Reporter Jerod MacDonald-Evoy's headshot next to text about his talk for Secular AZ on 5/31/24

Jerod MacDonald-Evoy: The Secretive, Far-Right Christian Group Reshaping Arizonan (and American) Politics

Join us on May 31 at noon when we’re joined by local reporter Jerod MacDonald-Evoy, who’ll discuss his reporting on the Council for National Policy, a secretive Christian policy group that pushes Christian nationalism and extremist, right-wing ideology into mainstream politics in Arizona and around the country.

Click here to register for this online talk. 

MacDonald-Evoy reports for the Arizona Mirror. Previously, he worked at the Arizona Republic, where he spent 4 years covering everything from dark money in politics to Catholic priest sexual abuse scandals. He brings strong watchdog sensibilities and creative storytelling skills to the Arizona Mirror.

Spring has Sprung in PUSD: Freshly Unhinged Behavior

It’s the end of April in Arizona, Secular Fam, and that means schools all over the state are in the home stretch of the 2023-2024 school year. Salary schedules have been discussed and approved, contracts have gone out to educators, and teachers, staff, and administrators are about to experience the “100 days of May,” including ditch days, end-of-year pranks, and “senioritis.” As a former high school and middle school teacher, I know that these last few weeks of the school year can be grueling, so hang in there, educators! We see you, we hear you, and we’re rooting for you to make it through the month! You’ve got this!

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I Went to the Arizona State Capitol for the First Time

I am an undergraduate at ASU and an intern at Secular AZ. I had never been to the Arizona Capitol before or seen the legislature in session. Jeanne Casteen, the director at Secular AZ, wanted me to see the Senate once and had cautioned me about how bad it would be, but my hopeful expectations about our state government survived the warning.

In my mind, the people in charge of deciding the future of more than seven million people would surely be respectful, professional, and open to having their opinions changed, regardless of the intensity of any debate or the subject of any bill.

Needless to say, this hope proved naïve.

Click here to read more on Secular AZ’s Substack. 

Arizona GOP Puts the “AZ” in “Crazy”

Happy Spring, Secular Fam! It’s been a while since I’ve put together a Substack update, and it’s because my actual life needed me. I had to hang up my Secular Activist Lady™costume these past couple of weeks and double up on my big girl panties so I could better handle being pulled in a million different directions.

So today, even though there are SO MANY WILD THINGS HAPPENING IN AZ POLITICS, I’m going to take a moment to lean into the best parts of life. MY life, and the lives of the people I love.

First, I had a terrible scare regarding my dad’s health last month. It took us about two weeks to figure out what was going on with his mental and physical health, and because of all the visits to the doctor, he was hospitalized with COVID for several days. He doesn’t live here, so I was on the phone and contemplating travel plans until we got it figured out. He’s much better this month, but he’s 82, and these events will probably become more frequent.

To make matters worse, I no longer speak to my siblings, so making plans for our parents in their twilight years will be complicated. And really, nearly everywhere I go, people share similar stories. Raise your hand if you’ve lost family to MAGA political ideology.

Click here to read more on Secular AZ’s Substack. 

Heading from AZ central about Trump's appearance at Dream City Church above image of crowd waving signs and arms

Church Electioneering at Dream City?

On January 26th Dream City Church in Phoenix hosted was set to host Trump for the Arizona Republican Party event. Per its website, Dream Church’s motto is “Love People.  Cultivate Community. Inspire Hope.”

Their first and greatest commandment is to ‘love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ Their second commandment is to ‘Love your neighbor as yourself’.”

Leaders Luke and Angel Barnett say “the Dream City Church is a community of people united in our common mission to gather as God’s people, grow in understanding of God’s Word and grace, and reach out to serve others in Jesus’ name.”

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It’s sAtAn DaY at the AZ Legislature!

Hey there, Secular Fam, I hope everyone is enjoying the beautiful spring weather we’re having. This is a big week to be sure.

SCOTUS is hearing the Trump 14th Amendment arguments, the Waste Management Phoenix Open is in full swing (pun intended), and aLpHa MaLeS all over the country are losing their minds over a talented young woman who will be supporting her significant other during the Superbowl.

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Peoria Unified Board Meeting (a.k.a. Worst Board Meeting Ever)

Buckle up for for a wild ride as Jeanne breaks down the latest Peoria Unified Board meeting. (Spoiler alert: It’s a sh*tshow)

Hey there, Secular Fam, have you all noticed how many evangelical extremists reject the expertise of actual experts of things lately? It all started in 2020. At first, everyone was like, “OMG, yay, teachers! You’re amazing. My children are horrible! Homeschooling sucks! Why am I drinking wine at 9:00 AM?”

Teaching is hard for certified teachers under the best of circumstances, and I do not envy the parents and/or teachers who went through such a difficult time. Something shifted with the MAGA crowd in the fall of 2020 when individual school districts had to make tough decisions about school openings, closures, and masking.

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It’s National Religious Freedom (For Me, Not for Thee) Day!

Question: how did everyone celebrate National Religious Freedom Day on 1.16.2024?

Me? I went down to the Arizona Capitol because lawmakers reached out to let me know that a bunch of festivities were planned, and Rep. Teresa Martinez (R-LD16) wanted to celebrate religious overreach freedom:

“January 16th is National Religious Freedom Day. 

To celebrate that day we are asking each member to bring their person of faith, clergy, spiritual advisor, priest, pastor, cleric, chaplain, rabbi and bishop to shadow you for the day and be your guest in the Gallery.

 We will be holding a press conference at 11:00am in the Rose Garden to talk about the importance of Religious Freedom and all members are welcome to come.

Please let me know if you have any questions.”

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