Congress Goes to Recess - Secular Successes and Failures So Far This Year

Congress at RecessAs nonbelievers I think 'separation of church and state' issues tend to show up on our radar much more easily than it does for believers. Too few believers realize that separation of church and state is what allows them to practice their flavor of Christianity. So many who push for more Christian influence in government don't seem to realize that they might end up disagreeing with the flavor that comes to power. If only more believers realized this, I think we would have so many more supporters of the separation of church and state.

The 111th Congress has gone to recess for their August break. Ill-timed I think, considering all the stir with bills and propositions and initiatives, dealing with the economy and health care reform. But it is their 'scheduled vacation' and-all, so there's nothing we can do about it.

The Secular Coalition for America has listed some of the successes and failures in the separation of church and state fight from this year so far. I thought them worth sharing; especially since it seems we hear about these in the news when they are being argued over, but the results seem to be slipped into the news as an afterthought.

Successfully Opposed:
  • Funding faith-based organizations in the stimulus package.
  • Taxpayers paying for the religious education of D.C. students.
  • The global gag rule that suppresses the provision of critical medical information to patients.
  • Funding abstinence-only-until-marriage education programs.
  • The creation of an annual "Spiritual Heritage Week".

Failed to Opposed:
  • Engraving of the "In God We Trust" motto on the walls of the new Capitol Visitor's Center.
  • Taxpayers paying for the religious education of D.C. students.

You'll notice the D.C. school vouchers listed on both; it is a success because the program is being modified, it is a failure because the program continues to exist.

For this fall, the Secular Coalition for America has plans to advocate against language in bills allowing faith-based organizations to use federal funds to proselytize and discriminate based on religion. They also have plans to continue the opposition of the D.C. school vouchers. And also plan to address religious exemptions in child care and child protective laws.


  1. I agree, christians really do not understand the separation of church and state.
    I really appreciate this post. We always hear about these issues as they come up, but then we never hear about the results.

  2. Although, part of the problem Neece is the fact pastors and christian pundits spread that tired ol' "Freedom of religion does not mean freedom FROM religion" BS. So christians in the US think they have the right to spread their nonsense everywhere. I think that one probably drives many non-theists bonkers... or at least it does me :@

  3. It's weird how certain theists can pretend that they share the same god when it's convenient, and then deny those other religions when they want to make a point.

    Sometimes even in the same sentence.


  4. Although, part of the problem Neece is the fact pastors and christian pundits spread that tired ol’ “Freedom of religion does not mean freedom FROM religion” BS.

    Funny how they forget that the moment they're exposed to somebody else's religion. They think they should be free to practice their religion, and to cram it down everyone else's throats. But if they see a display, sign or symbol from another religious group (or *gasp* atheists) they're the first to start screaming about how offended they are and demand it be removed. Just look at how many times they whine to get their "Nativity scenes" put up yet have hissy fits if other groups want to put up pentacles, Festivus poles, FSM monuments, etc. Religious freedom for me, but not for thee.

  5. Yes, it drives me nuts too. It's the religious mythos that says you must force others to follow your religion as well. If they don't acquiesce to your god they are your enemy.

  6. Exactly, Steve. The gall of such blatant hypocrisy is infuriating!

  7. Yes, Buffy. The blatant hypocrisy is infuriating. To think they are all so special and superior must be a trait of all that mind numbing worship or something. All I know is it drives me nuts.