The Secular Coalition for America has announced the official launch of the Secular Coalition for South Carolina as part of the SCA’s greater effort to establish 50 new state chapters throughout the country this year.
The announcement was made last week at Carolina Secular Conference in Charleston, SC. The Secular Coalition for America is a lobbying organization representing nontheistic Americans and advocating protecting and strengthening the secular character of our government. The Secular Coalition for South Carolina will lobby state lawmakers in favor of a strong separation of religion and government.
A recent Pew Forum study indicated that 14 percent of South Carolina residents do not express an absolute belief in God, and 30 percent disagreed that “religion is very important to their lives.” According to the study, South Carolina is the second most religious state in the nation—tied with Alabama—and falls behind only Mississippi.
Another Pew study found that 54% of Americans feel that churches and other houses of worship should keep out of political matters, and 38% says that there has been too much expression of religious faith and prayer from political leaders – a number that has grown to its highest point since the Pew Research Center began asking the question more than a decade ago.
Edwina Rogers, Secular Coalition for America Executive Director said she is excited to see the South Carolina chapter launch. The state chapters play an integral role at the state level, as well as the national level, she said.
“In our current U.S. Congress, 38 percent of Representatives held local office first,” said Rogers. “When we get to law makers at the local level, not only are we going to help curb some of the most egregious legislation we’re seeing, but we are also building relationships and working to educate legislators on our issues, before they even get to Washington.”
The Secular Coalition, which celebrates its 10th anniversary this year, represents 11 nontheistic member organizations and has as traditionally focused advocacy efforts on federal legislation. The SCA will continue to lobby at the federal level, while state chapters will lobby at the state level. Participation in the Secular Coalition for South Carolina is open to all South Carolinians that support a strong separation of religion and government, regardless of their personal religious beliefs.