Thoughts About Barack Obama, Sean Faircloth, and Edwina Rogers

In the wake of President Obama saying he supported same-sex marriage yesterday, most people were thrilled. I was. And why not? No American president has ever said that before and symbolic affirmation is significant. Yeah, some people weren’t impressed, but what else is new?

Here’s a hypothetical: Regardless of what Obama said, what if it was Mitt Romney who had come out in support of marriage equality instead?

What if he figured out that most of the people voting for him are going to support him regardless? They’re not about to vote for Obama. What if Romney decided to make a play for the youth vote? What if he was the one who made news by saying he was in support of marriage equality — despite what others in his party want him to say — and he hoped states would follow in that direction? What if he said his marriage was strong and wonderful and he wanted all couples, both gay and straight, to experience that as well?

Implausibility aside, a Republican nominee for president voicing an opinion like that could arguably do more to get bigoted voters to think differently about gay marriage than anything Obama could do. (I mean, it’s not like they’re going to change their mind because of what he said.)

So, I’ve been reading the conversations about Edwina Rogers and listening as everyone goes out of their way to find reasons to discredit her. She recently gave money to Republicans like Rick Perry. She wasn’t a vocal atheist before now. She’s not realistic about what the GOP is like these days.

None of these things concern me very much.

I wasn’t part of the hiring conversations but it looks like the Secular Coalition for America made a strategic decision based on everyone who applied. They took on someone who had significant lobbying experience, knew how to manage a staff, and believed in our mission. The fact that she was a Republican was seen as an asset — a way to get through to the people least sympathetic to our cause — not a liability.

Everyone seems to be forgetting that Sean Faircloth, who is now working for the Richard Dawkins Foundation and has been an outspoken advocate for our issues, had virtually no knowledge about our movement until he read an article quoting SCA President Herb Silverman in the New York Times. He was surprised to find an organization that promoted his non-belief and he soon applied for the Executive Director position.

The article came out on April 29th, 2009. The SCA publicized Sean’s hiring as Executive Director on June 3th, 2009. In other words, it was about a month between discovering our movement existed and taking the reins of the SCA.

Did he know everything about our cause beforehand? No, but he self-identified as an atheist. He just never really did much with that label before his new job compelled him to make a big deal about it.

Is anyone doubting his sincerity and dedication to our cause now?

Edwina Rogers is only different in that she’s coming from a party that actively opposes our values. Still, she has said time and time again that she doesn’t align with the party on those fronts. If she’s a Republican, it’s for different reasons.

She also says she believes (“100%”) in our mission.

Now, we have to give her time to figure out what makes our movement tick. I know we want her to be well-versed in it already, but that’s not going to happen overnight.

People are threatening to stop donating to the SCA because of her — to that, I’d say, “Stop acting prematurely.”

Yesterday, when the SCA denounced Catholic CEO group Legatus for filing a lawsuit because they didn’t want their insurance plans to cover contraceptive care as the Department of Health and Human Services mandated, Rogers offered a statement that sure as hell sounded like it would come from “one of us”:

“Legatus is asking the government to place the religious beliefs of the employer over the individual religious beliefs of the employees, and they are doing it under a smoke screen of religious persecution,” said Edwina Rogers, Executive Director of the Secular Coalition for America. “True religious freedom allows for individuals to make personal moral and health decisions for themselves.”

Doesn’t sound like a “typical” Republican to me.

If Rogers works out for the SCA, it could help us *considerably* in the long run. A lot of people are being way too myopic about her hiring. Give her time to learn her job and advocate for us well. If she can’t, there will be plenty of time to complain.

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.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_EAIHLUU3JSTIB3D2OWHGYN5PHA Ingen

    ” Still, she has said time and time again that she doesn’t align with the party on those fronts.”
    Wrong. She’s said that the PARTY aligns with HER. That the Republican Party is neither anti-gay, anti-atheist or anti-woman.

    In spite of every opinion poll, and the words of almost every Republican leader alive today. Which means that she’s either lying to us, or deluded.

    And THAT is our problem with her. You’re awesome in many ways, Hemant, but you really should start reading what the critics are actually saying.

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

      ‘” Still, she has said time and time again that she doesn’t align with the party on those fronts.”
      Wrong. She’s said that the PARTY aligns with HER. That the Republican Party is neither anti-gay, anti-atheist or anti-woman.’

