Secular AZ Asks AZ Congressional Delegates to Support Do No Harm Act of 2019

The Secular Coalition for Arizona requests that Arizona’s Congressional Delegates sponsor and support the Do No Harm Act of 2019, sponsored in the Senate by Senator Kamala Harris (S. 593) and in the House by Representative Joseph Kennedy (H.R. 1450).

What is the Do No Harm Act? Since our nation’s founding, the freedom to practice faith or non-faith as one desires has been a fundamental American value that provides a vital shield from discrimination and persecution, particularly for persons of minority faiths and non-believers. Unfortunately, employers, businesses and the courts are increasingly interpreting the Religious Freedom Restoration Act of 1993 (RFRA) in opposition to our shared values and using RFRA as a license to discriminate and impose their personal religious views on others.

The Do No Harm Act restores the original intent of RFRA, protecting personal religious freedom from undue government influence, while also ensuring RFRA cannot be used by private entities to discriminate against or harm others. The Do No Harm Act makes clear that we do not need to sanction discrimination to protect the faith community.

We ask that all Congressional Delegates from Arizona join with their colleagues to sponsor and support this key piece of legislation.

Click here to read our letter.

 

Religious Messaging on the Governor’s Official Social Media

Why does Governor Ducey appear to be using an official government Facebook page to promote explicit religious messaging?

The Establishment Clause of the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution prohibits government sponsorship of religious messages. All governmental actions must: 1) have a secular purpose, 2) not have the effect of advancing or inhibiting religion, and 3) not result in excessive entanglement between church and state. It is inappropriate for the state government to endorse a particular religion, one religion over another, or religion over non-religion according to both the State and Federal Constitutions.

Please read Secular AZ’s response.

“Be the Curators of Inspiration”: Listen to Robert People‘s Secular Invocation

Follow this link to watch Robert Peoples of the Affinis Humanity Coalition deliver a moving secular invocation before the AZ State Senate as a guest of Sen. Andrea Dalessandro and Secular AZ.

https://youtu.be/xHvVnrprETQ

For a transcript, visit Patheos Friendly Atheist Blog at: https://friendlyatheist.patheos.com/2019/04/02/humanist-delivers-invocation-in-az-senate-be-the-curators-of-inspiration/?fbclid=IwAR07YMntqGvHQOcTk-1XdC-C8zfSEKJ7Z25YnXoTy3EVdwauaKG6ET5-2X0

“Be the Curators of Inspiration”: Listen to Robert People’s Secular Invocation

Follow this link to watch Robert Peoples of the Affinis Humanity Coalition deliver a moving secular invocation before the AZ State Senate as a guest of Sen. Andrea Dalessandro and Secular AZ.

https://youtu.be/xHvVnrprETQ

For a transcript, visit Patheos Friendly Atheist Blog at: https://friendlyatheist.patheos.com/2019/04/02/humanist-delivers-invocation-in-az-senate-be-the-curators-of-inspiration/?fbclid=IwAR07YMntqGvHQOcTk-1XdC-C8zfSEKJ7Z25YnXoTy3EVdwauaKG6ET5-2X0

Your Donations Doubled & a Grant Competition

Right now, you have two unique opportunities to support Secular AZ! 

  1. Thanks to a generous Secular Supporter, all gifts will be matched up to $40,000

    and

  2. We’re participating in the “A Community Thrives” grant competition. Each week until April 12, non-profits compete to raise the most funds; winners receive additional grants!

Please help us by donating today; simply visit crowdrise.com/o/en/campaign/secular-communities-for-arizona/secular-communities-for-arizona-inc.

Each week brings a different competition, so check back to see what’s going on until the competition ends on April 12th! Funds will go to support our new program, bringing civics education to AZ schools.

Remember, each gift you give will be doubled by a generous supporter. THANK YOU for supporting Secular AZ!

 

Secular AZ Responds to Camp Verde H.S. Bible Instruction

Please read Secular AZ’s letter to the Camp Verde Unified School District re: proposed bible instruction at Camp Verde High School.

