A Message From Lori Lipman Brown to Edwina Rogers

When the Secular Coalition for America opened for business in September of 2005, it was led by Lori Lipman Brown, a former state senator from Nevada who managed the SCA and lobbied Congress until she left the organization in January of 2009.

(Lori was also hilariously interviewed by Stephen Colbert in a “Better Know a Lobby” segment.)

With Edwina Rogers taking the helm of the organization, I asked Lori what the thought of the new appointment — especially in light of all the ensuing controversy — and this is what she told me:

I wish the new Executive Director success as she leads the Secular Coalition for America. It is important that the person speaking to members of Congress and their staffs has good skills for the Hill. This is more important than party affiliation. While I may find it difficult to imagine working for some of her previous employers, given their theocratic views on our issues, it is my understanding that Ms. Rogers specialized in health care and economic issues when she worked for them, not church/state separation or the treatment of nontheistic Americans. Hopefully, she will bring a strong voice for OUR issues. It is also important to recognize that it may take a few weeks for the new person to become fully versed on the current issues on the table. I recall that I learned much from our partners in allied coalitions during my first few weeks. Time will tell, but I’m always hopeful that our movement will succeed.

Lori added that she’s aware that there can be overlap between health care/economic issues and nontheistic issues, but hopefully, Rogers’ focus was not on things like “pushing public money to churches or denying access to prescriptions based on religious belief of pharmacists.”

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.

  • mkb

    Well said, Lori.  Gracious as always.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_FRDTPMBW7IBKWIU3763AI6FYOM Steve

    Hopefully, it seems, is all we’ve got.

  • Daniel Krull

    Noticed a typo, fyi. “Rogers’ focus was not no things.”   :) Feel free to delete this once you’ve seen it.

    • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/friendlyatheist/ Hemant Mehta

      Thanks. Fixed!

  • http://friendlyatheist.com Richard Wade

    What I don’t understand is why Executive Director? Why not Assistant Advisor to the Executive Director?  If Edwina has been so clueless about what the Republican Party has been doing directly against what the SCA stands for because she was innocently busy doing other things, why is she put at the helm and “hopefully” she’ll wise up fast? This seems like making her Captain of a ship when she has never heard of icebergs, hidden rocks, hurricanes and pirates, and “hopefully” she’ll learn about all that before she encounters any. Captain of a ship is not a learn-as-you-go position.

    Was Lori one of the people who made the decision to hire Edwina? Has she said “I voted for her,” or “I would have voted for her if I had been able to”?  Lori’s statement sounds like a good-for-the-unity-of-the-organization press release that talks about hopefulness, but doesn’t actually rise to the level of an endorsement.

    • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/friendlyatheist/ Hemant Mehta

      Lori had no role in the decision.

  • http://www.facebook.com/wonderist Thaumas Themelios

    “It is also important to recognize that it may take a few weeks for
    the new person to become fully versed on the current issues on the
    table.”

    How long will it take Edwina Rogers to realize that her statements that the Republican party is not predominantly anti-gay, anti-secular, etc. etc. were false?

    How long will it take the SCA to realize that they jumped the gun on their decision to hire?

    Those are, after all, the *real* controversies.

  • Christian Walters

    Lori once again shows why she was a great choice for the job when she had it. I’ve got no doubt that she’s just as good in her current role.

    I am willing to give Edwina the benefit of the doubt. It’s not like she’s not being scrutinized. If she isn’t good at the job, it will take care of itself. But maybe her GOP contacts will be a big plus.


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