arthur-Bryne/100002441143047 Arthur Bryne

            Source for the numbers I’m throwing out is the General Social Survey; you can access the data on-line via Berkeley’s web interface. Respondents political identification is variable PARTYID; the evolution question is EVOLVED (one of about a dozen on science topics in use of late); the Inerrant/Inspired/Fable/whatnot question on the Bible is BIBLE;  the question on the Supreme Court prayer cases is PRAYER; and you’ll probably want to filter by YEAR, with 2010 the most recent that’s been released. (2012 data is still being collected.) There’s a lot of other variables that might be of further interest.

            The raw GSS dataset can be downloaded in entirety from NORC in formats for SPSS or STATA. If you (like most people) don’t have one of those on your computer, the open-source statistical package R can import the data, and is freely downloadable for Windows, Mac, and Linux. I find the Berkeley interface handier for quick checks, myself.

            • Kaoru Negisa

               OK, these numbers do seem to support your claim. Thank you very much. Adding this to my bookmarks.

          • http://user-illusion.myopenid.com/ user illusion

            You agree with John that, if sources aren’t given for claim P, then not P follows? How incredibly stupid, and intellectually dishonest. Note that no one asked Arthur for sources for his claims of 2:1 and 3:2. Neither he nor Denis had any intellectual obligation to provide support of well established facts. If you’re unfamiliar with the evidentiary support for a claim, you can say that and nicely ask for it.

            • Kaoru Negisa

               I only agree that without sources, numbers become dubious. Sources were provided. I think this was a matter of tone being lost in translation, but I was trying to be nice by using “please” and “thank you.” I’m not being sarcastic when I say that I can see how on the internet that doesn’t necessarily mean politeness, but it was intended as such and I’m sorry if I was unclear.

        • http://www.facebook.com/people/Arthur-Bryne/100002441143047 Arthur Bryne

          It does depend on how you define the measure of “religious right”.

          However… in particular (as PZ notes), her stance on school prayer is less than desirable; and the majority of the GOP still oppose the Supreme Court rulings prohibiting teachers from leading students in prayer, roughly 2:1.

          • http://user-illusion.myopenid.com/ user illusion

            Thanks. Another thing she in incorrect about is her pronunciation of “the Democrat[ic] Party”.

    • http://www.facebook.com/gregm766 Gregory Marshall

       The current one does (Mitt). Not saying I am in line with Republican thinking, but, well he does.

  • I_Claudia

    I will not pretend that I’m not skeptical of this.

    Her statements appear to imply that the percieved antipathy of the GOP towards atheists and church-state separation is all a big misunderstanding, and that in fact Republicans are really friendly and perfectly open to us and our ideals.

    Gee, I wonder how we could ever have misunderstood them so much

    Maybe it’s from when they’ve tried in a thousand different ways, big and small, to control pregnancy based on their religious views.

    Or when they want to base the definition of marriage on their religious views.

    Or when they can’t go for more than a minute without talking about “Christian values”.

    Or when they try to insert nonscience into the classroom.

    I’m hopeful Ms Rogers turns out well and of course I’m aware there are conservative atheists, but right now I’m just crossing my fingers that we’re not about to get our own Karen Handel (of Komen for the cure infamy).

    • http://www.facebook.com/people/Chris-Leithiser/593361421 Chris Leithiser

      This

      http://maddowblog.msnbc.msn.com/_news/2012/05/03/11520589-they-didnt-want-to-confront-the-religious-right?lite

      Is how they stand up to the tiny, “religious right” portion of their membership.

    • Revyloution

      To all the skeptics,  I was a card carrying Republican up until the past 8 or so years. I still think the economic arguments of conservative thought have some value.   I hear her arguments, and the reflect my own from a few years past.  Remember, Regan never had a war on women.  Nixon started the EPA.   The Republican party has been hijacked by far too many extremists recently.  I’m more than willing to give her the benefit of the doubt, and watch how this all unfolds. 

      • http://user-illusion.myopenid.com/ user illusion

        That is all irrelevant to what you’re responding to.

    • Hibernia86

      What could she possibly do? Begin pushing Ayn Rand economics into our platform? She can’t try to oppose gay marriage or first trimester abortion because these things are too central to our beliefs. The reason why Karen Handel got away with what she did was because Komen for the Cure did not deal directly with abortion which is why Karen Handel was able to try to break away from Planned Parenthood on the side.If Komen for the Cure had dealt specificially with abortion, Karen Handel never would have gotten close to doing what she did.

