|Sent on:||Thursday, February 28, 2013 8:11 PM|
I think you'd love it, Ellen! Marni & my meetings at the 2 legislators' offices went really well. We way overstayed the usual allotted 15 minutes or so for both. We were at each office around 40 minutes.
Sam's appts seemed to go really well, too... we met him for lunch immediately after our 1st appt, and he was beaming! It was indeed a sort of thrill to sit in the offices of state legislators, introduce ourselves as secularists/atheists, and proceed to discuss public policy issues that concern the vast majority of nontheists with interested ears (or it sure seemed so in our case).
Now, the caveat- our State Senator & State Representative are both fairly progressive-minded Dems. I think Sam's are as well. Our senator is Minority Whip, and our Rep is Minority Leader (the GOP has a decent majority in both houses).
Two attendees from central Ohio had appts with a conservative Republican who is known to have religious right ties. I haven't talked to them yet to see how it went, and I don't think Monette has either. I do have one of their phone numbers- planning to call soon to see how it went.
The speakers on Sunday gave us plenty of tips and general info- for instance, Gary Daniels of ACLU told us that those who legislators listen to most are business leaders and RELIGIOUS LEADERS. That second one alone is a good reason for more secularists to get some sort of dialogue going with legislators- collectively, yet on an individual basis (for we have no bishops or anything! :)
A tip given to those who were meeting with conservative R's was to re-frame a bit- for instance, "separation of church and state" might be rephrased as "government neutrality on religion"... and so on.
All in all, a very positive experience. I hope many more from NE Ohio come down for the next one- a date may be scheduled soon!
I hope to be able to join in the next Ohio Secular Summit, they need to know that secularists aren't fringe extremists.
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