      PRECISELY. Why is Hemant lying about this?

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

         I think accusations of lying are a bit much. 

  • Denis Robert

    What up with this site these days, refusing to face facts, and twisting itself like a pretzel to defend the indefensible? Ms Rogers lied like, well, a Republican is every interview she has given since she was given the post, trying to whitewash her party’s well established track record on issues that matter to us. I think we have a right to insist that people who claim to represent our interests don’t lie about their past, and about the positions they have publicly embraced, no?

    It isn’t that she’s a Republican. It’s that she’s acting exactly like a typical Republican politician: the truth doesn’t matter, only expediency, and erasing the past is a-ok as long as it allows you to continue doing every crooked thing you’ve been doing.

    I’m not buying your defense, and I really believe you need to have your ethical sense checked: you are starting to become a knee-jerk tribalist, ready to defend every action and statement, however mendacious, however racist, as long as it comes out of the mouth of someone in the movement.

    Unless that person is PZ, of course…

  • http://www.zazzle.com/atheist_tees The Godless Monster

    I must have stumbled onto a different Friendly Atheist blog…you know, the one that promoted ethical behavior.
    I never thought in a million years that I would write this, but Hemant, I’m extremely disappointed with this post.

  • Mommiest

    Well, I guess Ms. Rogers knew, when she took the job, that she would be working with… Skeptics.  While I didn’t like the interview, I know that I may not be the intended audience. Part of her strategy should be to make us seem less threatening to secularists within the Republican party. That may be good for us in the long run.  I agree with you, Hemant, I think we should see how well she represents us to others, and how well she supports our issues. We need to give her time.

  • Joe Zamecki

    I did not know that about Sean. It is profoundly distressing to know how easily and quickly he came through the side door, to lead such an important group. I’m finding this to be a popular trend, actually. Some groups seem to think that hiring from within is taboo. Why? We have some great minds in our movement already.  What’s next? Are those groups going to start hiring devout Christians? I think Jim Bakker could use a job…what’s the difference between that and a proud Republican? Or a confused Republican? How about a confused Republican who is brand new to our movement? Really??

    We need OUR people in charge of OUR groups, imho. We have plenty of very well experienced activists already on the inside. I see no need to look outside of our movement for leaders, when we have the best potential leaders already working with us.  And the activists who are brand new to our movement have time to put in, and dues to pay. Hard work, merit, and time in still ought to count. 

    • http://www.zazzle.com/atheist_tees The Godless Monster

       You are absolutely right, Joe. It would have been far better to hire a secularist with a slightly weaker background/resume than to farm this important position out to someone who worked for and was, in fact, the enemy.

    • Hemant

      According to the people who hired her, “OUR people” didn’t have the experience/background she did.  Yes, they had more passion for our cause, but that’s not what they needed.  They needed someone who knows politics well, can advocate for our mission, and has experience managing a staff.  It’s always nice when you can hire from within, but I don’t fault the SCA for looking elsewhere.  

      • Wintermute

         Yeah, she has already demonstrated a clear understanding of political reality and the ability to communicate effectively to people who don’t share her views. We’d clearly never have found talents of her magnitude within the organization.

  • Stev84

    Mitt Romney can’t be trusted with anything. He says whatever is politically convenient. He was for gay-rights in the 90s. Then became governor of MA and a rising star with higher ambitions and he was against same-sex marriage in his state. Now he wants to be president and he has become even more anti-gay because that’s what is required in the Republican party.

    • Scottd

      If Mitt Romney came out in favor of gay marriage, Newt Gingrich would immediately throw his hat back in the ring.

  • JoeBuddha

    Actually, if Mitt came out for gay marriage, it’s more likely that his bigotted base would stay home than that they would change their views. Their opinions are based on authority (which Mitt doesn’t have, btw) not on logic. It’d take a change of heart of MOST of the clergy they rely upon to tell them what their values are. Even then, I believe most would simply go elsewhere rather than change their minds.

  • PamEllis

    ” So, I’ve been reading the conversations about Edwina Rogers and listening as everyone goes out of their way to find reasons to discredit her.”
    ———–

    I really didn’t go out of my way.  I just googled her.  I find her dishonest statements regarding Valerie Plame and the Iraq War as well as her working for people who have actively sought to promote religious intrusion into laws, to be more than troubling.  I cannot imagine working for people like Trentt Lott and George Bush.  Can you?

