A provocative new national secular voter campaign emphasizes that 75 million nonreligious adult Americans (nearly one-third of the population) are dedicated to the separation of state and religion — and are voting that way.
The Freedom From Religion Foundation, a state/church watchdog with more than 38,000 nonreligious members, is honoring the signing of the secular Constitution on Sept. 17, 1787, through a number of billboards as well as full-page ads in Sunday dailies across the nation. In round two of its voter outreach, FFRF is placing newspaper ads in 28 states plus many billboards (scroll to end to view states), after having earlier visited the other states with an “independence from religion” campaign over the Fourth of July. View all ads here.
FFRF’s full-page newspaper ads will run in the Washington Post and 44 other newspapers, including those in many capital cities plus larger dailies. The ads feature the faces and names of “secular values voters,” most posing in front of their state capitol buildings.
Each ad states: “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.”
The message is a compelling call to keep religion out of government, social policy and public schools. Notably, given the overturning of Roe. v. Wade and increasing attacks on LGBTQ rights, each ad also demands that religion be kept “out of bedrooms, personal lives and health care decisions — including when or whether to have children, and whom to love or marry.”
Fully 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, another reason why the secular vote is so important.
Says FFRF Co-President Annie Laurie Gaylor, “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 respected and represented.”
The ads involve a diversity of freethinkers.
“Christian nationalism frightens me,” says South Carolina atheist Melissa Evans, who is chief operating officer of a small software development company and, in the ad running in The Staten the ad running in The State in the capital city of Columbia, is pictured in front of her state Capitol building. “History is littered with the bodies of people tortured and murdered in the name of ‘God,’” Evans adds. A similar full-page ad will appear in Charleston’s Post and Courier.
Other participants include an Oklahoma ICU nurse, the 90-year-old retired editor of the Charleston, W. Va. newspaper, a student who just received a master’s degree in Ohio, a former member of the state Legislature in New Hampshire, a Wyoming great-grandmother, young Michigan parents, a member of Black Nonbelievers in Louisiana and many other atheists, humanists or agnostics representing their home states.
The Freedom From Religion Foundation is calling attention through its campaign to the growing and increasingly overt calls to Christian nationalism and the alarming recent tendency of the U.S. Supreme Court to privilege religion and eviscerate individual rights for religious reasons.
“That’s why our secular voices must be heard,” concludes Gaylor.
The Freedom From Religion Foundation has more 38,000 members throughout North America, serves as a membership group for like-minded atheists, freethinkers and humanists, and works diligently as a state/church watchdog to uphold the constitutional principle of separation between state and church.
List of states for Round Two of FFRF’s secular values voter campaign:
AL, AK, AR, DE, DC, FL, HI, ID, KS, LA, MA, MI, MS, MO, MT, NE, NH, NJ, ND, NM, OH, OK, RI, SC, SD, UT, WV, WY. (Other states featured in the July Fourth campaign.) View ads in all 50 states here, including billboards in many states.