• Atheist and Secular Oklahomans Lobby Day

    Today was the second annual Atheist & Secular Oklahomans Lobby Day which was pretty much what it says on the tin. Sundry unbelievers and various secularists gathered together in a show of solidarity and to remind our legislators that we exist and would very much like them to stop taking a faith-based approach to making legislation.

    Dan Barker of the Freedom From Religion Foundation was also in attendance and provided what can be best described as a rousing secular sermon.

    Hopefully we’ll have the recording of that talk in a usable form fairly soon. (Lorn, I’m looking at you.)

    When we weren’t busy tabling or sermonizing, we wandered around the Capitol trying to buttonhole legislators who might be willing to talk. I met with both my State Representative and my State Senator and a few others as well, and spoke with them about the probable knock-on effects of repealing Section II-5 of the Oklahoma Constitution. Sometimes this went quite smoothly, other times not so much.

    After a couple of years of doing this, I’ve noticed what feels like a trend: If you lead with something like “Hello, I’m here with the Oklahoma Atheists” you tend to put a certain sort of legislator on the defensive from the get-go. That is unproblematic if your primary goal is to expose lawmakers to the existence of unbelievers, and in a sense that is what today was all about. If your primary goal is to make your best case against proposed legislation in terms that your elected officials find relatable (and perhaps even persuadable) then it makes somewhat less sense to lead off with your irreligious bona fides.

    The best meetings we had today were those in which we discussed how strengthening the wall of separation protects Catholics, Protestants, Jews, Muslims, and everyone else besides. As much as I enjoy being confrontational, when dealing with potentially persuadable legislators you will likely make more headway by appealing to their values and goals rather than trying to get them to adopt your own.

    You are welcome, of course, to disagree, and to leave a comment below.

    Category: ActivismSecularism

    Article by: Damion Reinhardt

    Former fundie finds freethought fairly fab.