SC Arizona Hires an Atheist Combat Vet as Spring Legislative Intern

Secular Coalition for Arizona is pleased to announce the newest addition to our team: 2013 Legislative Intern Josiah Nosek. Josiah is an Environmental Science and Research Meteorology student at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University in Prescott. He is an engaged community member, committed to educating the public and advocating for responsible governmental decision-making processes--particularly those concerning the environment and social justice issues. Among other projects, Josiah is an active participant in the Prescott Empty Bowls project, a grassroots movement to end hunger, and the Citizens Water Advocacy Group, a movement to protect the upper Verde River Basin and to promote responsible water management. He is also a co-founder of the Prescott Freethinkers.

Josiah's work on secularism in Arizona was first inspired by a school community service project working with Qsquared Youth, an organization supporting LGBT teenagers, and the Prescott Pride Center. During this project he become an advocate for women’s and LGBT rights, and developed an understanding of the influence religious pressure has on policy decisions for the state of Arizona.

Serving six years in the United States Navy, Josiah is an atheist combat veteran with an intimate concern for the religious discrimination occurring within the armed forces; he is devoted to fighting for nontheistic rights for veterans and the members of our military.

With future ambitions in the field of genetic medicine, he is passionate about promoting more rational bioethics and challenging the role religious dogma plays in preventing life-saving medical treatment and end-of-life care.

Josiah enjoys being involved in government affairs and is looking forward to helping Secular Coalition for Arizona protect the church-state separation outlined in the Constitution. 

SC Arizona Engages Legislators on New Bills, Constitutional Oath

It has been an incredibly exciting week at the Arizona State Capitol! With the glamorous ceremony of last week’s Opening Day at the legislature fading into the background, Secular Coalition for Arizona is getting to the nitty gritty work of sifting through all of the new bills as they are introduced, meeting with legislators on both sides of the aisle, collaborating with other policy groups, and advocating reason and compassion in our political process. Several of the bills that have been introduced already have piqued our concern—and we have been contacting bill sponsors and working on solutions accordingly. One such piece of legislation has already drawn quite a bit of media attention, and secularists from around the country have been reaching out to SC Arizona to make sure we know about it—and indeed, we do!

Arizona's Fifty First Legislature is Now in Session!

After a wonderful legislative off-season in which Secular Coalition for Arizona was able to tour the state, connect with many of our communities, talk to our constituents, and engage the public both through media and our Secular Voters town hall meetings, the legislature is back in session—and SC Arizona is there, representing nontheistic Arizonans at the State Capitol fulltime for our second year.

The Fifty First Legislature – First Regular Session opened last Monday, January 14 with the swearing in of 30 Senate members and 60 members of the House of Representatives, along with Governor Brewer’s State of the State speech. Capitol events included a rally of hundreds of individuals and dozens of organizations focused around ending the theocratic encroachment into women’s reproductive rights—and our Executive Director, Seráh Blain, was among the speakers, calling for legislators to stop the dangerous descularization of our state government.

The first week back at the legislature, and Opening Day in particular, made evident how far we have come as an organization and as a movement. Last year, everything was new. We had no relationships with legislators, few connections with allied organizations, and SC Arizona was simply unrecognized beyond our own community. This year, we were invited to speak at a very visible, important, and well-attended rally; we were asked by legislators and other organizations to participate in policy discussions; dozens of people came up to our Executive Director to thank us for our work and to ask how to participate. Phone calls come in daily with new supporters, both from the State Capitol and beyond. Nontheists have a real place at the table in legislative discussions this year.

Secular Coalition for Arizona Calls on Governor Brewer to End Government Support for Misnamed Religious “Liberty” Day

(January 16, 2013) Phoenix, Ariz.—The Secular Coalition for Arizona (SC Arizona) this week sent a letter to Governor Brewer expressing consternation over the governor’s continued support for Religious Liberty Day, today, January 16. The letter requests that the Governor withdraw official government backing and promotion for this annual event, now in its third year.

“Calling this Religious Liberty Day is disingenuous,” says Seráh Blain, Executive Director of SC Arizona. “While the Governor’s intention may have been to emphasize the constitutional freedoms of all Arizonans, too many misinterpret the day as an opportunity to justify their own agendas and unsubstantiated claims that somehow Americans of faith are better citizens than nonbelievers. The Governor’s proclamation failed to highlight the importance of secular government in safeguarding religious liberty, or of the value of the hundreds of thousands of Arizonans who are not religious.”

“Religious ideology is having a direct influence on legislation in this state, which runs contrary to the constitutional principle of separation of church and state,” says Blain. “From tax exemptions to reproductive health care to educational policy, our laws are being approved or denied according to specific religious doctrine from a small but vocal group of believers. That’s not liberty.”

Secular Coalition Speaking at the Opening Day Rally at the Capitol

On Monday, January 14, join Secular Coalition for Arizona, 16 women's organizations, and hundreds of Arizonans from all over the state to stand in opposition to the theocratic assault on reproductive healthcare! While secularists and women's healthcare advocates made some inroads to add allies to the legislature with last November's elections, the religious war on women wages on. In 2012, policymakers motivated by religious belief and manipulated by the Center for Arizona Policy passed extreme legislation preventing women and families from accessing reproductive healthcare, and limiting health care professionals from providing needed services. 