    • http://www.facebook.com/kestertaylor Christopher Taylor

      In fairness, I think it’s worth pointing out that Komen for the Cure, is by all accounts, not much of a real charity organization; so little of their proceeds go to actually funding cancer research it’s laughable.  Yes, Karen Handel was an embarrassment for them (and an even bigger one to my home state), but they didn’t have a particularly strong ethical foundation.

      The SCA, by contrast, is not an organization swollen with money or marketing deals, but it does have a pedigree of integrity.  And though Ms. Rogers does come off to me as a bit disingenuous, particularly in her video and TV appearances, if she’s serious about the job, I think her connections could be a valuable asset that would open a lot of doors for actually getting things done.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Scott-Rhoades/100000175617377 Scott Rhoades

    Whether or not many Republicans may agree that a secular government is a good thing or not they still feel a need to pander to the religious right when it comes to pieces of legislature that cross the church/state line and during election season. Education is good but self-interest will trump it almost every time.

  • Thegoodman

    I think this is a good move on the political front. No doubt a used-car salesman lobbyist will do her damndest to sell secularism to corrupt politicians to gain traction and ultimately get results.

    I am skeptical because I would like to think the secular movement would take the higher road and not play the political game. We are losing our battle because we don’t participate in the childish and corrupt politics of Washington.

    I would prefer to win the moral battle and lose the political war. SCA has chosen the latter IMO.

    • Kaoru Negisa

      The moral battle requires fighting the political war. Politics is a corrupting influence, but that does not make all participants in it corrupt. There is no afterlife in which we will be rewarded for our martyrdom, so we have to fight the battle to make this life better, for ourselves and future generations.

      That being said, we don’t have to compromise our values in order to be effective in politics. We can decide what’s important and not budge from those principles, but still be effective politically because of that. 

      • Thegoodman

         I do agree with the words you said. But I also feel that her addition to SCA is a compromise of our values.

        While I may not officially be a part of SCA, I am a part of the secular movement to which she speaks for. I also do not want a “political insider” leading our movement who works for the highest bidder. Her past involvement with people I do not respect enough to even shake hands with, let along work for, makes her unfit to lead me. SCA hasn’t really been on my radar, but it is now, and it is neither an organization I would support verbally nor financially.

        Several people here have pointed out the problems with the few statements above, and they were even presented in a very favorable light. She seems to have a gross misunderstanding of our movement.

        I also cannot respect anyone who is a fan of or involved with any television program with the word “housewives” in the title. These brands, real or fictional, promote an American image that is detrimental to our own society as well as how we are perceived outside of the US. She is an embarrassment and I hope her time with SCA is short and without notoriety.

      • Thegoodman

         It is also worth noting that I do not trust an individual to lead a secular movement who has a J.D. from Catholic University in Washington D.C.

        Her background credentials does not add up to role she has been hired to fill.

        • http://www.facebook.com/people/Arthur-Bryne/100002441143047 Arthur Bryne

          Some Catholics still have high regard for JFK’s speech on separation. Particularly those who remember when anti-Catholic bigotry from Protestants was commonplace.

        • jemiller226

          I went to a Christian college. What’s your point?

        • http://user-illusion.myopenid.com/ user illusion

          I don’t trust anyone who refers to “the Democrat Party”.

  • The Vicar

    What I’m getting from this interview is that she is totally willing to work for anyone, as long as they sign her paycheck. Her ethics are negotiable.

    She may be an excellent lobbyist, but I won’t be surprised to read, 5 years from now, that she has signed on to work with the Catholic Church.

    • Orac

      Being willing to work for anyone who signs your paycheck is very definition of a lobbyist.

      • http://user-illusion.myopenid.com/ user illusion

        No, it isn’t.

  • Parse

    I admit I’m skeptical about this choice, but I’m willing to at least give her a chance.  
    Two quotes that make me uneasy:

    We need to strive to have an absolute division between religion and government, but keep in mind that we need to be respectful and open to people of all faiths and none. No one — religious or non-religious — should be excluded from the conversation. But ultimately, the laws shouldn’t be based on a religious perspective.

    I’m not aware of anybody (at least, anybody who should be taken seriously) who claims that religious people should be excluded ‘from the conversation’.  What people do claim is that there are times we need to give a firm ‘no’ to religious ideas (creationism in schools, prayer in government, defunding Planned Parenthood) – and religious people tend to call this not being respectful.  

    The Religious Right is a segment of the Republican Party — but it’s not a majority within the party and it certainly does not represent a majority of Americans. It’s a very active, vocal part of the Republican base, but it’s a minority.

