Secular Coalition for America Makes History with Administration Briefing

On February 26, 2010, the Secular Coalition for America, along with a unified delegation of members of the secular movement from across the country, sat down with White House representatives for an official policy briefing—the first of its kind for American nontheists. The event opened up new channels of dialogue between American nontheists and the Obama administration, serving as the latest indication that we are gaining significant momentum, and that secular Americans, numbering in the tens of millions, are a constituency that must be included in national policy decisions.

Herb Silverman

Since our meeting, rightwing groups have been telling the media that ours is a “hate-filled” coalition, but the truth is that our message could not have been more compassionate and constructive. We used this historic opportunity to raise issues such as protecting children from religiously-based medical neglect, ending military proselytizing, and curtailing religious discrimination. SCA President Herb Silverman responded to some the far-right’s attacks in his Washington Post On Faith column, and outlined the secular movement’s struggle for justice on behalf of all Americans, even those with whom we disagree. 

To get a better idea of the positive, inclusive agenda we brought to the administration, take a look at the formal testimony of our presenters:

The news media took note of the significance of the meeting, with coverage by ABC News, USA Today, the Washington Post, and the McClatchy News Service (appearing in the Miami Herald, the Denver Post, the Sacramento Bee and other large papers). All over the blogosphere, the event remains a topic of impassioned discussion. Over at the Christian Broadcasting Network, one rightwing pundit warned that the SCA and its allies are “influential” and “very effective.” We’re pretty sure he didn’t mean it as a compliment, but we agree just the same.

The Secular Coalition for America has big goals for the coming months and years. We’re executing a strategy that will see us expanding our base of issues, increasing our lobbying efforts, and generating new and innovative ways for secular Americans to connect, network, and get active throughout America. As Sean Faircloth said in his closing remarks to the administration:

“It is not our disbelief that brings us before you today. Rather it is our deep belief in the light of reason -- and our confidence that the light of reason and justice will lead us all to a better and more compassionate world.”

Sasha  Bartolf

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