For the First Time, a “Secular Caucus” Will Gather at the Texas Democratic Convention June 17, 2016

For the First Time, a “Secular Caucus” Will Gather at the Texas Democratic Convention

Since I mentioned the Texas Democratic Convention earlier today, I wanted to also bring up this exciting news: The Secular Coalition for Texas will host the first-ever “Secular Caucus” today, in order to “educate the Texas Democratic party about non-religious voters, who now comprise more than one-­quarter of the entire Democratic party.”

Factsheet on Secular Texans

“The nonreligious are the largest religious demographic in the Democratic party outnumbering evangelicals, mainline Protestants, non­-Christian faiths, and Catholics,” said Larry T. Decker, Executive Director of the Secular Coalition for America. “Secular voters are poised to become the next great voting bloc in the United States. This is a demographic trend that politicians and lawmakers cannot ignore.”

It’s not just a passive gathering. The Secular Coalition for Texas will introduce three resolutions of their own that they hope the state party (and eventually the national party) will pass:

  • A resolution to repeal religious exemptions to child protection laws
  • A resolution to strike discriminatory language from the state Constitution that bars non-theists from holding elected office
  • A resolution supporting secular reproductive health care policies

That second one is really interesting, if only because we have to fight for that at all. But it’s true. Article 1, Section 4 of the Texas Constitution says:

No religious test shall ever be required as a qualification to any office, or public trust, in this State; nor shall any one be excluded from holding office on account of his religious sentiments, provided he acknowledge the existence of a Supreme Being.

How’s that for a contradiction? We will have no religious tests for public office… as long as you believe in God.

Will the resolutions pass? That’s the wrong question to ask, because if that’s the only marker of success, smaller groups will rarely achieve victory. What’s important is to have a seat at the table and to make sure others recognize that we’re a voice worth paying attention to. And for the first time, atheists in Texas will have that.

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