    It doesn’t really affect me honestly, but it shows poor decision making skills on the part of the SCA…to not see this coming and to not prepare Edwina to answer the questions of skeptics, who don’t accept answers reserved for policy wonks and such as was the case in Wash. D.C.  Skeptics won’t pretend to accept answers that contradict what we can easily research ourselves.

    I am interested in her probably huge pay cut to work for the SCA…so there may be something.  But Edwina Rogers can be seen as someone who will work for people and support their stated goals, even if she doesn’t really believe them.  This might be an unfair characterization, but that is my default position until I see her in action.  I can only go by her positions and connections in her past.  

    Regarding Sean Faircloth, it would concern me more if prior to being hired by the SCA, he worked for groups that were opposed to the goals of the SCA.  I haven’t heard that to be the case yet.

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

      ” as everyone goes out of their way to find reasons to discredit her”

      Why is Hemant telling such an offensive lie about us?

  • http://www.zazzle.com/atheist_tees The Godless Monster

     For shits and giggles, let’s say that the nursery school where I take my son has just hired a director that used to work for a daycare that was closed down due to the majority of its staff being convicted for child abuse and sexual  molestation.
    There’s no evidence of this woman having been directly involved in any of the cases of molestation, but when asked about the incidents, she denies that they ever happened. “Besides”, she spouts, “some of the staff there aren’t the molesting type anyway.”
    To those who make excuses for Rogers or state that she should be “given a chance”. ..

    Would you give this daycare director a chance? Would you trust her?

  • adapa69

    Before joining the SCA Faircloth worked to improve laws protecting children from abuse. Against the wishes of some of his own party members he pushed for legislation that provided economic support for low-income women and children.His first real address to the community included admission that he was new to us.“I always thought an organization like this should exist. As soon as I learned it did, I jumped at the opportunity to help.” Roger on the other hand. Is a member of political party that has spent the last few decades trying to legislate biblical morality.  Is a member of  a party whose economic platform actively hurts low income women and children, a party that seeks to ensure homosexuals are never given equal rights. When asked why we should trust someone who has given time, money, and more importantly votes to the party that hates the gays and women her reply is  (and I quote): “Well, I can tell you, it’s not a party position. “So yeah this situation with Rogers is totally the same as it was with Faircloth… maybe if you’ve been repeatedly hit in the head with the accommodationist stick.

  • Kaoru Negisa

    I really, really would like to give her the benefit for the doubt. I’m trying very hard to do so. But that is absolutely not easy when she’s claiming that there’s some mythical document she saw in the mid-90s that told her that 70% of Republicans were secular. That’s not just a lie, it’s an unforced one. 

    There’s all of this focus on that she is a Republican, but that’s beside the point. In her introduction to us, here on your blog, she insisted that the people she’s been working for were totally behind gay rights, separation of church and state, etc. She’s either lying or so incredibly out of touch as to be useless. And she doesn’t have to say this, she is under no obligation to tell a largely progressive group that her associations are something they’re not. All she had to say was that it would be a struggle, but she thinks there are places where coalition building is possible.Hemant, please, stop engaging in apologetics for this woman. We’re stuck with her regardless, so we’ll see what she does, but so far what she “does” is tell us blatantly untrue things that make us think she’s a liar or an idiot. Potentially a combination of both.

  • dangeroustalk

    I agree. I would like to give her a chance. I think she has a lot of potential. 

  • I_Claudia

    I continue to be skeptical of this pick. It’s not that I think she’ll work against us by any means, it’s that I find her portrayal of the Republican party is either a deliberate fabrication or the result of a great dose of illusion, given the actual observable reality of the GOP’s disdain for our community. Whether it’s white-washing or delusion, I worry about how that will effect her ability to do her job.

    Personal dedication to the cause of secularism is certainly a plus, but it’s not even entirely needed. I doubt the lobbyists for, say, corn syrup feel some impassioned dedication to the product. They advocate for it because that is their job as a lobbyist. We’ve been a small community for a long time, so we’re used to getting our people in combo-packs; speaker, leader, lobbyist and pundit all at once. However as we grow we will have to eventually accept that people will be working for our cause not so much because they share it, but because we pay well. I’m not saying Edwina fits this model. She may be very dedicated to the cause on a personal level, but the concern isn’t that so much as wondering about the competence of someone who views the GOP in a manner that seemingly contradicts reality.

