It’s been a very busy week for American Atheists!
In case you missed it, we released our sixth annual State of the Secular States report. Our policy team tracked over 1,600 bills in all 50 states, Puerto Rico, and Washington, DC. The result is a powerful tool for advocates and policymakers, so be sure to look at your state’s scorecard and share it with your legislators. If you’re interested in learning more from the authors themselves, don’t miss our webinar this coming Wednesday. Register today!
Legislatures across the country are now in session, and we are already busy monitoring hundreds of bills. Now is a great time to sign up to receive Action Alerts. Is there a policy you want American Atheists to testify on — either for or against? Let us know.
Meanwhile, tickets to our much-anticipated 2024 National Convention in Philadelphia from March 28-31 are also available. Be sure to reserve your spot. Don’t forget: Local attendees can get a special, discounted admission, and travelers will also get a discounted rate on rooms at the historic Loews Hotel in the heart of Center City Philadelphia. With four days of presentations and community events, an exciting lineup of speakers, and the camaraderie of hundreds of atheists, you’re not going to want to miss out!
In other news: The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office for Civil Rights issued a Final Rule this week that will take effect on March 1. American Atheists has long been involved in the national denial of care debate. We strongly opposed the Trump Administration’s religious exemptions, which were ultimately found unlawful by three federal courts. Later, our experts provided a number of suggested revisions to the Biden Administration. Although they rescinded many problematic provisions, we still have serious concerns that there aren’t enough protections for nonreligious Americans. Read our full statement here.
This coming Monday, all eyes will be on Iowa’s first-in-the-nation caucus. Although it’s still unclear which Republican candidate will prevail (though most polls show Trump with a sizable lead), it’s evident all of them are courting the evangelical vote, which made up 60% of Republican caucus-goers in 2016. The former president recently shared a video, called “God Made Trump,” depicting himself as a messianic figure, and it was revealed the DeSantis campaign has funneled nearly $100,000 to the Family Leader Foundation, an Iowa-based evangelical nonprofit.
Monday is also Martin Luther King, Jr. Day. The Reverend King was both a deeply religious man and an ardent proponent of racial and religious pluralism who felt religion should never be a tool of the government, saying, “In a pluralistic society such as ours, who is to determine what prayer shall be spoken, and by whom? Legally, constitutionally or otherwise, the state certainly has no such right.”
Fittingly, the following day is Religious Freedom Day, which commemorates the adoption of Thomas Jefferson’s Virginia Statute for Religious Freedom in 1786 that later became the basis for the First Amendment’s establishment clause. We might suggest Speaker Mike “church-state separation is a misnomer” Johnson give it a read…
Until next week,
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