The Central Committee of the Utah Democratic Party approved the creation of the first ever Secular Caucus in the state. With an overwhelming majority of support and dozens of members already signed up to participate, the Caucus will be officially established following a procedural vote by the Committee in February.
“The idea of creating a Secular Caucus has generated a lot of excitement and enthusiasm amongst Democrats and Independents in Utah,” said Utah Democrat and caucus co-founder Daisy Thomas.”We are receiving dozens of messages of interest and positive feedback thanking us for bringing this voice to the table. We want people of all beliefs, including nonreligious Utahns, to have the same opportunity to shape politics in our state, and we believe a clear separation between church and state protects all of our freedoms.”
“In recent years I have watched with dismay as legislation was enacted under the auspices of varied branches of Christianity in states across our country,” said Daniel Hicken, a practicing Mormon who serves as the Legislative Chairman of the Utah Democratic Party. “At the moment, this legislation might not hurt those of my faith. But what of others? How can I turn a blind eye as others suffer the trial my own family lived through? I support the creation of this watchdog component of our party, a place to welcome those who might feel otherwise excluded, a means to ensure that the majority considers the minority position on the issues we as a state face.”
The co-founders of the Caucus said they were inspired to get involved after attending the Secular Democrat Reception organized by the Secular Coalition for America at the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia earlier this year. The reception followed the Secular Coalition’s victory in Texas, where the Texas Democratic Party incorporated three secular policy resolutions into its party platform and a Secular Caucus was held at the Texas Democratic Convention.
“The religiously unaffiliated are the single largest religious demographic in the Democratic party and the fastest growing nationwide, yet our constituency has largely been ignored by the party establishment,” said Senior Legislative Representative at the Secular Coalition for America, Sarah Levin. “That is why we are empowering secular activists to educate party leadership about secular values and create a space to speak up for those values within their party. As a nonpartisan organization, we are working with secular Libertarians, secular Greens, and secular Republicans to mobilize secular values voters across the political spectrum. Separation of church and state and evidence-based policy are nonpartisan values because they are based in our Constitution.”