This year, secular Arizonans will be among the hundreds of individuals rallying at the Capitol in pink with a message: we will not allow the rights of women in Arizona to be dependant upon the religious beliefs of people in positions of power! Speakers include representatives for Congresswomen Kyrsten Sinema and Anne Kirkpatrick; Secular Coalition for Arizona's Executive Director, Serah Blain; former state representative, Theresa Ulmer; former state senator, Paula Aboud; NARAL's Executive Director, Kat Sabine; Planned Parenthood of Arizona's public policy director, Michelle Steinberg...and more!

Let's send a strong message to the Governor and our Legislators! Bring your friends and family! 

Monday, January 14th, Arizona State Capitol Lawn

1700 W. Washington, Phoenix

10:30am-12:30pm

More details available on Facebook.

Announcing Spring 2013 Internship

Secular Coalition for Arizona is pleased to offer a paid part-time internship position for spring 2013. SC Arizona is seeking a highly motivated undergraduate student with a demonstrated interest in being active in the nontheistic movement. The student must live and attend school within the state of Arizona and have reliable transportation for travel to the State Capitol for daily lobbying activities.
 
SC Arizona’s internship will provide activities and opportunities to learn about and assist with lobbying and advocacy, development and fundraising, and media relations and social media networking. The spring intern will be heavily involved the 2013 legislative season, including meeting with legislators and staff, testifying in committee hearings, and keeping constituents informed and engaged in the legislative process.

The spring 2013 internship will be a part-time 16-week program and will run from January 7, 2013 through May 3, 2013. The internship will pay $7.65/hour, before taxes, with a minimum of 10 hours required per week and a maximum of 20 hours paid per week.

Once a student is chosen for the SC Arizona internship, if she or he wishes to receive academic credit for the internship rather than be paid, the student must make arrangements with his or her academic institution to qualify the SC Arizona internship for such credit. SC Arizona will cooperate fully in any process but will not fundamentally change its internship program to accommodate an academic requirement. Any student receiving academic credit is ineligible to be paid for the internship.

To apply for the SC Arizona Spring 2013 Internship Program, please fill out the attached application and send all materials to serah@secularAZ.org.

Complete application must be emailed by 11:59 p.m., December 14, 2012. Phone and Skype interviews may be conducted the following week, and a selection will be made December 21, 2012. Only the selected candidate will be notified.

If you have questions, email them to serah@secularAZ.org. Do NOT send applications by regular mail. Incomplete applications will not be considered.

Secular Coalition for Arizona Spring 2013 Internship Application

Secular Coalition for Arizona's 2012 Legislature Scorecard is Here!

This past legislative season, the theocratic super-majority in the Arizona State Legislature showed no regard for the kind of separation between church and state that is necessary to safeguard from religious oppression the rights of nontheists, women, LGBT people, and other politically vulnerable groups of people. It’s time to put a stop to this religious tyranny in Arizona!

Because of redistricting, along with the growing momentum behind secular values, the coming election represents a real opportunity to break that theocratic super-majority and secure a more secular legislature for the coming years. This November, it is particularly important that we get out the vote for secularism—because we really do have a chance to make a difference if we vote in this election. 

As you’re making your decision for the 2012 election, please take a look at our Secular Values Voter Legislative Scorecard for the Arizona State Legislature and consider who best represents your secular values. 

And don't forget to make sure you're registered. We need your vote to help take back the state legislature for secularism!

National Voter Registration Day! Make your Secular Voice heard!

National Voter Registration Day is TUESDAY, SEPTEMBER 25th! Secular Coalition for Arizona is dedicated to making sure Secular Values Voters are heard this election season--and that means making sure Secular Arizonans are registered! In Arizona, voter registration is a fairly easy process and can be done online here: Service Arizona EZ Voter Registration.

Please register to vote--and then invite your friends to Secular Coalition for Arizona's virtual Facebook event here: Secular Voters Get Registered! We have a real opportunity this year to break the theocratic super-majority in our state legislature. This year, EVERY SECULAR VOTE COUNTS!

National Voter Registration Day is a nonpartisan initiative sponsored by many organizations, including Asian Pacific American Labor Alliance Education Fund, Bus Federation Civic Fund, Fair Elections Legal Network, League of Women Voters, Nonprofit Vote, and Voto Latino. To find a voter registration event near you, or to learn more about National Voter Registration Day, visit http://nationalvoterregistrationday.org/.

SC Arizona Calls on Governor Brewer to Boycott Values Voter Summit

(Sept. 12, 2012) Phoenix, Ariz.—The Secular Coalition for Arizona (SC Arizona) today called on Governor Brewer to cancel her scheduled speaking appearance at the Family Research Council’s 2012 Values Voter Summit this coming weekend in Washington, DC. In a letter to Governor Brewer, SC Arizona argued that the Values Voter Summit focuses on legislating the values of a particular religious worldview rather than values shared by all. SC Arizona asked that instead of attending the Summit, the Governor “stand in solidarity with the majority of Arizonans who do not belong to a faith tradition that is represented by the Family Research Council.”

Serah Blain Discusses Atheism and Morality on Huffington Post Live

Secular Coalition for Arizona's Seráh Blain recently joined Chris Stedman of the Humanist Community Project, Ron Lindsey of Center for Inquirey, and Cara Santa Maria of Huffington Post, on Huffington Post Live to discuss where ethics come from. Quickly dismissing the idea that religion is the only source of ethics, the panel went on to talk about community building, political advocacy, interfaith cooperation, and other ways nontheists engage morally in our world. You can watch the segment here: In [BLANK] We Trust.

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