A Reno resident who describes herself as “a Mom, an artist and an Atheist” is featured on a full-size billboard proclaiming “I’m an atheist and I vote,” currently up at 4945 Joule St., Reno, Nev., for one month.
Tamami Tokutake is representing Nevada in a national secular voter campaign launched by the Freedom From Religion Foundation in this critical election year. She is one of 75 million nonreligious Americans who want Congress, state legislatures, public officials and courts to listen to “secular values voter” by keeping religion out of government and social policy.
“As a lifelong atheist,” Tokutake says, “I'm very alarmed when religions come into policy making and public schools.”
Tokutake, who is a landscape artist and newly retired from three decades in the tech industry, will also be pictured in front of the state Capitol building in Carson City in a full-page ad headlined “I’m Secular and We Vote,” running in the Reno Gazette on Sunday, July 3.
FFRF Co-President Annie Laurie Gaylor notes, “We’re putting public candidates and officials on notice that secular voters are here, that WE are the true ‘values voters’ and that it’s time that our secular viewpoint be heard and represented.”
In the ad, Tokutake notes, “The ‘Nones’ (those of us unaffiliated with religion) are now 29 percent of the U.S. population. We are the largest ‘denomination’ by religious identification!”
In fact, in Washoe County, Nev., where Takutake resides, PRRI statistics show that fully 38 percent of residents identify themselves as religiously unaffiliated.
Tokutake lists a compelling number of secular voter demands, saying she “trusts in reason, science and America’s secular Constitution.” As a secular American, she wants to keep religion out of government and social policy, out of public schools, and out of bedrooms, personal lives and health care decisions — including when or whether to have children, and whom to love or marry. “Use my tax dollars only for evidence-based, not faith-based, purposes,” she emphasizes.
FFRF is running the billboards and newspaper ads in time for the July 4 weekend in about half of the United States, with the rest appearing around Sept. 17, Constitution Day.
The ad campaign is particularly timely given that the U.S. Supreme Court, at the behest of religiously motivated court challenges, has just overturned Roe v. Wade and turned abortion rights back to state legislative decree. Gaylor notes that 98.8 percent of FFRF’s membership supports Roe, which is consistent with a YouGov analysis showing that atheists, at 91 percent overall, are the most likely to identify as pro-choice.
Gaylor called the Supreme Court trend to privilege religion, as well as the likely banning of abortion in more than half the states, alarming. “That’s why our secular voices must be heard.”
The Freedom From Religion Foundation serves as the largest association of freethinkers in North America, with more than 36,000 members including more than 460 in Nevada, and works as a state/church watchdog to safeguard the constitutional principle of separation between state and church. To learn more, visit: ffrf.org.