Secular Activities

I support secular and atheist causes.  The fundamental cause is the promotion of reason and evidence – usually through use of the scientific method – to make decisions. Particular focuses are the use of science in governmental policy making, the separation of church and state, and the promotion of organizations that provide community for atheists.

I am the current organizer for the Eugene Atheist Pub Social meetup group.  This is an opportunity for like-minded people to get together without having to worry about what they say.  It’s a lot of fun!

Since 2018 I have coordinated the effort to put a Solstice celebration banner over the downtown streets of Eugene the latter part of Dec.. This is in direct response to a banner regarding Jesus that has been displayed for several years. This has been significantly supported by the Freedom From Religion Foundation (FFRF). Both my opinion and that of FFRF is that the public square is not an appropriate place for religious displays. But, if there are religious displays, then we feel it is important to support the non-religious population. Of relevance is that the U.S. Supreme Court has consistently recognized that if one religion is allowed to display, then all religions must be allowed to do so. Unfortunately, a number of municipalities and states have had to be sued in order to allow this. (This is one of the activities of FFRF.) Even worse, secular displays are sometimes vandalized.

I also coordinated the placement of a newspaper ad in the Eugene Register Guard (July 4, 2018, p. A7)  pointing out that the U.S. is not a Christian Nation. This was part of a campaign by FFRF to counter ads placed by Hobby Lobby promoting a Christian Nation. Both the national and Portland chapters of FFRF helped with this.

It is quite amazing to me how much discrimination atheists face.  People can lose their jobs, their friends, their family, and their life for being an open atheist.  There is plenty of evidence to support this including the fact that there are several countries where an atheist can be put to death.  A particular – and personal – example of this discrimination stems from a scholarship essay contest for high school seniors that I helped start as a member of the Antelope Valley Freethinkers in Lancaster, CA.  As part of advertising the contest the president of the AV Freethinkers, David Dionne, asked the Antelope Valley High School District to distribute the announcement.  They refused because it “might offend some of the parents”.  After doing due diligence trying to work with the district, David contacted the Freedom From Religion Foundation (FFRF).  A lawsuit was filed in April 2016 by FFRF pointing out that this refusal is unconstitutional.  A ruling in favor of AVF and FFRF was announced in June 2016 (including the high school district having to pay $10,000 in legal fees.) Let me be clear, as FFRF is, that this is unconstitutional because it is a public school. Further they have the right not to distribute any scholarship announcements at all, but they must provide equal access to all organizations if they distribute any such announcements – which they do.

The secular movement is growing.  Surveys put people that are not affiliated with organized religions – the “Nones” – at about 24% of Americans and over 30% for millennials.  (Yet there are no openly secular legislatures in the federal government.  There are a few in state governments.) Further, community groups and national level organizations are sprouting up all over the country.

Some secular organizations I support:

Freedom From Religion Foundation

Americans United For Separation of Church and State

Center For Inquiry and the local meetup group CFI Skeptics

CFI also sponsors the Skeptics Toolbox held at the University of Oregon in Eugene.

Oregonians for Science and Reason

Eugene Atheist Pub Social meetup group.