    It’s a minority, true, but it’s the tail that wags the dog.  Additionally, there’s no opposing force to the Religious Right in the Republican party, no group of sufficient size that does NOT want what the Religious Right wants.  So when Republicans try to pass laws for them, there’s no negative consequences.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Arthur-Bryne/100002441143047 Arthur Bryne

    Conservative on economic issues isn’t all that reassuring to me. Ayn Rand was an atheist.

    That said, hiring her seems likely to give the opportunity to build some broader political alliances, and possibly open a few doors to talk to new people. As economic issues are quite incidental to the Secular Coalition’s mission of maintaining and strengthening church/state separation, she’ll probably be excellent.

    Of course, that may imply some limitations on the usefulness of the Secular Coalition; but I suspect it’s probably better to make several limited-use tools than try for a Swiss Army Knife.

    • Kaoru Negisa

      While I agree that economic beliefs don’t really have a bearing on her position here, I’m not sure why this would build broader political alliances. At its heart, that requires that GOP lawmakers, who she presumably would be appealing to, would have to buck the trend of worshiping whatever the religious right tells them to. This is highly unlikely. If it is likely, then our sense or tribalism is even more depressingly bad than I thought, as the same arguments coming from a Republican will hold more weight than if they came from somebody else.

      • http://www.facebook.com/people/Arthur-Bryne/100002441143047 Arthur Bryne

        Probably won’t allow prying them out of the clutch of the religious right wholesale. Might allow prying one or two out on individual issues.

        And, yes, the reliance on tribalism is depressing. Still, given that it exists, and that human psychology isn’t likely to change very rapidly, hiring her gives an opening that can be used. (Would you feel better to learn the tribalism is weaker among Democrats?)

        • Kaoru Negisa

           (Would you feel better to learn the tribalism is weaker among Democrats?)
          LOL. No, no I would not. You bring up an excellent point and I hope it bears fruit.

      • http://user-illusion.myopenid.com/ user illusion

        “our sense or tribalism is even more depressingly bad than I thought”

        That part is certainly true, as confirmed by plenty of recent research.

    • http://user-illusion.myopenid.com/ user illusion

      She should have been hired as a liason to Republicans. Hiring a professional liar and partisan hack who says “the Democrat Party” as the executive director of the SCA is a huge mistake.

  • Lamocla

    Sorry people, I don’t buy it for one second. She’s a turncoat, hypocrite and will do whatever she need to do to keep herself in the news. The core of republican is anti-science, anti-human rights, anti-equality, anti-universal healthcare,  anti-social, and so on….

  • Lamocla

    For all the physical, emotional and psychological harm the republican party is guilty of, I say to her (and that is my say) get lost you hypocrite.

  • Heather

    Did she work for the same George Bush whose daddy said, and I quote: “No, I don’t know that atheists should be considered as citizens, nor should they be considered patriots. This is one nation under God.” Sounds like we have a fox in the hen house!

  • Heather

    SCA loses my support until they get rid of this cunt.

    • http://twitter.com/TimidAtheist Timid Atheist

      Way to use gendered slurs to make your point of view known.

      • Hibernia86

        Do you feel the same about the terms “dick” or “bastard”? I’m not supporting throwing out insults at people, but let’s drop the false idea that gendered insults are aimed at everyone in that gender.

        • http://twitter.com/TimidAtheist Timid Atheist

          As bastard can apply to a man or a woman born out of wedlock, nope.  And yes, gendered insults are an insult to everyone of that gender.  Dick applies as well as bitch and several others. But it’s nice to see that this argument is still alive and well.  

    • Denis

       Really? You would use that word? Make yourself scarce, “heather”. I may disagree with pretty much every thing this woman believes in politically and economically, but that word is simply unacceptable.

      • Hibernia86

        Do you feel the same about the terms “dick” or “bastard”? I’m not supporting throwing out insults at people, but let’s drop the false idea that gendered insults are aimed at everyone in that gender.

    • John D

       Nice… I wondered how long it would take before someone started the insults.

    • http://nathandst.blogspot.com NathanDST

      Really? You had so many insults available, and you went with one that makes her gender a primary issue? Thanks for insulting my wife by implication (/sarcasm).

      • Hibernia86

        Do you feel the same about the terms “dick” or “bastard”? I’m not supporting throwing out insults at people, but let’s drop the false idea that gendered insults are aimed at everyone in that gender.