It is well-settled that public schools may not advance or promote religion; the government must not encroach on personal religious freedom, which necessarily includes both the right to choose a religion or no religion at all. The Supreme Court has held that “the preservation and transmission of religious beliefs and worship is a responsibility and a choice committed to the private sphere.”  Further, school involvement in religious activity remains illegal even though the students’ attendance is “voluntary.”

(tl/dr: Allowing access to schoolchildren during school hours to proselytize and recruit for religious activities is a violation of the Establishment Clause)

Secular AZ’s letter to the Camp Verde Unified School District

Why is AZ Taxpayer Money Funding a Hate Group?

Hey Arizonans… Ever seen those “In God We Trust” license plates? Did you know that $17 for each plate sold goes to the Alliance Defending Freedom, an anti-LGBTQ, anti-reproductive rights organization designated as a hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center? Over the years, almost $1million in taxpayer money has been funneled to ADF!

Why are taxpayer dollars going to a hate group?

According to the SPLC, ADF:

  • supports the recriminalization of homosexuality in the U.S. & criminalization abroad
  • defends state-sanctioned sterilization of trans people abroad
  • links homosexuality to pedophilia
  • claims that a “homosexual agenda” will destroy Christianity & society
  • works to develop “religious liberty” legislation & case law to allow the denial of goods & services to LGBT people on the basis of religion

Arizona taxpayer money should not be funding hate and we are working to stop it. Together with the American Atheists, we’ve erected billboards in Phoenix and Tucson to raise awareness of this issue. 

Will you help us spread the word?

Your gift will help us spread the word accross the state! Together, we can end this despicable practice.

Read more:

Newsweek: License Plates In AZ Saying “In God We Trust” Found to Fund and Support Anti LGBTQ Group

Huffpost: Arizona’s ‘In God We Trust’ License Plates Found to Fund Anti-LGBTQ Group

Phoenix New Times: Anti-LGBTQ Hate Group Claimes it’s the Victim of Atheist Arizona Lawmaker

The Hill: Arizona Dem Introduces Bill to Stop License Plates from Funding Anti-LGBTQ Hate Group

 

Meet FFRF’s Dan Barker

Meet FFRF’s Dan Barker

Please join Freedom From Religion Foundation- Valley of the Sun Chapter and Secular Communities for Arizona for a special event featuring Dan Barker. 

  • Thursday, March 14
  • 6p-9p
  • Humanist Community Center
  • 627 W. Rio Salado Pkwy, Mesa
Please RSVP here

Dan Barker, Co-president of FFRF National, will join us to talk about his new book Mere Morality.

“What drives us to be good? How do we even know how to be good? Philosophers and theologians have dealt with such questions for millennia, but Dan Barker thinks the answers are not so complicated. In Mere Morality, he argues there’s no need to appeal to supernatural commandments or the fear of some higher power when considering morality. Stripping “good” and “evil” down to the basics, he offers a simple compass for navigating life’s most difficult moral and ethical dilemmas.”

Nibbles and light refreshments will be provided. You may BYOB.

FFRF Valley of the Sun & Secular Communities for Arizona are co-sponsoring this special event. It is free and open to the public.

About Dan Barker / Minister Turned Atheist:

Dan became a teenage evangelist at age 15. At 16 he was choir librarian for faith-healer Kathryn Kuhlman’s Los Angeles appearances. He received a degree in Religion from Azusa Pacific University and was ordained to the ministry by the Standard Community Church, California, in 1975. (See ordination.) He served as associate pastor in three California churches: Arcadia Friend’s Church (Quaker), Glengrove Assembly of God (Hacienda Heights), and Standard Christian Center, an independent Charismatic church loosely affiliated with the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ tradition) in Standard, California. Dan was a Protestant missionary in Mexico for a total of two years.

Dan preached for 19 years. He maintained an ongoing touring musical ministry, including eight years of full-time, cross-country evangelism. An accomplished pianist, record producer, arranger and songwriter, he worked with Christian music companies such as Manna Music and Word Music. For a few years, Dan wrote and produced the annual “Mini Musicale” for Gospel Light Publications’ Vacation Bible School curriculum.

