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This blog is the work of an educated civilian, not of an expert in the fields discussed.

Saturday, June 07, 2014

Edwina Rogers Fired From Secular Coalition

The Secular Coalition for America is a 501(c)(4) advocacy organization whose purpose is to amplify the diverse and growing voice of the nontheistic community in the United States. We are located in Washington, D.C. for ready access to government, activist partners and the media. Our staff lobbies U.S. Congress on issues of special concern to our constituency.
Our member organizations are established 501(c)(3) nonprofits who serve atheists, agnostics, humanists, freethinkers and other nontheistic Americans.
Caught a somewhat distressing article regarding the group letting go their executive director, a former lobbyist with Republican connections, which not surprisingly made her a somewhat controversial choice.  But, Edwina Rogers seems like a great choice in various ways.

She has an uplifting biography in various ways and a c.v. and talent to lead a lobbyist group. Finally, the secularist (even Karl Rove outed himself as a non-believer*) wing of the Republican Party shows there is crossover appeal.  Democrats know that you don't support everything the party does, including some of its appeals.  Many in this group probably don't like some of Obama's moves in respect to religion. I'm only sympathetic with the group, not part of it, but look what I wrote on that front back in 2006 (tempus fugit).  As one person noted:
“Edwina helped us grow,” said Herb Silverman, the founder of the Secular Coalition and now a member of the advisory board. “The fact is that we’ve become more influential, and have gotten more money.

“When we first started,” he said, “there wouldn’t have been any embezzlers.”
(He introduces this talk that she gave for the organization and have referenced his book and recently linked to his op-ed on the Galloway case.) The reference is to around eighty-thousand being embezzled, though the article suggests disputes over strategy and such was probably the reason for the move. She doesn't seem to be at fault in respect to this issue. There is a stereotype here about the nature of this movement, a bunch of liberal anti-religion types that (as one comment elsewhere noted as something of a joke) might be best represented by a Barney Frank-type.  Not someone who appeared on the Real Housewives show or something.  The Southern accent is a nice touch.

She seems to have done some good and don't know the specifics (the article notes they are being close-lipped; the statement on the website is a  dry nothing sort of thing).  So, maybe it was the best move all things considered, though she comes off as surprised about the whole thing and the timing before a big event looks curious.  Who knows.  When I first read about her appointment in the past, took it as a good choice. Hopefully, they find a good replacement, one similarly not just the stereotypical one. 


* It comes off as a throw-away usage, but still do not really like it -- people "believe" in a range of things. What is meant here generally is belief in God.  But, would think the whole point here is "freethinking" that would not single out "belief" to mean that.

The term "freethinking" (see also, Freethinkers, a book by Susan Jacoby from 2004, a history of the movement in the U.S.)  is pretty broad. The coalition goes beyond separation of church and state and the like -- the sort of thing Baptists pushed on James Madison -- to the "non-theistic" movement in general.  The Galloway case is an example there -- the dissent supported the former, but there was some pushback that it has nearly no reference to the latter. The two things do overlap, of course. 

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