    Having said that, going all out take-my-ball-and-go-home is overkill. I’ll wait and see how she does.

  • Guest

    I don’t know anything about Rogers, so I’m not here to say anything about her specifically. I do want to say that not all Republicans are part of the religious right, although they are the ones getting the most attention, putting forward the most well-known candidates, and being the most vocal. They would love to take over the Republican party, and they are doing a fine job of that, but Republican doesn’t immediately = religious right. Not all atheists are Democrats. I wouldn’t call myself a Republican, but I am certainly not a Democrat.

    • adapa69

       
      People who vote Republican value economic policy over the ethical treatment of women, secularists, and the LGBT community.  Anyone claiming otherwise is either an ignorant voter or a lair.

      • Guest

        You can be a Republican and dislike the candidates being put forth by the religious right, and therefore not vote for them. There are also those who do vote for economic policy, even if it’s against their own social progress, because to them basic necessity is more important than higher-level enjoyments (like freedom of conscience). I know several people who vote this way, even if I don’t agree that we are so desperate economically that we need to vote for economic policy over socially-important issues. I know it’s tempting to have an us vs them mentality, it makes things so much more simple, but try not to demonize people simply because they don’t agree with all of your political opinions. 

        • adapa69

          “even if it’s against their own social progress, because to them basic necessity is more important than higher-level enjoyments”

          The fact that you put the right to marry as a “higher-level enjoyment” is where the rift lies. I would consider that a BASIC right and not something that should take a back seat to whether or not we should tax the rich more than the poor.

          And I’m completely comfortable demonizing people support a party that demonizes homosexuals and secularists.

      • Guest

        Yeah, everybody who disagrees with my politics is either stupid, or malicious.

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

       “not all Republicans are part of the religious right”

      Literally everybody knows that. Literally no one is claiming that or even assuming that. For the thousandth time.

      Before jumping to conclusions, actually *listen* to her being interviewed by Greta Christina. Then ask yourself: Do I trust that person? Can I trust someone who is so out of touch with the reality of her own political party who she’s been working for over 20 years?

      Anyone who has not already heard this interview needs to hear it: http://freethoughtblogs.com/greta/2012/05/07/interview-with-edwina-rogers/

  • Dave

    So, should a Christian group be allowed to discriminate against hiring non-Christians, if they can do the job?

    Can an atheist group be allowed to discriminate against hiring Republicans, if they can do the job?

    I can’t help but feel that we are going into dodgy territory.

    • http://www.facebook.com/elcrabofanger Ian Caballero

      Dodgy territory? The question is not whether or not she can do the job, the question is whether she will. Just in the interview with Greta alone she prevaricates, obfuscates, and dodges questions like Vince Vaughn at a tournament.  She’s not some unknown quantity, she has a record. Of total bullshit. It’s not that she’s a Republican, it’s that she lives in a fantasy world so far divorced from reality that she may have arrived here while fleeing from the servants of the Nothing. Either that, or she lies like the truth is a dose of highly contagious and disfiguring herpes.

      So, okay, then, Hemant, apologists, et. al.. I’ll say this right now. I hope I’m wrong, and will happily admit to being so as soon as I am convinced that I’m wrong. It happens all the time. But I don’t think this is one of those cases, based on the evidence.

      That being the case, ten shades of O hell yes she should not have been hired. Hiring someone who was the enemy is generally considered to be a bad move. And make no mistake, she was the enemy. Judging from the interview alone, she still is. Those sounds that came out of her mouth in answer to some pretty simple questions have so little bearing on what is that they can’t be called words by anyone familiar with the concept. She didn’t apologize, admit to being mistaken, or even just say “Yeah, well, I lied. It’s what I was paid to do.” All of those are positions I could have made some peace with. So having someone who saw reality once as it flew by her window while she was riding her flying unicorn in “Republicans aren’t anti-gay, anti-woman, anti-choice, and pro-theocrat world” represent those of us who live here in reality seems like a piss poor decision to me.