        • http://nathandst.blogspot.com NathanDST

          Yes! I twitch the same at hearing “dick” or “prick” as “cunt” or “bitch”. Bastard is not gendered, but if it were, then I would react the same.

          They may not be intentionally aimed at all in that gender, but that doesn’t mean they don’t hit. How could they not, when gender is central to them?

  • Lamocla

    Who are they going to hire next? The Pope!

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=723896232 Roberta Miranda

     “Also, I don’t consider myself a “housewife” — I work!”

    Ugh.

    • Hibernia86

      Oh, you know what she meant. She meant she is employed.

  • T-Rex

     As an atheist that is fiscally conservative and socially liberal, I think all you paranoid liberals need to get a grip. We need people like her to represent the conservatives in this country that are atheist/not evangleical Xians and those that believe in equal rights for everyone regardles of their race, gender or sexual orientation. I guess those on the far Left are so far over that they think everyone not with them is on the far Right. “Hello kettle? This is the pot. You’re black.”

    • Lamocla

      I lost a 20 year old nephew in an war and her mother life is shattered for ever because Bush lie to congress and his republican cronies (like her) supported such agenda.
      Paranoid liberal? Why don’t you come and say that in my face you turncoat. I will gladly give you my address privately so you can man up to your word

    • http://criticallyskeptic-dckitty.blogspot.com Katherine Lorraine

      When the far right isn’t continually pressuring the rest of Congress to pass laws that try to deny equal rights to those of different races, genders, sexual orientations, and religion then we can talk about whether or not Conservatives tend to be so.

      This is all the No True Scotsman argument over again.

    • Tinker

      Wow, you tell people that you are fiscally conservative and socially liberal and not only do they hear the exact opposite but want to attack you for it. 

      • Kaoru Negisa

        It’s not an attack, but the idea of being “fiscally conservative but socially liberal” is a laughable farce today. If I believe that creationism shouldn’t be taught in schools, and then I vote for somebody who proclaims evolution to be “just a theory” and we should “teach the controversy”, does it much matter what I believe? The only expression of my voice is with my vote, and I voted pro-creationism in that case.

        I’m glad that T-Rex personally believes in equal rights, that’s a wonderful thing. I also don’t claim to know how they vote. But, hypothetically, if they were to vote Republican, they are voting against equal rights, and no amount of good will or personal kindness changes that.

        • John D

           There is no such thing as a perfect candidate or party.  Each vote is a compromise.  I vote for who I think will do the most good (or least harm).  Teaching creationism in schools is only one of many topics that drive my voting decisions.  How nice for you to be so one-dimensional Kaoru… it must help you sleep well knowing how pure you are.  Perhaps you should leave the messy compromise crap to the rest of us.  The dems know they have your vote no matter what they do.

          Did you know that the most significant laws supporting equal rights were passed by Republicans?  You really shouldn’t make so many assumptions about the character of others.  Voting is a compromise… it’s fascinating to me that you think it is not.

          • Kaoru Negisa

            And if there were any indication of a willingness to compromise any more, I would agree with you. Significant laws supporting equal rights were passed by Republicans, under Republican administrations that would be considered apostates by today’s party. A good portion of the GOP freshmen ran on a platform of being entirely unwilling to compromise with Democrats.

            There is no such thing as a perfect candidate, however voting is a choice. If you feel that more tax cuts for wealthy Americans is more important than civil rights, that’s your decision, but please don’t pretend that you have some sort of concern for those who’s civil rights you’re selling. At the very most you don’t care a lick about them.Voting is compromise, and electing people who refuse to compromise on any aspect of most bills is irrational. Now, if you’re done being smugly satisfied with your logical fallacies (Appeal to Ridicule and Reducto ad Absurdum in reference to my purity, Undistributed Middle in assuming that because both Democrats and Republicans are politicians they are equally willing to compromise, Division Fallacy in assuming that the beliefs of Republicans of the past have any bearing on the current party or elected officials, and Jumping to a Conclusion in assuming that I didn’t think compromise was preferable instead of the much more likely conclusion that I see no evidence that it’s possible in the current climate on any significant issue), can we please move on? Perhaps where you tell me which equal rights issues you’re talking about and putting them into a historical context?

            • http://www.facebook.com/keithacollyer Keith Collyer

              ah the naivety of youth, everything is so clear to them

              • Kaoru Negisa

                 I’m not sure whether you’re speaking to John or I, but either way it’s rather condescending and I would ask that you please qualify your statement with specific complaints and evidence rather than posting a drive by platitude.

