Council for Secular Humanism Joins the Secular Coalition for America January 13, 2010

Council for Secular Humanism Joins the Secular Coalition for America

The Secular Coalition for America is the Washington, D.C. lobbying group made up of several national freethought organizations:

As of this past Sunday, we have a new member — one that had previously been a glaring absence from the list: The Council for Secular Humanism.

The decision to request membership in SCA was supported by the management of the Council and the Center for Inquiry, as well as a majority of the boards of directors for both organizations. Management expects the Council’s membership in SCA will provide significant assistance to the Council in fulfilling its mission to support and advance the interests of humanists and other nonreligious Americans. Joining the SCA will allow the Council to work effectively with other nontheistic organizations on shared goals.

It’s briefly alluded to above, but let’s get the obvious question out of the way. It’s a question that I suspect people familiar with the freethought movement might have (while the rest of you could care less): Why is the Council for Secular Humanism joining the SCA and not the (arguably better known) Center for Inquiry? This was a major point of discussion at the SCA meeting.

CFI’s president, Ron Lindsay, explains the reasons for the decision in their email press release:

We decided that the Council, rather than the Center for Inquiry (CFI) should join SCA. CFI is itself a coalition of sorts, supporting both humanists and skeptics as it works with its two affiliates, the Council and the Committee for Skeptical Inquiry (CSI). Not all supporters of CSI are nonreligious or interested in the public policy issues that especially concern the nonreligious. As SCA focuses almost exclusively on such issues, we concluded that the Council rather than CFI would be a better fit for membership.

In other words, CFI is the umbrella organization for CSH and CSI (got that straight?) and only CSH focuses specifically on non-theism. So it was the better fit.

CFI also has its own lobbying office in D.C., but the Office of Public Policy has a broader focus than SCA and our priorities tend to be difference. We’ll be working together wherever we can.

I was present at the meeting on Sunday, representing the Secular Student Alliance, and voted for the inclusion of CSH into the SCA’s membership. I’m thrilled they’re part of the group and I’m looking forward to working with their organization.


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  • NewEnglandBob

    Congratulations.

  • Ian

    Great work, hopefully as the future progresses all our various organizations will continue to work amicably with one another.

  • Trace

    Good !

  • Rob

    This sounds like the Monty Python sketch with the Peoples Front of Judea vs. the Judea Peoples Front.

  • Keith

    Rob. That was precisely, and I mean precisely, what I was about to post. 🙂

  • Rob and Keith,
    That scene was the first thing I thought of also! I remember it from the feature film, The Life of Brian. One of the funniest moments in film history.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WrGVSYZF7bw

  • TPO

    I got an email notice about this from CSH yesterday. I’m glad they are finally on board. The decision for the Council for Secular Humanism to join the SCA and not the Center for Inquiry makes since. Good call!

  • Rob

    Thanks Jeff for the youtube link! HA!

    “If you want to join us you have to really hate the Romans.” “I do.” “Oh yeah? How much?” “A LOT!” …. “Alright, you’re in.”

    Unfortunately, its too familiar with the atheist orgs. For both good and bad reasons. But it is nice to see a more concentrated “voice” come from these groups acting together. Mainstream visibility will make it easier for us to stand up and be noticed instead of hiding our views. (i.e. me living in the bilblebelt and concerned how I’d be treated at work)

  • I’d like to join a reputable org either for atheists or secular humanists. I’m checking out the ones on this list but I have a hard time making up my mind. How do I pick one that isn’t just about bashing believers? I have a lot of believer friends of all types of religions and I want to work with them, not put them down.

  • purpletempest — I’m biased but I’ve seen the Secular Student Alliance affiliates do a lot of work with religious groups toward our common goals.

    The American Humanist Association also tends to be about positive non-theism instead of bashing religious people.

    Any groups would be great to donate to, but I’m personally drawn to those two.

    — Hemant