Christian Right Leader: The Secular Coalition for America Wants to Take Away Christians’ First Amendment Rights

After the Secular Coalition for America announced it would be expanding into Washington, D.C., Tom McClusky of the D.C.-based Family Research Council had some choice words for them:

Tom McClusky during a 2011 C-SPAN appearance

The national group already seems to want to make sure that those with religious beliefs don’t get the first amendment rights that are granted to them,” Tom McClusky, senior vice president of the Family Research Council’s lobbying arm, told Whispers.

McClusky said he doesn’t think SCA can succeed locally.

We’re a Christian nation. And the closer you get to the voting public, the more willing people are to fight for their rights,” he said. “If these guys really want to challenge Christians, bring it on.”

Wow. Two lies and challenging his opponent to a duel. McClusky’s following the FRC playbook perfectly.

Obviously, the SCA has no desire to take away any rights from the non-religious. They just want to advocate for church/state separation and the inclusion of atheists at the political roundtable.

As to the challenge, I asked the SCA’s Communications Manager Lauren Anderson Youngblood what she thought of it. She told me this:

The message Mr. McClusky is pushing on behalf of the FRC is hypocritical.

Freedom of religion is not meant only for Mr. McClusky’s particular brand of Christianity, but extends to all religions and no religion. The reality is that FRC is upset that Americans are standing up and challenging the privileged position that they and other religious groups have had for decades.

We aren’t taking away Mr. McClusky’s First Amendment rights. All Americans have the right to believe what they want. What we’re doing is proudly exercising our right to speak the truth about religious privilege and the harm that comes from giving out billions of our tax dollars to groups that discriminate and want to impose their own narrow dogma on the rest of our nation.

But Mr. McClusky is right about one thing: people are willing to fight for their rights. They’re willing to fight for marriage equality. They’re willing to fight to protect access to birth control. They’re willing to fight to ensure that our government does not give special treatment to any religion. That’s why we’re organizing in every state across the nation. And that’s why the American people — religious and non-religious — will be on board with the work we’re doing.

Secularism is one of America’s core founding principles — that’s why our founders took great pains to ensure it was a part of our Constitution. Ignoring that doesn’t make it untrue.

Challenge accepted.

Booya! BRING IT, McCLUSKEY!

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.


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