                • John D

                  The reply is to you Kaoru.  It says so in the post “in reply to Kaoru…”  I am 50 this year.  Not that that necessarily makes me particularly smart or anything.  It just means I can’t be accused of being “youth”.  When I was young and idealistic I voted for a guy named John Anderson… haha… that’s the last time I wasted my vote.

                • Kaoru Negisa

                   I somehow suspect we might not agree on whether your other votes we “wasted” or not. Either way, I hope that you would agree with me that platitudes are nothing but meaningless drivel. Keith’s statement was very little different from “You might not believe in God, but God believes in you, and one day you’ll accept Jesus into your heart.” It’s a worthless attempt to try and make himself feel better without actually having to make a cogent argument. Reality is not defined by what best fits on a bumper sticker.

              • http://user-illusion.myopenid.com/ user illusion


                ah the naivety of youth, everything is so clear to them”

                Ah, the assholiness of ad hominems.

            • John D

               I happen to live in one of those Midwestern states.  The place is Michigan and it is shaped like a mitten (well the LP is like a mitten… the UP is sort of a sideways mitten).

              There are tons of moderate Republicans here.  Most of our Republicans don’t pursue conservative social issues, but some do.  Our Republican governor is quite moderate on social issues and has no desire to make social change through changing law.  This is not so uncommon in the Midwest.

              I mean… look at Santorum.  He is from Pennsylvania of course, but he was not going to win the Republican primary… even in his home state.  It is really mostly the South that is obsessed  with social issues.

              There are plenty of Republicans who don’t want to pursue social issues, especially is the midwest, east, and west.

              Many of the freshman Reps right now ran on Tea party ideas.  I suspect they will not all last very long.  Once people figure out what they are really doing in office they will get spanked back a bit.

              Only supporting Democrats is not a good idea on this topic.

              • Kaoru Negisa

                 Your “moderate” governor passed a law that gave him the power to eliminate local government and replace it with his appointed managers and has signed a number of bills to prevent public employers from extending domestic partner benefits to gay couples. Perhaps you and I have a different idea of what “moderate” means.

                • John D

                   What does this have to do with secularism?  Secualrism is not about moderate, or conservative, or liberal, and I for one am sick of you blogger hippsters thinking all atheists and secularists are like you.

              • Kaoru Negisa

                 This was also the state that was poised to pass a bill that allowed homophobic bullying based on religious conviction until they were backed down by national attention to the issue. Your moderate governor also supports HB5240 in your state which allows school districts to post the Ten Commandments in school as a “historical document” and forces students to stand and recite the pledge of allegiance.

                If you want to make truth claims, be prepared to back them up with evidence. Rick Snyder is only “moderate” if you don’t much care whether local governments can vote for their own representation, if gay people can get health insurance for their partners like straight couples, if gay kids are bullied to death, or if the Ten Commandments belong on public school grounds.

      • http://user-illusion.myopenid.com/ user illusion


        Wow, you tell people that you are fiscally conservative and socially liberal and not only do they hear the exact opposite but want to attack you for it. ”

        If anyone has a hearing problem, it’s you.

    • jemiller226

      You show your true colors when you assume that any Democrat not happy with the Republicans is on the “far Left”. There *is* no appreciable “far Left” in the United States.

      • Stev84

        The Democrats are center right for the most part. Overall it’s clearly a centrist part, with a few of them being center left. They aren’t even social democrats in the European sense, let alone far left. That’s just laughable.

      • Hibernia86

        No, there is a far left in America. I see them on Atheist boards all the time. They just don’t get hardly any representation in Congress because they are a much smaller population.

    • John H

      Polling data for issues like Republican support for women’s bodily autonomy with respect to procreation (http://www.pewforum.org/uploadedfiles/Topics/Issues/Abortion/abortion09.pdf ) or equal rights for non-heterosexual people (http://features.pewforum.org/same-sex-marriage-attitudes/index.php – unless the people backing civil unions for non-heterosexual unions ALSO oppose ending legal recognition of hetero “marriage”, they’re not in favor of equal rights – separate but equal isn’t actually equal) indicates that the majority of Republicans do not, in fact, support secularism (unless you’re operating with a definition of “secularism” that doesn’t include not basing laws on religious doctrine instead of science or evidence, which in my mind can no longer qualify as anything resembling secularism). Rogers is just plain wrong about that. That indicates that she’s either hopelessly naive (unlikely given her long history in Republican politics); framing “secularism” in a way that’s so disingenuous as to make the concept pointless, policy-wise; or lying outright. None of these really bodes well; she might simply be completely amoral, willing to change her values and advocacy at the drop of a hat, as her present job requires (at least she’d be OUR sociopath, then).