    • PamEllis

      No one is saying a Republican cannot be hired for her job.  What people are saying is a liar with a history of supporting people opposed to the goals of the SCA should not be hired.

       Her being Republican is low on the list of issues.

  • PZ Myers

    Being new to the movement is not a problem. Sean Faircloth bolted out of the starting gate  with clear and unambiguous arguments for the secular cause, and had a political history as a progressive. No one listened to him and wondered if he was actually sincere.

    Rogers, on the other hand, doesn’t seem to be able to make a coherent argument for anything, and has a political history as an agent of Bush and Gingrich. That history represents a conflict with the goals of secularism, entirely unlike Faircloth’s…but she hasn’t been able to reconcile her past with her stated goals.

    I’d expect her to be able to at least repudiate the Republican policies she previously supported. She doesn’t. She’s in denial, claiming that the Republicans haven’t really been all that bad…and that’s her big problem. I don’t trust her in the slightest.

    Sean? He talks like a real progressive. And that’s what we need.

    • Fsq

      Go away and pollute your own blog.

      Jesus, you can’t get away from this guy.

      • Gus Snarp

        Really? Are you new to the internet?

      • RobMcCune

        His tentacles are far reaching.

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

        So your answer to an opinion that doesn’t match your own is to tell the person to go away? I don’t care if it’s PZ or not. If he gives a legitimate list of his concerns either be adult enough to dispute it rationally or civil enough to stay quiet.

    • thebigJ_A

      Every single thing PZ said is valid. Did you even read it, Fsq?

      Anyway, Heant makes more of a case AGAINST giving her a chance than for. “Edwina Rogers is only different in that she’s coming from a party that actively opposes our values.”. Yeah, ‘only’.

  • Gus Snarp

    It’s not that she’s “not realistic” about the GOP, it’s that her statements about the GOP reveal that she is either incredibly ignorant about how American political parties actually work, including the one she worked for, which seems highly unlikely given her resume, or she’s lying to her constituents. She may be effective, but do we really want to be represented by an effective liar? Shouldn’t dishonesty, above all else, be anathema to all that we stand for?

  • Gus Snarp

    Honestly, I had nothing bad to say about her until she flat out lied. If she had acknowledged the problems with the party but said that for practical reasons having to do with her economic positions she stayed with the party, I could have lived with that. We all know there are a lot of “fiscally conservative” or libertarian atheists and secularists, and while I disagree with them about a lot of things, I could live with on in her position if she was the best person for the job. But not when she lies to us, and not only lies but does so in a way that suggests that she thinks we’re stupid enough to figure it out. It’s like she has no idea of the venn diagram of skepticism, atheism, secularism, and science. Doesn’t she realize that a huge number of supporters of the SCA are committed skeptics and extremely bright people who are going to check out her story rather than accept it at face value? I don’t like being lied to, especially when the lie is so transparent that it implies that the liar also thinks I’m a complete idiot.

  • Fsq

    He ant, bro, I m glad the end of the school year is coming to a close, because after reading several of your latest posts it really seems like you could use a break.

    Bro, you are not making any sense and you have been trying to rationalize some pretty crazy shit.

    Rogers has routinely defended untenable,e positions and hypocrisy. She is not a good rep for the SCA.

    You need to take a break and go have some relaxing fun dude.

  • Jon

    I still think she is full of shit like S.E. Cupp

  • John Small Berries

    Since you’ve been reading the conversations, Hemant, then what is your reaction to her multiple claims about Republican positions which fly in the face of observable reality?

    Is she genuinely that far out of touch with her own party, and simply hasn’t paid attention to politics for the past couple of decades, despite her political role? Or is she consciously being dishonest to the people she’s now supposed to be representing? Or do you believe there’s another explanation – and, if so, what is it?

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

      I think she became involved in the Republican Party when it was more moderate and she’s genuinely not seeing what the rest of us see — the GOP heading further to the right, not really giving a damn about being fiscally conservative, and focusing more on god and guns.

      Maybe it’s a bad analogy but I once dated someone my friends didn’t like very much. They’d say she wasn’t nice, she wasn’t good enough for me, etc. but when I was with her, I didn’t see any of that. I only saw the good things.

      Sometimes, you just need to take a step back and examine the situation from a different perspective. I’m hoping that joining the SCA will force Rogers to re-examine the party she pledges her allegiance to.

