Separation of Church & State

The 2017 Legislative Wrap Up is here!

The Secular Coalition for Arizona (Secular AZ) ignited our 2017 legislative work in a charged political environment colored by the general election. We started strong, locking arms in solidarity with over 40 anti-discrimination groups during an Opening Day rally. We began lobbying immediately on January 12th against regressive bills aimed at education, science, and women’s reproductive rights.

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DES Director uses state email system to proselytize to 7,700 state workers

“Director Jeffries has long been known for his ‘quirky’ style of leadership, which includes frequent mention of his religious views in DES all-employee meetings and on video presentations,” said Zenaido Quintana, chair of Secular Coalition for Arizona. “This latest all-employee email, which was sent to us by a DES employee disturbed by its contents, is particularly egregious and could have had him fired from many companies - organizations where policies are in place to prevent work email from being used to proselytize religion.    

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Secular Coalition for Arizona speaks up for Science in Committee

Secular Coalition for Arizona was the only group speaking up in committee Wednesday against SB1474: human fetus; embryo; prohibited actions; a bill motivated by the now-discredited infamous "Planned Parenthood" videos released last summer.

Our take: Government policy on the use of fetal tissue should be based on scientific and medical research.

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Clearing the Confusion: What 'Secular' Is--and Isn't

What does it mean to be “secular”?  And how does that impact our growing list of supporters and our advocacy on behalf of Arizonans?  Let’s examine the common points of confusion.

What is Secularism?

The term ‘secular’ means ‘not of religion’— quite different from ‘anti-religion.’  In fact, a basic tenet of secularism is that citizens of all religions and beliefs are equal before the law.   

When applied to government, secularism represents a view that:

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The 2015 Legislative Wrap-Up and Scorecard are Here!

The 2015 Legislative Wrap-Up and Scorecard are here!  The wrap-up is a brief summary of Secular Coalition for Arizona actions and bills of interest during the legislative session, and the scorecard is a compilation of how your Arizona legislators voted on issues important to our secular community.  

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Secular Coalition Official Position on the Arizona Office of Faith and Community Partnerships

Send a message to Governor Brewer using our "Action Alert System".  Click here.

Full Text of Executive Order 2014-06 Here

On August 29, 2014, Governor Jan Brewer signed Executive Order 2014-06, establishing the Office of Faith and Community Partnerships and the Arizona Council on Faith and Community Partnerships.

This new Office and Council replace the Arizona SERVES taskforce and website, established by Executive Order 2010-07 and 2010-16.  The current board of the Arizona SERVES taskforce includes:
-          Five Christian Pastors
-          Seven Leaders of Christian-based non-profit organizations (including the lobbying group “Center for Arizona Policy”, an organization which is well-known for its extremist religious agenda)
-          Three State Employees
-          Two Undefined “Public Advocates”
-          Two Leaders from secular non-profit organizations

ArizonaSERVES was tasked with five goals:

  1. Encourage foster care
  2. Facilitate free/reduced child care services
  3. Provide supervised CPS visits
  4. Promote elder independence/assist grandparents raising grandchildren
  5. Provide transportation to underserved

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High court: Employers can force religious beliefs on employees

PHOENIX – The Secular Coalition for Arizona, the voice of non-theists at the Arizona State Legislature, has strongly condemned the United States Supreme Court’s regressive decision today in Burwell v. Hobby Lobby.
The court’s 5-4 decision gives overzealous employers the green light to cite their personal religious beliefs when denying female employees reproductive health coverage under the Affordable Care Act (ACA).
“Today’s decision marks a tragic move back to the politics of the pre-Civil Rights era,” said Tory Anderson, public policy advocate for the Secular Coalition for Arizona.  “The rights women have fought for and earned have been dealt a devastating blow.
“The inalienable right for a woman to keep her private healthcare decisions between herself and he doctor was at stake, and the Supreme Court ruled against upholding that right.”
Large employers are required to provide employees basic preventive care, approved by the Food and Drug Administration, under conditions of the ACA.  The law already exempted religious, non-profit organizations from having to provide contraceptive services.
“There are myriad Supreme Court precedents that have made it clear that for-profit companies are not religious organizations,” said Zenaido Quintana, director of the Secular Coalition for Arizona.  “That’s why they are not afforded the same protections as a church or religious nonprofits.”
Hobby Lobby argued their position based on a 1993 law that states governments “shall not substantially burden a person’s exercise of religion even if the burden results from a rule of general applicability.”
But Quintana pointed out that accepting such an argument is nonsensical.

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Legislative Update

The religious-right wing of the Arizona legislature like to quietly push bills through that will benefit their agenda in several ways.  What we've found is that when we are LOUD about these bills, sometimes the bill dies.  

Check out what happened this week in what we're calling the "Trinity of Religious Handouts":


Handout #1-   HB2281: Expanding Religious Privilege in Tax Law 


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Secular Coalition for Arizona Official Request for Gov. Brewer to Veto SB1062

View the original veto request here.

The Honorable Janice Brewer
Arizona Governor
Executive Tower
1700 West Washington St
Phoenix, AZ 85007

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SC Arizona Engages Legislators on New Bills, Constitutional Oath

It has been an incredibly exciting week at the Arizona State Capitol! With the glamorous ceremony of last week’s Opening Day at the legislature fading into the background, Secular Coalition for Arizona is getting to the nitty gritty work of sifting through all of the new bills as they are introduced, meeting with legislators on both sides of the aisle, collaborating with other policy groups, and advocating reason and compassion in our political process. Several of the bills that have been introduced already have piqued our concern—and we have been contacting bill sponsors and working on solutions accordingly. One such piece of legislation has already drawn quite a bit of media attention, and secularists from around the country have been reaching out to SC Arizona to make sure we know about it—and indeed, we do!

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