    • http://user-illusion.myopenid.com/ user illusion


      I think all you paranoid liberals need to get a grip.”

      Thanks for the ad hominem insult, asshole.

  • http://www.facebook.com/gregm766 Gregory Marshall

    Okay, this has nothing really to do with Edwina getting the position but on the same day I read this about her, there is an article in the Huffington Post mentioning her.

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/05/03/obama-lobbying-dictator-gop-lobbyist_n_1474492.html

     

  • J David Eisenberg

    The key is in this statement: “In these roles

    I never worked on
    anything having to do with issues of religion — I worked primarily
    on economic issues.”  Now that Ms. Rogers *is* dealing with issues of religion, I find it hard to believe that her Republican friends will give her the time of day. One need only look at the treatment of Mr. Richard Grenell, an openly gay advisor to Gov. Romney. As long as he stuck to foreign policy issues, all was well. As soon he began speaking out about gay issues, he was ousted.

    • Ikkyu

       She was working on economic issues for the people that gave us the current depression. Hardly a good recommendation.

    • http://profiles.google.com/mattand08 Matt Andrews

      Not exactly. Grenell is openly gay. Once the fundies found out that Romney had one of “those people” working for him, they pressured Romney to fire the guy.

  • Reginald Selkirk

    I watched the Fox News clip. She did a fine job of sticking to the GOP talking points for the day. “Democrat Party.” Seriously. Does the SCA need someone this vapid?

    • http://user-illusion.myopenid.com/ user illusion

      Quite so. She’s a professional liar and partisan hack. They could have held their noses and hired her as a Republican liason, but someone who says “Democrat Party” as executive director of the SCA? A huge, huge mistake that will alienate many of its members.

  • http://www.facebook.com/keithacollyer Keith Collyer

    First, the SCA is not “the atheist lobby”, it is NON-theist, not A-theist.
    Second, who gives a monkey’s chuff what her views are, so long as she is effective? A lobbyist isn’t paid to believe, but to present.

    • http://user-illusion.myopenid.com/ user illusion

      Perhaps if you read the comments and arguments here, you could glean an answer to your question.

  • Reginald Selkirk

    Is Rogers expected to lobby members of the “Democrat party” as well as Republicans? I would think her mindless embrace of the GOP talking points would be an impediment to her in that task.
     

  • Alan

    The exclusivity and tribalism is overwhelming here, in a group I had hoped would be less prone to it than the fundies.

    She answered the questions well, seems dedicated to the cause and is perhaps better equipped to make inroads with a group that secularism *needs* to make inroads with, as opposed to just preaching to the choir.

    I, for one, am happy to give her a chance.

    • http://profiles.google.com/mattand08 Matt Andrews

      Apparently, the woman donated $1000 to Rick Perry’s campaign. And we all know what a staunch defender of  secular causes he is.

    • http://user-illusion.myopenid.com/ user illusion


      The exclusivity and tribalism is overwhelming here”

      Pure ad hominem. Apparently you are incapable of answering any of the arguments given.

    • PamEllis

      She did not answer the questions “well”, if you define well as with candor and truth.
      She is spinning, and it is insulting.

  • Stev84

    I’m not saying she shouldn’t have the job. Maybe it makes some sense to have someone with some influence with the people who really need to change.

    However, she is clearly very naive about some things like the true influence of the Religious Right. She underestimates both their numbers and especially their power. If they were really such a minority, they wouldn’t dictate the entire Republican policy all the time.

  • http://www.facebook.com/ruth.adamcik Ruth Anastacia Adamcik

    I am generally mistrustful of women who are Republicans these days.  I’m not talking 15 or 20 years ago, but about *today*.  The policy of the Republican party is to hate women as human beings, to ban science generally, and to convert everyone to Jeezuss.  Any woman who goes along with this is, what, a Quisling or one of the Vichy French (to borrow from World War II history)?  More interested in their own interests or having some power through a Stockholm Syndrome-like relationship with the men who are truly in charge of the Republican party and the Religious Right?  Otherwise, I can’t understand Republican women.  (And please spare me the “I’m fiscally conservative but socially liberal” line – such a stand can no longer be taken politically these days, and it still only reflects a selfish interest.)

    Besides, Rogers promises too much.  That is definitely not to be trusted.

