Atheist lobbying group to launch South Carolina chapter

Secular Coalition for South Carolina gets started on Sunday

Posted by Paul Bowers on Fri, Sep 28, 2012 at 5:00 AM

When S.C. legislators return to the Statehouse in January, they will find a new interest group waiting in the lobby: the Secular Coalition for South Carolina, a nontheistic organization that aims to uphold the separation of church and state.

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On Sunday, during the weekend-long Carolinas Secular Conference at the Charleston Marriott, the Secular Coalition for America will officially launch its second state chapter, part of an effort to establish chapters in all 50 states, Washington D.C., and Puerto Rico by the year's end (the first state chapter launched in Colorado in July). Amy Monsky of Summerville will be a co-chair of the group along with Matthew Facciani of Columbia. Funding will come from the national organization, Monsky says.

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"In general, what we want to do is make sure that all laws are religiously neutral, so that religion doesn't get a privilege, so that there are no exemptions for religious people or institutions that aren't available to everybody," Monsky says. "We want to create an equal playing field where every citizen has the freedom of conscience and belief."

The group will focus its lobbying on the Statehouse, and one of the first orders of business will be to build relationships with senators and representatives. Monsky says the group might meet resistance in the Bible Belt state, but she remains hopeful about making inroads in Columbia. "I'm optimistic that as part of such a large national organization, we'll be taken seriously," Monsky says. "It's shown in studies that the nonreligious are gaining in numbers and that we're not just some tiny minority that can be marginalized."

In a 2009 survey by the Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life, 86 percent of South Carolinians said they believe in God with absolute certainty. 72 percent of South Carolinians said they pray once a day, and 54 percent said they attend religious services once a week. On the question of belief, South Carolina came in second only to Mississippi.

Edwina Rogers, executive director of the Secular Coalition for America, said in a press release Thursday that state chapters would play a role at the national level as well. ""In our current U.S. Congress, 38 percent of representatives held local office first," Rogers said. "When we get to lawmakers at the local level, not only are we going to help curb some of the most egregious legislation we're seeing, but we are also building relationships and working to educate legislators on our issues before they even get to Washington."

Comments (11)

Showing 1-11 of 11

SCA please post the hate mail so we can all have a good laugh.

report 1 of 4 people like this.   
Posted by arty on September 28, 2012 at 1:27 PM

Amy does a fantastic job with Camp Quest, and we look forward to her lobbying for legislative fairness. Good luck Amy!

report 8 of 8 people like this.   
Posted by Tim Brown on September 28, 2012 at 2:22 PM

this article has been up 10 hours and Clarkie hasn't ChristTrolled yet? Wow

report 4 of 4 people like this.   
Posted by Foodmancing on September 28, 2012 at 2:51 PM

Now you've done it. You mentioned He Who Should Not Be Named. Now He's going to show up. Thanks.

I also wonder why we haven't seen any of the oddly semi-literate and completely humorless atheist trolls pop up, either. They usually show up to these threads, too.

report 2 of 6 people like this.   
Posted by mat catastrophe on September 28, 2012 at 3:21 PM

I don't believe in atheist groups..

report 4 of 7 people like this.   
Posted by And if elected... on September 28, 2012 at 3:25 PM

You know why that joke is not funny, And if....?

Because the group is demonstrably real. Unlike God.

report 7 of 12 people like this.   
Posted by mat catastrophe on September 28, 2012 at 3:38 PM

Mat you are SOOOO wrong, That joke is funny, just not true, like Religion

report 5 of 6 people like this.   
Posted by Foodmancing on September 28, 2012 at 4:52 PM

Ah, but what is true is in the eyes of the beholder..perhaps I am just uninformed. When it is stated that atheist are real, I can see that. But what meaning do they find in life? Or do they feel life has no meaning? Just curious...

report 1 of 2 people like this.   
Posted by And if elected... on October 2, 2012 at 12:37 AM

Or maybe life, and the zillions of parts thereof, is its own meaning? Is that not an eligible answer?

report 1 of 1 people like this.   
Posted by Cid95 on October 2, 2012 at 5:11 AM

The troll bait's gone bad! To get our minds over this disappointment, let's all ponder for a moment what the response to this same article would have been had it come from the P&C, in the pre-paywall AND anonymous-commenter days.

Oh, the flames, the flames! It would have looked like Blue Pulanski: GLORIOUS.

report 2 of 2 people like this.   
Posted by factoryconnection on October 2, 2012 at 9:50 AM

A secular group wants to uphold the Constitution's secular foundations? C'mon, this is troll bait to generate page views.
This "news" is only interesting if the group meets opposition.

report 1 of 1 people like this.   
Posted by landsnark on October 2, 2012 at 12:11 PM
Showing 1-11 of 11

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