Dave Silverman Interviews Edwina Rogers

Dave Silverman of American Atheists interviewed the controversial Executive Director of the Secular Coalition for America, Edwina Rogers, and he gets right into the issues people have been talking about online:

Highlights:

7:29: Dave asks her to justify the Republican politicians she’s worked for: On social policies, they’re the “bad guys,” right?! Rogers acknowledges that the GOP has indeed shifted hard to the right when it comes to the social trends, but says that she was never involved on those issues and the politicians never asked her about them.

10:50: Dave asks about Rogers’ donation to the Rick Perry campaign. “Did you ever pray for rain?” No, says Rogers with a laugh.

13:30: Dave asks about the cognitive dissonance in supporting Republican policies while being socially liberal. (“There is no perfect elected official,” says Rogers)

19:38: Rogers: “I think secular values are American values.”

21:25: What’s the future of the Secular Coalition for America?

25:53: Dave asks Rogers about some of the laws she’d like to see passed. Rogers stumbles here more than I would like. She offers the example of ending discrimination based on religious beliefs and sexual orientation, and passing anti-bullying laws that protect atheists who are bullied in school… without trampling over people’s free speech rights. But there’s no mention of ending religious exemptions for people who kill their children because they prayed for their health to improve instead of taking them to a doctor. There’s no mention of ending or limiting the power of The White House Office of Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships. Those items should be rolling off her tongue.

Was there anything else that stood out to you?

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.

  • Justinvacula

    Edwina Rogers, not Kagin :)

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

      FML. Fixed.

    • Dan

       Now that would have been a cool interview!

  • Annie

    I am going to write this with every effort to not sound too harsh, and fully aware that these are just my own perceptions, but every time she speaks I feel that she is trying to say what she thinks we all want to hear.  Perhaps it is simply her personality and I am misreading it, but as much as I try to find passion in her, I just don’t see it.  Perhaps the job doesn’t require passion for the cause?

  • jagadishchandar

    She seems to have sacrificed some of her (social) beliefs for others (economic) that she believes are more important. She seems aware of this and is OK with it too. I kinda like her.

  • GBJames

    Not. Impressed. All of the Republican baggage aside, Rogers simply does not seem very bright (apologies to the Brights).

  • Jfigdor

    I have a lot of respect for Republicans like Dave Silverman, who do the responsible thing and accept that they have to vote Democratic in order to defend the separation of Church and State. I wish there was a conservative party that actually stood for small government, separation of church and state, and real fiscal conservatism. Not that I would vote for them, but they would find a lot of support from libertarians like Dave (and supposedly Ms. Rogers).

    Personally, I found her “explanation” that she was willing to work with campaigns that actively campaigned against social issues she disagreed with them about rather lacking. Please come up with a better reason for why you were willing to sacrifice your moral values other than: “geez, fiscal policy was just more interesting/important to me.”

    • Jfigdor

      Note: not that Democrats are paragons of excellence as far as church/state separation is concerned.

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=553145445 Gordon Duffy

       What the US needs is a genuine progressive party

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

        And the way things are set up, that party must be either the Republican Party or the Democratic Party.  I’d choose the latter, but would accept the former and re-register.  Third parties are going nowhere.

  • http://squeakysoapbox.com/ Rich Wilson

    Rick Perry?  Rick “In Texas we teach both Evolution AND Creation” Perry?

    I don’t hold a candidate’s religion against them.  I can’t.  I’d have nobody to vote for.  But I do require them to be smarter than a rock.  Which pretty much rules out Young Earth Creationists.

    Ms. Rogers is losing my benefit of the doubt.

    • Maya Kulik

       I can’t, “like”, this comment enough.

  • http://www.facebook.com/JohnAKieffer John Kieffer

    Ms. Rogers seems very professional and knowledgeable about the political world. 
    Unfortunately though, her professional experience has left her with no “feel” whatsoever for what our movement is about.  She seems to comprehend her mission with SCA as simply driving a moderately liberal social agenda. 
     