    • Kaoru Negisa

      My response to “I’m fiscally conservative but socially liberal” is “So, how much of a tax break are you willing to sell people’s rights for?” There was a time when political opinions were sufficiently mixed that you could plausibly vote for somebody who could fit a conservative fiscal platform and not be a raging bigot on social issues. I’m afraid you’re right that that’s no longer the case.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_TLHIXVS2CHDJNWYPZJIZ5NNZ3A Robert

    I have worked in politics, Government and lobbying, at the State level in Democratic circles.

    Hiring a person with Ms. Rogers background is a pretty smart move.  She knows the system and the real people who work in it.  Shouting from the outside won’t make change.  Getting into the system will.

    I might even agree with her that a majority of Republicans will support the cause, as long as you look at what she likely means by “Republican”.   She is likely referring to the average Republican voter, who makes up about 43% of the electorate.  She is not necessarily referring to the average politician.  In her circle, she may even be right that the Fundamentalist Christians are a minority there.

    I should also add, that she likely took a big risk in taking this job.  I am betting she cannot go back to Capitol Hill.

    Give her a chance people.  “Preaching to the Choir” sure won’t work.

  • John D

     Separation of church and state is often a popular idea for
    conservatives and liberals both. SCA is NOT a liberal group (except in a
    tradition “liberal” sense of the definition of liberal… that of having
    the right/ability to act as an individual sees fit).

    I am old enough to remember when many Republicans were very much
    against blending church and state. I suspect many current Republicans
    are disappointed they have to constantly cow-tow to the fundies. The
    1980s destroyed much of what was right about the Republican party in my
    view. Getting church out of the Republican party would be a good thing…
    even for Democrats.

    I think that if separation is something you desire that a broad
    consensus from the left and the right is the best approach. SCA is not
    an advocacy group for all “liberal” issues. They do not have an opinion
    about environmental, tax, military, or any other issue except as it
    DIRECTLY relates to separation, and maintaining a secular government.

    Let’s focus here people!

    • Kaoru Negisa

      “Separation of church and state is often a popular idea for 

      conservatives and liberals both.”
      Evidence for this?

      I agree with most of the rest of the stuff you’ve said. The rise of the religious right and the alliance they made with the Republican party significantly changed both parties. As a dyed in the wool liberal, I agree with most of the Eisenhower administration, for example. That both puts me to the right of the liberals of that day, and significantly to the left of the conservatives of this day.

      “I suspect many current Republicans 
      are disappointed they have to constantly cow-tow to the fundies.”
      Then they shouldn’t. If they do, it indicates one of two things (and if there’s another, more likely option, please let me know). Either they agree, which seems to be the case with most GOP pols, or there aren’t enough registered secular Republicans to get them through a primary.  It’s why I’m skeptical about claims of this huge majority of secular Republicans hiding out. If they’re there, they don’t vote.

      • John D

         Whatever… Talking to youse is like talking to a wall.  Good luck.

        • Kaoru Negisa

           Present evidence and the discussion can progress. Just saying things without being able to demonstrate why they are true is a pointless exercise in self-gratification.

        • http://profiles.google.com/mattand08 Matt Andrews

          What Kaoru said. Pony up the evidence.

          I have a few friends who consider themselves conservative/Republican and seem to get how off-the-rails the GOP has gotten, particularly towards pandering to the religious right.

          However, for whatever reason, they can’t bring themselves to openly acknowledge it. So whenever politics comes up, they call on the False Balance Fairy sothat  both parties are equally bad in all matters. It makes them feel better, regardless of the intellectual dishonesty involved.

          This is exactly what you sound like. Liberals/progressives have their problems. Obliterating separation of church state isn’t one of them.

        • http://user-illusion.myopenid.com/ user illusion


          Talking to youse is like talking to a wall”

          What a hypocritical ass.

    • http://profiles.google.com/mattand08 Matt Andrews

      ” Separation of church and state is often a popular idea for conservatives and liberals both”
      False balance. Just say no.

    • PamEllis

      People are not skeptical because she is a Republican.  It is because of what she has said, done, whom she worked for and associated with, etc…

      I am trying to find a redeeming video about her online, but none of the ones I am finding lead me to believe she is an honest person with integrity.

  • Sixninecat

    “Also, I don’t consider myself a “housewife” — I work! ”  Pardon me? Housework isn’t work?

    • adapa69

      Certainly feels like work when I do it.

      But I think the more accepted reading of “housewife” and “work” in this context is different than the one you’re using.  The “real housewives” of means shrill shallow do nothings who just spend their partners money and say outrages things.  I VERY much doubt the real housewives of Jersey or where ever do any housework.

