Secular Studies educates Arizona's state-level elected officials on issues such as the dangers of allowing religious principles to influence policy and education, and the importance of accurate, evidence-based information in education, medicine and public policy.
We launched Secular Studies in 2015 to serve as a counterpoint to two existing Bible Studies programs at the Arizona State Capitol, with the mission of presenting evidence-based approaches to problems so that legislators do not automatically default to sectarian, doctrinaire solutions. We offer all elected officials the opportunity to listen to a weekly presentation, then engage in open, civil discourse.
Presentations are by experts on topics like education, end-of-life choices, immigration, reproductive health, science, LGTBQ rights, healthcare, law enforcement, and more. Feedback has been positive across the board, with lawmakers making comments such as “I love these weekly discussions, because it’s the only chance we get to discuss each other’s perspectives and understand where the other side is coming from.”
Secular Studies encourages civic discourse, promotes secular thought, and opens minds. More than 30 lawmakers from both parties attend regularly. No other program like this exists in the U.S.; our Secular Studies program serves as a model for organizations in other states.
Secular AZ Legal Committee
Led by attorney Dianne Post, known for an international law career with a focus on human rights and freedom from violence, our legal team fights for separation of church and state in Arizona. Together, our attorneys work to ensure that secular values—rather than religious beliefs—inform government actions.
If you have a question or suspect a potential violation of church/state separation, please contact us.
Fighting Religious Hate
Did you know that each time an AZ “In God We Trust” license plate is sold, the DMV pays $17 to an anti-LGBTQ, anti-reproductive rights organization that’s been identified as a hate group?
Since 2012, the Arizona-based group Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF) has received about $1m from purchases of “In God We Trust” license plates. The ADF supports the criminalization of LGBTQ relationships, claims that a “homosexual agenda” will destroy society, and links homosexuality to pedophilia. ADF also works to develop so-called "religious liberty" legislation and case law that would allow the denial of goods and services to LGBTQ people on the basis of religion, and advocates for restricted access to reproductive health care.
Taxpayer money should not fund a group that actively seeks to undermine the constitutional demand of separation of church and state and seeks to codify discrimination in the name of “religious freedom.” Arizona should not be fundraising for an extreme organization on a mission to undermine the separation of religion and government.
Secular AZ is taking a stand against state-sanctioned hate. We’ve partnered with American Atheists to erect billboards in Phoenix and Tucson that alert Arizonans to the truth about where their money is going, and launched the licenseplatehate.org website to educate the public. We urge Arizonans to purchase license plate designs that support other important causes, rather than supporting a religiously based hate group.
Secular Speaker’s Bureau
Our speakers’ bureau provides experts in fields such as education, science, medicine, reproductive health, immigration, LGBTQ rights, law enforcement, constitutional law, death with dignity, civics and more. We offer presentations to groups small and large, of all ages.
Please contact us to discuss presentations for your organization or group.
Secular Civics Class
Secular AZ has partnered with a Constitutional law expert to develop a Secular Civics Class to expand civics education in Arizona public schools.
Students participate in a “21st Century Convention” that addresses current social, educational and economic issues that have dramatic impact on students’ futures. Each school forms Congressional Committees of approximately 30-45 students, who take on the role of Senators, Representatives and members of the Supreme Court. We provide an outline of study, research resources and prospective outcomes as to working within the current Constitutional and legislative environment or to suggest updated changes and/or legislative measures.
This process teaches students about governmental institutions, Constitutional directives and legal process that impact the future of American society and its citizens. The learning process includes research under guidance from the Program Director and visiting Fellow, who suggest methods and subjects to examine and guide parliamentary discussion and decision-making. This hands-on learning process requires research, deliberation and inclusive conclusions, and promotes a deeper understanding of American civics.