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!

The Religiously Unaffiliated: An Important and Growing Group

Read more or click here to see the original post written by the Public Religion Research Institute (PRRI) about their latest national survey that highlights an important and growing group: The religiously unaffiliated. This is why secular activism and political involvement is so important at all levels of government: local, state, and national.

Original post from PRRI, below:

As religion in America experiences a period of seismic shifts, a new PRRI/RNS national survey highlights an important and growing group: The religiously unaffiliated.

http://r20.rs6.net/tn.jsp?f=0018K87A_Kk5NriwBFP6fKdto3gVPjWVxnBY8WqG2wwR8zWQYjoDjHKFQHfbcrWFZChnEAvRMPnAs46RbAoWgP8VIEIjlW1WQ5IrXpF34xVB6AHQOgc6BVTGNs2bqKvsZu2XoNwdXhG0W5uBM6u_jBIAfLBeltPUAoUPucijPmoSGdkREJ5y5moOOAuZNkxP_3zoudaa3dJ7BeMr_RlC6tE6w4OGDKXF6x4Rq2yZKEQ0lXRxlNezJO-wJhNjOzS-tK7&c=b7FjK4C15VSy3szqHHOkBtK0dp4aq40m1tXxCYaE1SUW8vedcAYhng==&ch=rOHj85lfn2_bxxS6QYW5P2WojjFHb9nGdzOWBq07KKS381L5Z5hziQ==

Exodus: Why Americans are Leaving Religion — and Why They’re Unlikely to Come Back

 

A new PRRI/RNS survey finds one out of every four (25 percent) Americans — and nearly four in ten (39 percent) young adults (age 18-29) — now identify as religiously unaffiliated, a group that has quadrupled in size since the early 1990s and accounts for the fastest growing major group in the American religious landscape. The survey chronicles the growth of the unaffiliated, investigates factors behind the group’s growth and resiliency, and parses out three distinct subgroups within the unaffiliated: Unattached Believers, Apatheists, and Rejectionists.

 

The growth of the unaffiliated: At 25 percent, the religiously unaffiliated now constitute the largest group in the national religious landscape. The growth of the unaffiliated began in the 1990s: in 1991, only six percent of Americans identified with no religion in particular. By the end of the decade, that number had climbed to 14 percent and eventually reached 20 percent in 2012.

 

Factors behind the growth of the religiously unaffiliated: The most common reason unaffiliated Americans cite for leaving their childhood religion is a lack of belief in religious teachings: 60 percent say they stopped believing in their childhood religion’s teachings, while 32 percent say it was because their family was not that religious growing up, and 29 percent cite negative teachings about or treatment of gay and lesbian people by religious organizations.

Why the unaffiliated are unlikely to come back to organized religion: Only seven percent of the unaffiliated report they are searching for a religion that would be right for them, compared to 93 percentwho say they are not. Religiously unaffiliated households are also on the rise. A majority (54 percent) of unaffiliated Americans who are married today report that their spouse shares the same religious background as they do.

Who are the unaffiliated?: The religiously unaffiliated are distinct from religious Americans in important ways, but there is also considerable diversity within this group. Using two separate questions that measure the personal relevance of religion and the social benefit of religion, PRRI identified three distinct groups among the unaffiliated: Rejectionists, Apatheists, and Unattached Believers.

Read the entire report, including a detailed breakdown of the three subgroups of the unaffiliated, here.

Rise of the religiously unaffiliated recent poll by Public Religious Research Institute