“Drag story hour” faux controversy distracts from youth action, prayer blunder

Democrats in the State House have been banned from using the building’s conference rooms because they used one for a “Drag Story Hour” with Planned Parenthood, allegedly in secret. In rationalizing the ban before the media, conservatives fretted about childrens’ exposure to “radical activism” and “perverse ideology,” however no children were present at the event. Continue reading

Regarding official government prayer

On April 18th, 2017, State Representative Athena Salman offered a humanist invocation written by a member of her community, the Humanist Society of Greater Phoenix. House leadership then ruled that, despite Salman’s assertion that her higher power is “the goodness in humanity,” Salman broke house rules by not praying to a higher power.


112 prayers have been recorded in the AZ House and Senate floors this year, 91% of them theistic and 80% specifically Christian or Judeo-Christian. Only six overtly secular invocations have been given this year, and three—including Rep Salman’s—prompted immediate reprovals or calls to order at the time they were delivered.


“The Arizona House of Representatives is the people’s house,” Salman said at a recent press conference. “Opening prayers in the House should represent Arizonans of every faith perspective. This includes the hundreds of thousands of Arizonans who, like myself, do not believe in a supernatural God but do believe in the power of humanity to do good in the world.”


We agree: Legislative prayers—if they are to be held—must be open to Arizonans of every faith’s perspective, even those who do not subscribe to a supernatural power.


If you live in Arizona: call your legislators and tell them that lawmakers must be treated equally regardless of faith, and this includes expressing their beliefs during the opening prayer. Encourage them to seek better understanding of their nontheist colleagues’ viewpoints, to find common ground.

Deadline: March 8 – Sign into “Request to Speak” against SB1439


We invite you to join us on March 8 at 2pm at the Arizona House of Representatives, Judiciary and Public Safety Committee, Hearing Room 4 to share your stories and your views on end-of-life choices.  You must sign into the legislature’s “Request to Speak” system if you wish to speak in Committee.  If you can’t be at the Capitol, or you just don’t want to speak, you can still sign into the “Request to Speak” system and make your coments without physically being at the Capitol.

This bill allows heath care providers to opt out of end-of-life care without consequence.  Having this bill in committee is a rare opportunity for advocates of end-of-life choices to be heard at Legislature.  Come and speak to the importance of honoring end-of-life choices, including the very popular Advanced Directives. 

Step-by-step guide on Legislature’s “Request to Speak” System (RTS)

You’ve heard us ask you to sign into the “Request to Speak” system in support or opposition to bills we are following at the Arizona State Legislature.  Here is a step-by-step guide on how to use this system from the comfort of your own home.  A few reminders about the limitations of the system:
1. You may only comment on bills that are currently assigned to a committee agenda; once the bill is heard in the committee you may not add a comment
2. You must activate your account the first time you use it at the AZ State Capitol.  We can help you with this if you are not able to get to the Capitol or Tucson Legislative office.


Weekly Update from the AZ Capitol

First: we’re continuing to fight two subjective morality bills that just passed the Senate.

The CAP-written S1367 forces doctors to perform life-saving procedures on aborted and preterm births, even when it is clear resuscitation is futile and no matter the gestational age.  

Our professional allies from the OB/GYN community testified that in cases of hopeless miscarriages, “comfort care” is critical: allowing the mother to cradle the dying life in its final moments alleviates intense psychological trauma. This same trauma can be exacerbated by forcing the mother to witness pointless mechanical revival attempts. Read the entire powerful testimony in the attachment, below.

This is a crucial argument we are hoping to emphasize as the bill moves to the House. 

If you or anyone you know has a personal story about this and can share it with lawmakers (in private or on the floor), we need you. 

Please contact Tory Roberg if you can help: tory@secularaz.org. 

MeanwhileS1439 affects the other end of the life cycle: creating legal escape hatches for health care providers who refuse end-of-life care. 

This is a subversive attack on Advance Directives, fueled by religious morality. Organizations like Death With Dignity and Compassion & Choices are already in our corner, but we need your suggestions for other potential allies as well as your personal stories.

Again, please contact Tory above if you can be of any assistance.  

Momentum on the ESA bills is temporarily halted as they lack the critical votes to go further. They’re not dead yet, though, so don’t let your guard down. Call your Representatives to urge them to vote no on SB1431 and HB2394.

Finally, our science education license plates bill (H2354) is in committee in the Senate next week. We support this bill because we support science.  The Science Education Fund is largely expected to benefit the Arizona Science Center.