Who Needs Bible Study? An Atheist Arizona Legislator Will Lead Secular Studies for His Colleagues

Juan Mendez is the State Representative from Tempe, Arizona who was first elected in 2012. He made headlines in our community in 2013 when he delivered the first of two invocations honoring his Secular Humanism. He has also encouraged others to do the same and been a champion of other atheist candidates.

Now, Mendez is preparing to challenge Christian privilege in a new way.


Beginning tomorrow, Mendez will lead a Secular Studies class, in which he and whatever colleagues want to join him will discuss issues relevant to lawmakers from a non-religious viewpoint. It will serve as an alternative to the two Bible studies already offered by Christians in the legislature:

According to an email sent by Mendez to Arizona legislators:

I would like to invite you to our monthly Secular Studies, starting next week Wednesday March 2nd at 11:00 – 12:30 in House Rm 340. Come and join fellow legislators for an in-depth study on topics important to the work we’re doing. This month’s topic is “The Problem We All Live With” desegregation in our public schools. We will listen to the prologue of the NPR This American Life Podcast “The Problem We All Live With” we will then have a discussion led by Serah Blain. Attached is a flyer for our Secular Studies.

secular studies invite

There’s no good reason anyone should complain about this. It’s entirely optional. It’s not anti-religious in any way. But none of that has ever stopped Christian conservatives from playing the persecution card. So we’ll see…

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.