June 1, 2009: The nontheist movement reached a new milestone when the Secular Coalition for America had its first individual meeting with White House officials last week. Although the Secular Coalition had met with White House officials before, this meeting was significant as it was the first private meeting focused solely on nontheists' interests.
The discussion, held with White House Associate Director of Public Engagement Paul Monteiro, gave Secular Coalition representatives the opportunity to highlight what policy issues concern nontheists most. Specifics topics addressed were coercive religious proselytizing in the military, the faith-based initiatives, and employment discrimination. Read more »
A letter to our constituency from Acting Director Ron Millar
Apr. 27, 2009
I am writing to tell you about my meeting last week, along with other representatives of CARD (Coalition Against Religious Discrimination), with Joshua DuBois, the director of the White House Office of Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships.
I entered the meeting with very mixed emotions. Although I was glad that the Secular Coalition for America has the political connections to meet face-to-face with the person who runs President Obama's new faith-based office, I was saddened that this meeting was even taking place -- saddened that our new president has decided to continue the failed faith-based policies of his predecessor. Read more »
New York Times 2nd Most E-mailed Article Spotlights Secular Coalition for America
Read the full article here [offsite; may require registration] "Local and national atheist organizations have flourished in recent years, fed by outrage over the Bush administration’s embrace of the religious right ... These groups, once rivals, are now pooling resources to lobby in Washington for separation of church and state [through the Secular Coalition for America]." Read more »
The Obama Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) has proposed to rescind the Bush-era "conscience clause" rule that encourages healthcare workers to put their religious needs before the medical needs of patients and also encourages religiously motivated recipients of federal funds to compromise federal programs. However, when HHS proposed to rescind the rule, it also asked for comment "on whether the objectives of the ... rule might also be accomplished through non-regulatory means."
The Secular Coalition for America opposed the adoption of the original rule. Now in a comment letter on the rescission proposal the Secular Coalition has told HHS -- completely rescind the rule. There is no middle ground.
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While the 111th Congress has only been in session for a month, the Secular Coalition for America and its allies won the first battle to protect church-state separation when an amendment by Religious Right favorite, Senator Jim DeMint of South Carolina, was defeated yesterday. Read more »