The Secular Coalition for America plans to establish state chapters across the country by the end of this year because many of the issues we fight for are put in jeopardy at the state level.
Executive Director Edwina Rogers elaborates:
“In our current U.S. Congress, 38 percent of Representatives held local office first,” said Rogers. “When we get to law makers at the local level, not only are we going to help curb some of the most egregious legislation we’re seeing, but we are also building relationships and working to educate legislators on our issues, before they even get to Washington.”
But they’re already getting pushback from the Religious Right as they enter their first few states:
Johnnie Moore, vice president of Executive Projects at Liberty University in Lynchburg, told The Christian Post that the SCA’s focus on his state was due to Virginia’s importance on the national stage as a bellwether state.
“They clearly recognize Virginia is a state of great symbolic and national consequence,” said Moore. “Many Virginians would consider it a compliment that our state is so committed to the founding principles of our nation that we would cause alarm to an organization whose agenda is as radical as this one.”
Riiiiiight. That radical agenda of treating atheists as equal citizens and maintaining separation of church and state.
In Kentucky, one pastor asked his followers to barge in on the phone call for potential organizers:
Lee Watts, leader of God & Country Ministry, and self-proclaimed “chaplain to the Kentucky state government” encouraged followers to disrupt the initial organizing call for the Kentucky SCA chapter scheduled for Thursday. His website claims the Secular Coalition is, “working to lobby state law makers to push their anti-God, anti-religious liberty agenda” and claims that the SCA is attempting to “abolish traditional marriage.”
“We are not anti-marriage or anti-religion — we are pro-religious liberty,” said Lauren Anderson Youngblood, Communications Manager for the Secular Coalition for America. “We advocate for a strong separation of religion and government because it’s the best guarantee of that liberty for all Americans, regardless of their personal religious beliefs.”
Seráh Blain, head of the Secular Coalition of Arizona, has dealt with many of these local issues. She supports the SCA’s expansion and knows how important grassroots activism really is:
“Too much erosion to the wall of protection between religion and government happens at the local level, and can best be addressed by grassroots, secular organizing,” says Blain. “This is where SC Arizona excels. In addition to lobbying at the State Capitol, we’re working on growing local nontheistic communities; implementing a school board task-force to protect our secular public schools; and engaging the broader community in conversations about the importance of secular government. We’re looking forward to getting more people involved in secular activism.”
If you’d like to be a part of the SCA’s outreach, details about the conference calls with members from each state can be found here. It would be pretty amazing if SCA planted the seeds for groups in every state by the end of the year…