2008 Media Coverage

See the Secular Coalition's radio and podcast coverage from 2005-2009, or our list of book recommendations. Navigate press coverage by year using the links at the bottom of the page. 

AOL news

Now you can add atheists to the list of Warren haters. According to the LA Times, the Secular Coalition for America has written to Obama, calling Warren "intolerant" and asking: "Who on your inaugural dais will express the viewpoints of not only the tens of millions of nontheistic Americans, but the majority of citizens who believe there is now too much religious influence in our politics and government?"

USA Today

After eight years of a Republican president whose central domestic policy was tax cuts, Americans who want a more activist government are aching to see their causes addressed. During the campaign, Obama told many of them just what they wanted to hear. The question now is which pledges Obama tackles first, which ones have to wait and which ones will survive contact with Congress and special interest groups in Washington...The Secular Coalition for America called on Obama to overhaul military policies to reduce what it sees as religious discrimination against non-believers in the armed forces.

Wall Street Journal

The new ad campaigns and other public-relations efforts are designed to raise comfort levels about atheism by making the point that nonbelievers are "just as ethical and moral as anyone else," said Lori Lipman Brown, who lobbies Congress on behalf of the Secular Coalition for America.

Related Media: Unfair Comments, Coalition president Herb Silverman's letter to the editor of The Post and Courier Charleston.net

Ft. Lewis Ranger

Contrary to the popular phrase, atheists do exist in foxholes, according to an organization fighting to support the nonreligious in uniform. Atheists and others with no religious affiliation comprise 21 percent of the U.S. Armed Forces, according to a recent joint release from the Military Association of Atheists and Freethinkers, or MAAF, and the Secular Coalition for America. These organizations are calling on President-elect Barack Obama to vet new appointments and promotions within the administration to ensure candidates are committed "to fostering a secular military that protects the religious liberty and freedom of conscience of our soldiers." [Webmaster's note: Story not online; link opens the newspaper's homepage.]

OneNewsNow.com

A former evangelical Navy chaplain is appalled that a coalition of atheists and agnostics want to squelch the religious expression of Christians in the military. The Secular Coalition for America recently held a news conference urging president-elect Barack Obama to enact new rules against proselytizing and more training for chaplains on how to handle nonreligious groups.

Army Times

President-elect Barack Obama is being urged to provide freedom from religion for service members who claim no religious faith. The Military Association of Atheists and Freethinkers and the Secular Coalition for America have sent a joint letter to Obama asking him to prevent religious discrimination against the 21 percent of service members who have no religious affiliation.

Mother Jones (MoJoBlog)

This week the Secular Coalition for America, a national lobbying group for "atheists, humanists and freethinkers," released its wish list. The group is not looking for Obama to remove "In God We Trust" from US currency. It has a more a modest agenda: countering what it claims is discrimination against atheists and non-Christians in the military.

The American Prospect

In light of service members' stories of aggressive evangelizing, the ostracizing of nonbelievers, and the failure of the military to investigate complaints by non-theists of discrimination, the Secular Coalition [for] America ... and the Military Association of Atheists and Freethinkers (MAAF) are asking the incoming Obama administration to consider changes to military regulations to protect their rights and ensure the implementation of procedures for investigating complaints.

Stars and Stripes

A coalition of atheists and agnostics wants the new White House to protect young military members from what they see as rampant religious discrimination in the services.

Religion News Service

A national atheist lobbying group is calling on President-elect Barack Obama to overhaul military policies in an effort to reduce what it sees as religious discrimination in the armed forces.

Roll Call

Last week's historic elections certainly meant a lot of things to the Washington lobby scene, but for [the advocacy group Secular Coalition for America], the most significant was the re-election of California Democratic Rep. Pete Stark. [Paid subscription required)]

NewsOK.com

The Oklahoman online covers our Atheists in Foxholes briefing.

Daily Kos

Daily Kos blogs our press release congratulating Pete Stark on a sweeping victory.

The Nation

Oct. 27, 2008 edition - Agnostic, Atheist Votes Matter in November
[Print version: "All Ye Unfaithful"]

The Nation magazine features an important article by historian and journalist Ronald Aronson on the need for secular voters to organize into a powerful political force. Also by Ronald Aronson: Don't count us out (USA Today)

New York Times

The New York Times talks to the Secular Coalition's director about the state of the movement to mobilize a political constituency for secular issues, and profiles citizens in Colorado working to get out the secular vote and defeat an initiative to define human life as beginning at conception. (May require registration.)

Religion News Service

Religion News Service interviews secular leaders, including Coalition director Lori Lipman Brown, about the growing secular constituency's response to campaigns that court religious voters while ignoring nonbelievers.

Wall Street Journal

Sept. 27, 2008 - Letter to the Editor

"If religious institutions are allowed to become partisan political actors, tax-deductible contributions could be used to support campaigns, but with no public disclosure requirements." - Secular Coalition for America director Lori Lipman Brown.