      • Gus Snarp

        she’s genuinely not seeing what the rest of us see

        OK, but did she not, in the interview with Greta Christina, say that opposition to gay rights, opposition to secularism, and opposition to abortion could not be Republican positions because the  majority of Republicans did not agree with them? Is it possible that she doesn’t know that there is an official Republican Party platform that lays out the Republican position on these and many other issues? Is she not smart enough to not make claims about what is and isn’t a Republican position without first reading the party platform and finding that, yes, all those things are official Republican positions? I’m sorry, but her statements to Greta reveal her to be either lying or incredibly ignorant about her own professional field.

        But even if she hadn’t said that, does what you are saying really make sense? She didn’t see the religious right taking over the Republican Party? She worked for George W. Bush! You would have to completely block out all political media to have not noticed, and even been told directly about, the religious right’s takeover of the Republican Party. There have been a huge number of stories about just that over the last 15 years. And again, she worked for George W. Bush. And we’re to believe that she didn’t sit in meetings where people talked about the importance of winning the religious right? At no point did it become clear who was holding W’s leash? I’m sorry, the claim that she honestly didn’t think the Republican Party had been largely taken over by the religious right and become anti-gay, anti-choice, and anti-secular, is just not credible.

      • http://friendlyatheist.com Richard Wade

        I’m all for giving someone a chance, but I need to see evidence of promise and evidence of progress.

        Regarding evidence of promise, so far there is plenty of unpromising evidence that she is not suitable.  Her responses to pointed questions about that evidence are disappointingly ambiguous, fuzzy, and laden with apparently naive ignorance about the party she still supports.  In other words, she doesn’t talk like a focused activist. She talks just like the obfuscating, equivocating, massage-your-mind sound bite-spewing politicians she’s been hanging around.

        I’m hoping that joining the SCA will force Rogers to re-examine the party she pledges her allegiance to.

        The SCA might be beneficial to Rogers in waking her up to reality, but in the meantime will she be beneficial to the SCA?  The central rationale that I’ve heard for hiring her is that she will have many doors open to her that someone without her Republican history would find closed.

        I think those doors are slamming shut right now.

        Republicans have no problem instantly abandoning and vilifying one of their own the moment they’re tainted with something antithetical to their ideology. Their loyalties quickly evaporate. They run away from atheism faster than Ricky Gervais runs away from a hand grenade tossed onto his sidewalk cafe table. Edwina Rogers is now officially and publicly an “activist atheist.” I’m afraid that when she calls on her old political affiliates, her phone calls will not be returned, her emails will be deleted, and receptionists will tell her that Senator so-in-so is regrettably unavailable.  The shunning might even be worse than what she’d face if she were known as a liberal Democrat, because her old Republican affiliates know that she knows things about them. The very same insider knowledge that she says will be an “in” will be seen as a reason to lock her out.

        Regarding evidence of progress, I’d need to see some refreshingly unambiguous, powerful statements and actions to counteract both her past affiliations with a party that is deeply antithetical to secularist causes, and her troubling apparent obliviousness to that party’s dangerous dalliance with extremist religious groups and ideas.

        Here’s a handful of suggested things she could do to gain more credibility:

        Repudiate statements like Mike Huckabee’s 2008 remark that the Constitution should be rewritten to fit the Bible, a sentiment that he and others have repeated since in many forms.

        Call out Mitt Romney for his 2007 speech where he tried to rally the evangelicals under his banner against the “religion of secularism.” This is one of the very few themes that Romney has remained constant on, and he’s recently escalating it, claiming that Obama is waging a “war on religion.” Romney is a shameless demagogic liar, and she should call him that, word-for-word.

        Denounce the Republicans who affiliate with “The Foundation” aka “The Family,” aka “the C Street Group” for its many nefarious manipulations, not just limited to promoting barbaric anti-gay laws in Uganda.

        Decry and specifically refute Rick Santorum’s repeated assertions that there is no, and should be no separation of church and state.

        Publicly scold the Republican Party for being in bed with many  Dominionist individuals and groups who spout revisionist American history that claims the U.S. is a “Christian nation,” as an attempt to lay the ideological foundation for a Christian theocracy.

