Secular Coalition for South Carolina to Officially Launch Sunday
Washington, D.C—The Secular Coalition for America is excited to announce the official launch of the Secular Coalition for South Carolina, expected to officially launch on Sunday. The Secular Coalition for South Carolina is the second chapter to launch as part of the SCA’s greater effort to establish 50 new state chapters throughout the country this year.
The Secular Coalition for America is a lobbying organization representing nontheistic Americans and advocating protecting and strengthening the secular character of our government. The Secular Coalition for South Carolina will lobby state lawmakers in favor of a strong separation of religion and government.
Secular Coalition for South Carolina Executive Board Co-Chairs, Matthew Facciani, 23 of Columbia, and Amy Monsky, 37 of Summerville, are expected to sign the “Memo of Understanding” that marks the official launch of the chapter, on Sunday at the Carolina Secular Conference in Charleston, SC:
Date: Sunday, September 30, 2012
Time: Between hours of 8 and 10 am
Location: Charleston Marriott, 170 Lockwood Boulevard, Charleston, South Carolina
Co-chair Facciani, said he was excited to head up the Secular Coalition for South Carolina.
“I believe it can create positive change for the secular population of our country and a more harmonious and egalitarian environment for all,” he said. “Our work will directly help defend the rights of secular Americans and provide a voice for those who are in the non-religious minority. This is especially important in an area like South Carolina which is located in the ‘Bible Belt.’
A recent Pew Forum study indicated that 14 percent of South Carolina residents do not express an absolute belief in God, and 30 percent disagreed that “religion is very important to their lives.” According to the study, South Carolina is the second most religious state in the nation—tied with Alabama—and falls behind only Mississippi. In states where non-religious residents represent a small percentage of the population, the need for protections from religious influence on secular government grows. Separation of religion and government is something the majority of Americans value, regardless of their personal beliefs. Another Pew study found that 54% of Americans feel that churches and other houses of worship should keep out of political matters, and 38% says that there has been too much expression of religious faith and prayer from political leaders – a number that has grown to its highest point since the Pew Research Center began asking the question more than a decade ago.
Facciani said that chapter has not targeted any specific legislation yet, but plans to focus on ensuring that government officials rely on high science, logic and quality research—not religious beliefs—in decision making in their official capacities. He said the chapter will also work to prevent discrimination based on religious belief in a number of other areas, such as health care policy.
Since June, the SCA successfully held initial organizing calls for new chapters in 38 states. The remaining 12 states will hold initial organizing calls in October. The Secular Coalition plans to have all chapters up and running in every state, D.C. and Puerto Rico, by the end of the year. A Secular Coalition affiliate is already functional in Arizona and the first chapter, in Colorado, was announced earlier this summer. The Secular Coalition for Pennsylvania is also launching today.
Edwina Rogers, Secular Coalition for America Executive Director said she is excited to see the South Carolina chapter launch. The state chapters play an integral role at the state level, as well as the national level, she said.
“In our current U.S. Congress, 38 percent of Representatives held local office first,” said Rogers. “When we get to law makers at the local level, not only are we going to help curb some of the most egregious legislation we’re seeing, but we are also building relationships and working to educate legislators on our issues, before they even get to Washington.”
The Secular Coalition, which celebrates its 10th anniversary this year, represents 11 nontheistic member organizations and has as traditionally focused advocacy efforts on federal legislation. The SCA will continue to lobby at the federal level, while state chapters will lobby at the state level. Participation in the Secular Coalition for South Carolina is open to all South Carolinians that support a strong separation of religion and government, regardless of their personal religious beliefs.
For Bios, and a high resolution chapter logo, please visit: http://secular.org/states/chapters/south_carolina
CONTACT: Lauren Anderson Youngblood, Communications Manager
O: 202-299-1091 ext. 205
Contact the Secular Coalition for South Carolina:
Reach Chapter Co-Chair, Matthew Facciani at 803-250-6456
Reach Chapter Co-Chair, Amy Monsky at 843-291-8248
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