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Non-religious Americans put lobbyist in Washington - Former Nevada State Senator to Lobby for Secularism

Copyright (c) 2005-2019

Aug. 24, 2005

A coalition of non-religious organizations has hired the first lobbyist in Washington D.C. to represent the rights of atheists, humanists and other freethinkers.

"I am delighted by the appointment of Lori Lipman Brown (http://secular.org/images/Lori_Lipman_Brown.jpg) as first director/lobbyist of the Secular Coalition for America," said Herb Silverman, president of the Secular Coalition for America (http://www.secular.org). "Bias against nonbelievers is the last civil rights struggle in which blatant discrimination by politicians is viewed as acceptable behavior. That situation is about to change."

As a Nevada state senator from 1992 to 1994, Brown passed bills dealing with the repeal of consensual sex crimes, mental health care reform and school curricula. She is admitted to practice law in three states, as well as in the 9th Circuit District Court. She has taught Constitutional Law in college.

As director, Brown will focus her energies on lobbying and coalition building. She will begin her duties on Sept. 19.

"I have wanted to put my political skills to greater use for years now, and working on the federal level is very exciting," said Brown, adding that her new position with the SCA is her dream job. "I expect some members of Congress and their staffs may be wary of a secular person. For that reason, I think it will be essential that they come to know me as an ethical good person whose information they can trust. I will make sure they do."

The Secular Coalition for America is a national 501(c)(4) lobbying organization in Washington D.C. dedicated to promoting secularism and humanism on the federal level. Members of the SCA include the American Humanist Association, the Atheist Alliance International, the Internet Infidels, the Institute for Humanist Studies and the Secular Student Alliance. The Military Association of Atheists and Freethinkers is an honorary member of the SCA.

"My biggest challenge will be framing ... information in such a way that it will be accepted by members of Congress who are also receiving pressure from the folks at home who push for a theocracy," Brown said.

"The 2006 mid-term congressional elections could decide the future of chuch/state separation in the United States," said Tim Gordinier, public policy director of the Institute for Humanist Studies. "We are excited to have our own lobbyist promoting a secular agenda long before the candidates start making stump speeches. This is the first step in breaking the religious right's stranglehold on cultural politics in our nation's capital."

The Institute for Humanist Studies of Albany, N.Y. is a founding member of the Secular Coalition for America. Gordinier served on the selection committee that hired Brown.

Until Brown begins work, Gordinier remains the nation's only registered lobbyist focusing solely on secular humanism. On behalf of the Institute for Humanist Studies, Gordinier has lobbied the New York State Legislature in favor of stem-cell research, emergency contraception and repealing a "blue law" that restricted alcohol sales on Sundays.

"We formed the Secular Coalition for America because we felt that national (freethought) organizations would be willing to cooperate and show our strength in numbers if given the opportunity," Silverman said. "In the past, we spent too much time arguing among ourselves and not enough time trying to influence politicians who either ignore or denigrate us."


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For more information about the Secular Coalition for America, visit: http://www.secular.org Duncan Crary is the director of communications at the Institute for Humanist Studies, http://www.HumanistStudies.org. He is the editor of the Institute's weekly e-zine, http://www.HumanistNetworkNews.org

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Last Distribution Date:
2005-08-25 20:30:46

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