So Jana and I just got back from a trip to New York City. While there we dropped in on a meeting of the New York City Atheists. This is an active and influential group that has enormous ambitions. The guest speaker at the meeting was Edwina Rogers, the new Executive Director the the Secular Coalition. She has been on the job only a few weeks and has hit the ground running. She announced that the coalition will be setting up chapters in all 50 states by the end of the year and she is actively courting partner organizations to either sponsor or ally with SCA. She has already identified gaps in the approach SCA has taken in the past to gain access to politicians and disseminate information to voters. Given that election season is just around the corner, the timing of her arrival is perfect.
Ms Rogers is a secularist, as well as <gasp> a Republican. She has worked for both Bushes and used to be a Fox News analyst. The room on the 16th floor of a high-rise in Mid-Town Manhattan (just south of Times Square) moaned when she told this to the group. How can someone associated with Fox be a part of this movement?! While surprised initially, I personally view this as a great development. Edwina has the connections that can make her a powerful voice and she appears to not be shy about asking Republicans difficult questions. After all, if small-government conservatives were true to their word they wouldn’t be using government to shove religion down America’s collective throat.
Sadly, Ms Rogers noted that the announcement of her selection by the SCA board was met with considerable controversy. She had to hire security because she had threats, as she put it “not on my life, but pretty close.” By the way, these were threats from members of the secular community who were outraged at having a Republican chosen for the position. It is disheartening to see certain individuals within the movement react this way. We should all realize that allies for our cause are going to come from many backgrounds and political affiliations. No candidate for the job is going to be perfect in anyone’s eyes but if we discriminate because of a person’s political affiliations we are not going to get very far.
You should check out the SCA website for more information and news. Edwina is planning on coming to Denver in late August, by the way.
So why do I wish I was going to New York City later in June? Well the NYC Atheists have sponsored these bus advertisements that will debut in a couple of weeks. Would love to have a picture next to one of these!
Leave a comment and let me know what you think!