For more than two decades, Dan was accompanist, arranger, and record producer for Manuel Bonilla, the leading Christian singer in the Spanish-speaking world. He accompanied on the piano such Christian personalities as Pat Boone, Jimmy Roberts (of the Lawrence Welk Show), and gospel songwriter Audrey Meier, and was a regular guest on Southern California’s “Praise The Lord” TV show (Spanish). One of Dan’s Christian songs, “There Is One,” was performed by Rev. Robert Schuller’s television choir on the “Hour of Power” broadcast. To this day, he receives royalties from his popular children’s Christian musicals, “Mary Had a Little Lamb” (1977), and “His Fleece Was White As Snow” (1978), both published by Manna Music and performed in many countries.

Following five years of reading, Dan gradually outgrew his religious beliefs. “If I had limited myself to Christian authors, I’d still be a Christian today,” Dan says. “I just lost faith in faith.” He announced his atheism publicly in January, 1984. He tells his story in the books Losing Faith in Faith (1992) and Godless (2008).

Dan was PR Director of the Freedom From Religion Foundation from 1987 to 2004. He was elected co-president of the Foundation with Annie Laurie Gaylor in 2004, with whom he is co-host of Freethought Radio, a national weekly talk show. He is a contributing editor of Freethought Today and is involved with the Foundation’s state/church lawsuits. He regularly travels the country and the world giving lectures, performing concerts, and participating in debates with theists, many at college and university campuses.

 

 

 

 

 

Executive Director Position at Humanist Society of Greater Phoenix

The Humanist Society of Greater Phoenix, one of Secular AZ’s liaised organiztions, seeks an Executive Director. Please see attached file for more information.

If you are interested in this position, please email your resume and any additional information you would like to provide to hiring (at) hsgp.org.

Executive Director Position at Humanist Society of Greater Phoenix

AZ State Legislature – A Look Into 2017

The Secular Coalition for Arizona is dismayed about the results of Tuesday night’s election.  We’re especially concerned about preserving secular public education, equal rights for all, safe and affordable access to women’s reproductive health services, and religious freedom for all.

While these are concerns nationally, we are especially concerned regarding the new leadership at the Arizona State Senate and Arizona House of Representatives.

Going into the election, there was hope that the Arizona Senate would turn into a 15-15 split evenly between Democrats and Republicans, offering some hope for stopping bad bills and negotiating a bipartisan budget.  Unfortunately, this has not happened.  The gains made by Democrats will not outweigh the losses, and are not enough to produce an even split, but the Arizona State Senate will still be our best avenue to stop bad bills.

Senator Steve Yarbrough, owner of the Arizona Christian School Tuition Organization, will lead the Senate as the new Senate President.  Senator Kimberly Yee, regularly known for sponsoring and pushing anti-choice and junk science legislation, will serve as Senate Majority Leader.  Senator Gail Griffin, who scored a low 14% on our Secular Scorecard, will serve as Majority Whip.

Senate Democrats look brighter for Secular Government, as several of our “Secular Stars” were chosen for leadership positions.  Senate Democrats chose Secular Star Senator Katie Hobbs as Minority Leader, Senator Steve Farley as Assistant Minority Leader, and Secular Star Senator Martin Quezada and Senator Lupe Contreras as Minority Whips.  

In the House of Representatives, Representative JD Mesnard was chosen for the new Speaker of the House.  He is accompanied by Representative John Allen as Majority Leader and Representative Kelly Townsend as Majority Whip.  

Democrats chose Representative Rebecca Rios as Minority Leader, Secular Star Representative Randall Friese as Assistant Minority Leader, and Representative Charlene Fernandez as Minority Whip.

Secular AZ will fight earnestly with new leadership in both changes to preserve secular public policy and freedom for all Arizonans.  We encourage you to amplify your voice in our new government by becoming a member today!