Re: [atheists-27] Secular Coalition and Values->Mathew

From: Mathew G.
Sent on: Friday, March 8, 2013 11:19 AM
Individual SCA staff may be personally more or less comfortable discussing any particular policy question, but SCA as an organization does not, and I am confident will not, take a position on global warming policy generally.  What they may do is respond to policy discussions among policymakers, or other lobbyists, if religious beliefs play a prominent role in that discussion, which could happen during discussion of almost any policy, including climate policy.  If you don't want to confine the discussion so narrowly then I agree that they are not the group to invite as a co-sponsor.

On Mar 7, 2013, at 11:59 PM, Don Wharton <[address removed]> wrote:

I love the Secular Coalition for America and under Edwina Rogers the SCA has substantially upped their game.
That said I have some mixed feelings about getting them involved with our Secular Voter's Forum. In my discussions with them I made it clear that this is not a forum where all questions must be from a specifically secular framework. I want to reflect the average sensibilities of our members on the entire range of values that we have about how government should function.
 
I think they (the SCA) are personally comfortable about global warming and greenhouse gases because the other side is so obviously outside the bounds of the scientific evidence. However, when I talk about building ladders of success so the disadvantaged can contribute to society they get much less comfortable.
 
After someone has served his or her sentence for committing a crime there is a continuing punishment that remains forever in that the person must check a box saying that they have a criminal record. I like the idea of having a time limit especially for the non-violent and victimless crimes. If someone get caught smoking a bit of pot I think most of us think the state is the one at fault. I have been in literally hundreds of discussion groups in my time and not one single atheist or humanist has ever take the position that our drug laws make sense. We don't agree on exactly how they should be changed but I am sure that we have a majority here that think that prosecuting the 4,000 people a year in DC who get caught smoking a bit of weed is a profound waste of our governmental resources. It might be ill advised to smoke the stuff but why should governmental resources be used for this purpose? This again is an area where the SCA might not be comfortable supporting our views on values.
 
Don Wharton

From: Mathew Goldstein <[address removed]>
To: [address removed]
Sent: Thursday, March 7,[masked]:58 PM
Subject: Re: [atheists-27] Snow Day! Let's talk politics

I very much like the SCA, and I think they are correct to avoid taking positions on issues like voter ID and instead confine themselves to those issues that have a more direct connection to religious beliefs.  There is almost no controversial issue that cannot be associated with religious beliefs indirectly. Indeed, most issues that divide Democrats from Republicans are likely also an issue that divides secularists from anti-secularists simply because Republicans are more likely to be anti-secularist.  SCA will not take positions on most current issues, including greenhouse gases, the plight of wolves, government transparency, election districting, the minimum wage, unemployment, the budget, taxes, etc.  Voter ID, and most election related issues more generally, falls into this large group of issues that are outside the limited focus of SCA because it is not directly motivated by religious beliefs.  

The fact that there is (or may be) a cause and effect relationship between social dysfunction related to government policies, including maldistribution of wealth, and religious belief isn't a strong argument for SCA to change their agenda, but it is a good argument for us as individuals, or as a group, to engage those issues.
 
On Mar 7, 2013, at 2:53 PM, Don Wharton <[address removed]> wrote:

Someone successfully made the point that within the SCA that voter ID laws are not considered a secular issue. I was appalled by this since I am rather certain that support for those laws would come disproportionately from the religious. Moreover, I doubt that we would have even 5% of our members here which would support those laws.
 
As a matter of science it has been demonstrated that extreme societal inequality results in substantial increases societal dysfunction and the probability of complete collapse of the social order. The current American trajectory toward a future where the rich and super-rich take a vastly disproportionate percentage of the economic wealth of our nation is not good.  Voter ID laws are specifically designed to disenfranchise those on the low end of the income spectrum to make the world more comfortable for those who are already extremely comfortable.   How is this not a secular issue?
 
Don Wharton

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Please Note: If you hit "REPLY", your message will be sent to everyone on this mailing list ([address removed])
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