    Further, and probably because of her immersion within the Republican movement, she seems totally unaware of the dynamics, vis Dominionist/theocratic elements, driving those social issues within the party that she had worked for.  The fact that she donated to Texas Gov. Rick Perry speaks volumes in this regard.  

    Moreover, Ms. Rogers has absolutely no visible passion for — or expressed urgency toward — the critical issues concerning the very real assault on church/state separation by a well organized Christian movement, which, btw, propelled Perry up the charts until he started talking.

    Ms. Rogers is a general that’s completely unaware of the war that she’s been tasked to lead in.    

  • Jporgal

    Let me say this, I respect Dave and everything he has done for the movement. But on this one decision, I just don’t trust her. There is something wrong with this woman.
    Was the board of directors smoking crack the day they made this decision?

  • http://www.atheistrev.com vjack

    I have many of the same reservations about Rogers, but I’m in favor of giving her a chance and seeing what she can do. I’m not sure who could be fairly expected to take a new job like this and be perfect right from the start. I’d like to see her get a real chance.

  • http://www.agnostic-library.com/ma/ PsiCop

    Re: “There is no perfect elected official,” says Rogers

    How true that is. I live in Corrupticut, where … over the last 15 years or so … we’ve had a steady parade of politicians on the take being investigated, prosecuted, and in many cases jailed for their corruption. The list includes Republicans (e.g. governor John Rowland, his chief of staff and assistant chief of staff, and treasurer Paul Sylvester) as well as Democrats (city mayors Joe Ganim and Eddie Perez, and state senator Ernie Newton).

    Most recently it looks as though state House Speaker Chris Donovan is in trouble. He’s running for Congress this year and it seems his Congressional campaign accepted illicit donations from people who wanted him to use his office as Speaker to derail certain legislation.

    It’s quite obvious there is no “perfect elected official” as Rogers says, but it’s equally obvious to me that continually caving in to bad choices and having to compromise all the time is, quite simply, not working. The Republican party is as fervently and militantly Christianist as it ever has been, and this trend is not slowing down. Surrendering to militant Christianists all the time only encourages them to keep up their religionistic wars and only further convinces them that they’re entitled to hammer their metaphysics down the throats of every single American, regardless of what they may or may not believe.

    This can only stop once people like Rogers decide that enough is enough and there is nothing to be gained by caving in all the time.

  • dearestlouise

    There are some key problems I have with her. First, she is not very well spoken. This is not only apparent in this interview but in the interview with Greta Christina. She stumbles a lot, rambles, gets off topic, and doesn’t seem to have prepared at all. 

    Second, I still do not see clear answers of why she supports the Republican party. She mentions that there was a shift in the South and a lot of people jumped parties and that it wasn’t always so socially conservative. This only leads me to believe she is a follower and isn’t willing to stand up to the current state of the Republican party. 

    As someone who has lived their entire life in the South I am very suspicious of anyone who grew up here or currently lives here and can still support the Republican party. The South has the highest teen pregnancy rates, some of the highest poverty rates, a terrible public education system, and Southern states are not “women friendly” in terms of the pay gap and rights. So anyone who grew up here and still votes Republican is not someone I trust. 

    She may not agree with the Republican party on social issues but our social issues impact our economy and that is why we cannot ignore them and it is important to consider them when voting. 

    • Annie

      Yes.  The South used to be filled with many democrats (at least in the case of farmers, working poor, and working class).  The “new Republicans” of the South, which has seen a huge increase in the last 20 years, seem to have made the shift strictly for religious reasons.  In the South, at least to me, republican = religious.

  • Greisha

    First, she is a professional lobbyist and it may be what the movement needs – it has enough passionate people, but not too many professional lobbyists.

    Second, their cameraman does not know a thing about filming.   Almost all the time the video shows side shots, that is very unappealing. 

  • Mrex275

    I think we need an Elizbeth Warren, not an Elizabeth Dole.


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