OnFaith, washingtonpost.com

As a Guest Voice for OnFaith, Secular Coalition for America director Lori Lipman Brown addresses military proselytizing, religion in education, and the Faith-Based Initiative.

The Hill's Congress Blog

Explores Palin's position on teaching creationism in public schools.

Washington Post

The Interfaith Gathering was the first of several interfaith events scheduled during the convention. The Secular Coalition of [sic] America had written to Daughtry to ask that atheists, agnostics and secular humanists be included in these events. The Associated Press reported that she received the request but never responded.

California Majority Report

But a different story has unfolded for nontheists at the Democratic National Convention. After the DNC announced a multi-faith opening prayer event led by a Pentecostal minister, the Secular Coalition for America sent a letter to Leah Daughtry, CEO of the Democratic National Committee, asking for some nontheistic inclusion. The Secular Coalition for America offered to fly someone to Denver to participate in the event, but the DNC never responded.

Detroit Free Press

"We can all hold different beliefs," said the group's executive director, Lori Lipman Brown, "but we can still come together as patriotic Americans." Brown said the coalition wrote convention Chief Executive Officer Leah D. Daughtry twice in July asking for inclusion but has received no response.

GetReligion.org

Aug. 21, 2008 - Interfaith and No Faith

[A news blog by and for religion reporters covered the Coalition's letter to the Democratic National Convention's CEO.] They [the media] have covered the ups and downs of organizing a religious service for a diverse political group....

Denver Post

Hearing of the plans for the prayer/unity/values event leading off the convention on August 24, Ron Millar, Associate Director of the Secular Coalition for America, wrote a letter on July 2 to Leah Daughtry, CEO of the Democratic National Committee and planner of the "big tent" event. He asked Daughtry if nontheistic Americans were welcome and, if so, how this would be manifested.

Colorado Springs Gazette

The Secular Coalition Group [sic], a lobbying organization for church-and-state separation, is pushing to get an atheist on the speaker list, and contends the service is divisive because it alienates nonreligious Democrats at a time when the party needs to unite to support the presumptive nominee, Sen. Barack Obama. "We can all hold different beliefs," said the group's executive director, Lori Lipman Brown, "but we can still come together as patriotic Americans."

Huffington Post

Hearing of the plans for the prayer/unity/values event leading off the convention on August 24, Ron Millar, Associate Director of the Secular Coalition for America, wrote a letter on July 2 to Leah Daughtry, CEO of the Democratic National Committee and planner of the "big tent" event. He asked Daughtry if nontheistic Americans were welcome and, if so, how this would be manifested.

Catholic Exchange

Catholic League president Bill Donohue comments today on the role that atheists are seeking at the Democratic National Convention...Among those who are already offended by the watered-down event is the Secular Coalition of [sic] America. [Webmaster's note: Coalition member Freedom From Religion Foundation was also mentioned in Donohue's comments, and this article was used in BeliefNet's God-o-Meter]

Huffington Post

Article on the interfaith gathering that will open the Democratic Convention in Denver.

Philadelphia Inquirer

Aug. 6, 2008 - No Religion Test

I am distressed by the prominence given to the religion of potential vice presidential candidates in "VP choice sideshow" (Inquirer, Aug. 4). For almost every person mentioned, religion is one of two or three key facts mentioned. Last I heard, the Constitution prohibits a religious test for public office, including the vice presidency. [Letter to the editor from Coalition director Lori Lipman Brown]

Religion Clause

The Secular Coalition for America...issued a release expressing dismay at the exclusion of "tens of millions of American voters who are nontheists." It says it has written Convention CEO Leah Daughtry suggesting that the interfaith event will be divisive, and seeking to discuss ways to make the Convention more inclusive.

OnFaith, washingtonpost.com

Harvard Humanist Chaplain Greg Epstein speaks to On Faith about lobbying with the Secular Coalition for America to end military proselytizing.

Washington Post

Requiring families to raise their own funds to send their children to private religious schools is not punishing students, contrary to what The Post suggested in the June 24 editorial "A Choice for D.C. Children." Continuing the D.C. Opportunity Scholarship Program (OSP) using federal tax dollars is, however, punishing Americans who agree with the Founders of our nation that we should not be forced to support any individual's church. [Letter to the editor from Coalition director Lori Lipman Brown]

Washington Post

Pointing to a 2006 poll, which estimates that between 14 and 18 percent of Americans consider themselves atheists, agnostics, humanists or not religious, humanists see a big demand for their own education programs. In May, the American Humanist Association announced the launch of the Kochhar Humanist Education Center in Northwest D.C. to develop a curriculum for the humanist equivalent of Sunday school. [Webmaster's note: The American Humanist Association is a Secular Coalition for America member organization.]

Freethought Today

The Secular Coalition for America, of which the Freedom From Religion Foundation is a member organization, has completed a review of the 24 Congressional Appropriations Committee reports for the fiscal year 2008 appropriations process, finding at least 140 earmarks deemed "constitutionally suspect." Those earmarks total almost $30 million in public funds, which have now been appropriated.

