On Monday, a Congressional Briefing on Secular America

The Secular Coalition for America is having its first-ever Congressional Briefing this Monday, October 1st at 10:30a.

That’s a big freakin’ deal:

Lost in much of the discussion about religion in the public sphere is the ever growing population of Americans who feel that religion should be a private matter and that entanglement between church and the government inevitably causes problems for both. A recent Pew Center for the People and the Press study of polls in 2011 found that 19 percent of Americans select “None” for their religious affiliation. Who are these “Nones”? How can the government best protect their liberties? What do they bring to our national conversation?

Join us for a discussion on the past, present, and future of secular America.

The Briefing is intended for Congressional staff and Members of Congress — how many will actually come is up in the air — but it’s open to the public.

There will also be a panel discussion at the meeting, featuring Professor Ira “Chip” Lupu (George Washington University Professor Emeritus of Law), David Niose (American Humanist Association), and Greg Epstein (Humanist Chaplain at Harvard University).

More information is below:

If you can make it, this is one of those events where a strong showing would make for great press.

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://kungfujoe.myopenid.com/ Erik Harris

    Any wagers on congressional attendance? I’d be surprised if it wasn’t a single-digit number. I really hope I’m wrong.

    • http://friendlyatheist.com Richard Wade

      I hope you’re wrong too, but to try to make what I anticipate is going to be a complete bust into some kind of compensation, I will wager ten to one odds that ZERO Congressmen or Senators personally show up. If one or more does, I’ll donate $100 dollars to the Secular Coalition for America, and anyone who accepts the wager will donate $10 dollars to the SCA if no actual Congressmen or Senators attend. If multiple people wish to wager, I can still only afford to donate a total of $100, but you’re only risking $10, and it’s going to a good cause.

      I expect that if any congressional employee attends, they will be low level aids or assistants of a very few Congressmen or Senators.

      I really hope I’m wrong. I’m not betting against the SCA or our efforts to gain political recognition. Think of it as betting against my own cynicism about the craven and unprincipled nature of our elected representatives. If I end up paying  the $100, it will be a good lesson for me to not be so pessimistic, a lesson I’d very much like to learn. If I end up “winning,” I’ll be sad, but I’ll still keep working on being more optimistic.

  • ortcutt

    I’ve always disliked the slogan “religion as a private matter”.  Religion isn’t a private matter to most religious people, and we sound stupid when we claim that it should be.  The religious meet in public to worship.  They put things in the newspaper about what the churches are doing.  They can put religious symbols to their hearts delight in privately-owned, public spaces.  All of that is fine and no business of mine.  My issue isn’t with public religion, it’s with government religion.  There are many, many aspects of the public world that don’t have anything to do with the government. 

  • Theory_of_I

    It isn’t the private practice of  religion that causes problems, nor the local congregation. It is the Industry of Religion and it’s massive hierarchy of interdiscipinary strategists, PR hacks and lobbyists that persistantly work to infiltrate politics, manipulate politicians and constantly attempt to subvert the Constitutional limitations that protect the ‘none” portion of the population. 

  • http://www.youtube.com/user/GodVlogger?feature=mhee GodVlogger (on YouTube)

    I hope the Secular Coalition of America will have one of those mass e-mailing drives, where we can use their server to plug in our zip code and it will automatically pre-populate an email to our own representatives, encouraging them to attend, and then giving us a place to sign with our own names, hometowns, etc. (so they know that they have folks in their own districts who care about this). 

  • Bretwinograd

    Will this discussion be broadcast on Cspan or recorded and uploaded to YouTube?


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