  • Tom

    This is a good thing.  Ideological diversity within the visible nontheist community, outside of god belief is SERIOUSLY lacking.  Most nontheist communities suffer from serious confirmation bias corroborated by eager peers.

    This is also good, since it keeps this woman busy on secular, nontheist issues, rather than doing economic advising…  not much good she did there with GW Bush and Junior.

  • Dwayne_Windham
  • http://profiles.google.com/mattand08 Matt Andrews

    I’m having a hard time swalloing the idea that the current GOP is going to suddenly receptive of secular ideas/causes because one of their own is working with the SCA.

    ” As someone who has been an insider within the Republican Party, I’m certain it’s not the consensus of the majority of Republicans to have an [overt] influence of religion on our laws. ”

    Are. You. Fucking. Kidding. Me.

    It may not be an overt consensus, but seriously; what does she think is driving the anti-abortion nonsense with her party? The resistance to Don’t Ask Don’t Tell ? I’ve got news for you: the “moderate” secularists are either too chicken shit to stand up to their religious nut jobs running their party, or they just don’t care.

     “I am a non-theist and have always been a strong secularist and a firm believer in the separation of religion and government. I’m not a fan of labels though, because I feel like it creates unnecessary division within the movement.”

    She doesn’t have the guts to call herself “agnostic”, let alone “atheist.” But she’s going to represent secular interests in federal government. Someone below coined the term “Log Cabin Atheists.” Very appropriate.

    “My Republican background will help open certain doors. The sky is really the limit. ”

    Yeah, until her buddies in government find out who she’s working for. Obama barely pays atheists lip service. What does she think is going to happen dealing with a party keeps pushing the meme “the US is a Christian nation”?

    If I’m wrong, I’m wrong. You’ll forgive me if I don’t hold my breath.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1247932591 Matthew Zimmer

    “I’m certain it’s not the consensus of the majority of Republicans to have an [overt] influence of religion on our laws. ”  As long as the highly suspicious albeit somewhat attractive member of “Our Team” says so I suppose I can forget all those pesky facts and give in to the whole  making my brain bleed thing.

  • http://profiles.google.com/ecpaulsen Eric Paulsen

     First impressions: Trojan horse. I hope I am wrong but the SCA should sleep with one eye open and keep their finger firmly on the ejector seat button. While I can’t say that any of her answers are outright lies there is much there that is very disingenuous.

  • notchakotay

    What I hear in her comments and responses is someone who is very glib, saying what will get her what she wants. Too many of her statements, when dissected, are demonstrably incorrect, irrational or impossible (but she does say them well). There is no way to reconcile what she is trying to make us think she is saying now with what she has said in the past. I think her statements -especially ion the context of her previous roles-  reveal her to be utterly unprincipled.

    I do agree she may be able to open some doors now closed to us -but do we want that at the price of our integrity? Can we trust her not to sell us down the river?

    I suspect she is a nontheist in the tradition of Ayn Rand -she will say or do whatever most benefits herself, and thinks that a virtue.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100003293001320 Diana Winters

    What exactly is the “secular movement?” The US is a secular nation and always has been. Someone is confused here. Is it me?

  • http://user-illusion.myopenid.com/ user illusion

    She should have been made head of Republican outreach. Making this professional liar the executive director of SCA is incredibly foolish and will alienate many members.

  • http://user-illusion.myopenid.com/ user illusion

    As head of the SCA, is she going to stop saying “the Democrat party”? 

  • Hibernia86

    I’m kind of saddened by the reactions here. I don’t support the conservatives either and I think they have done a lot of harm, but I am fully willing to work with an Ayn Rand Objectivist Atheist if it means working for secularism. We can’t have this litmus test where you have to agree not only on religion but also on politics. We are small enough of a movement as it is.

    Now granted, I am a little skeptical of the idea that her Republican friends will help her now, but who knows, we might be surprised. I don’t think she will be able to get the entire Republican party to support secularism, but maybe she can flip a few votes here or there, which might help.

  • http://www.SecularCensus.US/ American Secular Census

    This is an interesting controversy timed coincidentally with the American Secular Census’s first secular voter analysis showing that the secular bloc is not as politically diverse as assumed. Read Actually, we ARE mostly Democrats and don’t miss the issues secular voters plan to consider in evaluating presidential candidates. The top choice is directly tied to the secular constituency’s disaffection for the Republican party.


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