Roll Call

Apr. 28, 2008 'K St Files' - [no link available]

The Secular Coalition for America, a lobbying organization for the nonreligious, must have done some evangelizing of late. It has hired its second lobbyist, Sasha Bartolf, formerly of Congressional Quarterly. In addition, the American Ethical Union voted to join the coalition, becoming its ninth member.

PublicEye.org (Political Research Associates)

There are two main usages of the word "secular." One has to do with the relationship between government and public life. A secular government or a secular policy of government is neutral in relationship to religion; not just in the sense of not preferring one religion over another, but also in relation to non-religious persons and groups ... The second definition makes "secular" synonymous with non-belief, or more particularly, non-theism. A good example of this contemporary usage comes from the Secular Coalition for America, a Washington D.C.-based "national lobby for atheists, humanists, freethinkers and other nontheistic Americans." The Secular Coalition's mission statement further explains: "While the coalition was created expressly by and for nontheistic Americans, we also enthusiastically welcome the participation of religious individuals who share our view that freedom of conscience must extend to people of all faiths and of none." And then, the group employs the other main usage of secular: "...our full-time lobbyist and support staff engage public policy makers and the media to increase the visibility and respectability of nontheistic viewpoints and to protect and strengthen the secular character of our government as the best guarantee of freedom for all."

American Association for Justice

"The intention of WRFA [the Workplace Religious Freedom Act] is lovely," said Lori Lipman Brown, director of the Secular Coalition for America, a Washington, D.C.-based group that represents nontheistic Americans. "But some denominations require their members to evangelize 24/7, and if you limit that, you're 'taking God away from them.' They believe that 'free exercise' means they get to tell their coworkers that they are sinners and are going to hell. And indeed, for us it's a very big issue because the people most likely to be harangued are nonbelievers. This is going to have a huge impact on the day-to-day workplace," she predicted.

GWHatchet.com

Herb Silverman, president of the Secular Coalition of America, was the only atheist panelist present and said faith and politics should be kept wholly separate.

Washington Jewish Week

Mar. 5, 2008 - Lori Lipman Brown

In 2005, Brown moved to Washington, D.C., for what she calls her "dream job," as director of the Secular Coalition for America, a nonprofit organization that advocates on church-state issues and, according to its mission statement, works to "increase the visibility and respectability of nontheistic viewpoints in the United States."

New York Times

The atheist lobby, in the blond, pregnant person of Jennifer Lange, waited with diminishing patience for the elevator in the Legislative Office Building. [Webmaster's note: This article features the public policy activities of the Institute for Humanist Studies (IHS), a founding member of the Secular Coalition for America. IHS lobbies the New York state legislature in Albany; the Secular Coalition lobbies the U.S. Congress in Washington, D.C. Both organizations focus on legislation affecting the rights and interests of atheists, humanists, freethinkers and other nontheistic Americans.]

The Minnesota Monitor, Minnesota

Minnesota's U.S. Rep. John Kline, R-Minn., is one of 31 co-sponsors of [H. Res. 888]. The Secular Coalition for America took aim at the resolution last week saying it "promotes a false and distorted Christian nation reinterpretation of our history." The group says it doesn't take positions on resolutions, but the bill was so "outrageous" that the group felt compelled to speak out.

CommonDreams.org

The Secular Coalition for America responds to H.Res. 888 (republication of our press release).

St. Paul Pioneer Press (Minnesota)

Each Sunday morning, as Twin Cities Christians prepare for church, a handful of people will gather at an Eden Prairie radio station to spread their gospel: There is no God. They're the voice of Minnesota Atheists, a Minneapolis-based group that touts itself as the state's oldest and largest atheist organization. The program, which debuted this weekend, will air Sundays from 9 a.m. to 10 a.m. on KTNF-AM 950 Air America. So far, major sponsors come from like-minded organizations such as the American Humanist Association and Humanists of Minnesota. Others are EvolveFish.com -- which sells those Darwin fish symbols with the little feet -- Secular Coalition for America, and the secular-humanist Camp Quest of Minnesota.

Religion News Service

Dec. 31, 2008 - Secular Coalition for America Joins Civil Rights Group (no link available)

The Secular Coalition for America has been accepted as a new member of the Leadership Conference on Civil Rights, the coalition announced. "This decision says as much about the LCCR and its willingness to acknowledge and include nontheists as it does about the Secular Coalition and its recognition of our theistic allies who support our rights," said Lori Lipman Brown, director of the Washington-based coalition. Her group is one of eight that joined the conference in 2007, and aims to work with it on issues of equal justice, mutual respect and equal opportunity. Brown said the move marks the first time the civil rights organization has included a nontheist advocacy group whose members include atheists, humanists or others who do not believe in God. Several religious groups have already been aligned with the Washington-based conference, including the African Methodist Episcopal Church, the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, the Presbyterian Church (USA), the Unitarian Universalist Association and the United Synagogue of Conservative Judaism.

 

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