        Now even just one of these would probably demolish whatever inroads Edwina has with the Republican Party, but it would certainly give her much more credibility among the people who hesitate to continue supporting the SCA while she remains working there. Do we want to be represented by someone who plays the same dishonest games as those we oppose, or do we want to be represented by someone who bravely tells it like it is?

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


         she’s genuinely not seeing what the rest of us see ”

        Are you really that dim? 

      • Charon

         “the Republican Party when it was more moderate”

        Hemant, if you were talking about the Republican party of Eisenhower, you might actually have had a point. (Teddy Roosevelt, and you’d definitely have had one.) But if you think the Republican party of the 80′s and 90′s (and 00′s) wasn’t strongly influence by the religious right (do you remember the Moral Majority? Ralph Reed? Etc., etc., etc.), you clearly don’t remember any politics from the past few decades.

        I’m not denying the Republicans are even more extreme today, but was the Gingrich era really all that “moderate”? Hell no.

      • PamEllis


        she’s genuinely not seeing what the rest of us see — the GOP heading further to the right”

        That right there means the SCA should not have hired her.  Such a  person does not have the intelligence to perform the stated requirements of the job.

      • DeannaK

        Sorry but this whole thing is smelling like a book deal for Edwina Rogers.  You know, “My Year Undercover with the Atheists”.  You know, “Eat, Pray, Love” or “Julie and Julia”, but with Atheists. 

  • http://wading-in.net/walkabout Al Denelsbeck

    All right, this post almost reached the point of being condescending. In both politics and job interviews, any responsible person weighs the comments coming from a candidate’s mouth, obviously tailored to appease the voter/hirer, against the record of their performance. Rogers’ performance politically is somewhat vague – regardless of who she worked for in the past, what exactly did she accomplish in those positions? I mean, I really didn’t see any of her past employers making any efforts to bridge the divide.

    Responsible people also check to see if the behavior matches the goals and ideals of an organization, since someone who ‘just needs a job’ or, worse, has their own plans once they reach office, are going to be far less useful than someone who possesses the ideology. So when we hear:

    Still, she has said time and time again that she doesn’t align with the party on those fronts.

    …that’s really not enough for us, especially when she has given significant personal campaign contributions to one of the most anti-secular candidates seen in the past 40 years. Seriously, don’t fucking chide us when we’re concerned that the words don’t match the actions.

    And finally, we have given her a chance: her interview with Greta Christina was an excellent opportunity for her to demonstrate her lobbying skills and useful approaches. I can come up with seven distinctly different replies all much better than “the Republican party isn’t really like that.”

    Not, “we can achieve a separation between the petty emotional appeals and the core values of the voters.”  Not, “we have a goal to emphasize the responsibilities of the offices rather than the popularity polls.”  Not even, “partisan politics has taken away most of the voters’ choices.” All of those, and more besides, would have shown both drive and at least some recognition of useful approaches. What we got was abject denial that one of her primary tasks even existed.

    So, put it away. If your donations have dropped, talk to your hiring crew, see if they’ll pick up the slack. Otherwise, start demonstrating that she knows what she’s doing.

    • TaylorMaid

       I think it reached far past the point of condescension. I used to really like his articles, but lately a lot of them feel like paternalistic tut-tutting.

      • PamEllis

        I like the term “Concern troll”

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


      Still, she has said time and time again that she doesn’t align with the party on those fronts”

      It’s not just that that’s not enough for us, it’s that Hemant is flat-out lying; she never said any such thing. What she has said, repeatedly, is that the Republican Party does not have the platform that it does in fact have.

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


    Edwina Rogers is only different in that she’s coming from a party that actively opposes our values.”

    Like Ms. Rogers, that isn’t honest. If you’ve read her interview with Greta Christina, you know that she denies the very nature of the Republican Party and its platform … she denies that it actively opposes our values. She’s a professional liar, a sleazy person who refers to “the Democrat Party” and wraps gifts with dollar bills.

  • Charon

    Edwina Rogers is only different in that she’s coming from a party that actively opposes our values.

    I agree with a lot of the other arguments that this is certainly not the only way she’s different. But… come on, isn’t this enough?! She worked for and ardently supported not only a party, but many individual politicians, who actively oppose our values.

  • thebigJ_A

    This really does go too far. Being accommodationist is one thing, bending over backward to deny reality is another.  Misrepresenting the arguments of those who disagree with you is just too much, Hemant.   


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