“I’m a humanist and I vote,” proclaims ICU nurse Jamie Hamel on a 14-by-48-foot billboard that has gone up on I-44, 500 feet west of North Kelley Avenue facing east. Symptomatic of the censorship that nonbelievers face, FFRF and Hamel were forced to change the wording on the billboard from “I’m an atheist …” to “I’m a humanist … .”
Hamel is part of a provocative secular voter campaign the Freedom From Religion Foundation is launching this week, which points out that 75 million adult Americans — nearly one in three — are nonreligious. In a variety of billboards and full-page newspaper ads, nonreligious Americans like Hamel will announce that they devoutly want to keep religion out of government — and are voting that way.
Hamel will also appear in a full-page newspaper ad running on Sunday, Sept. 18, in The Oklahoman, in which she is thankfully not censored from describing herself as “an atheist.” The ad is timed to observe Constitution Day, Sept. 17, the 235th anniversary of the signing of what FFRF calls the “godless” Constitution.
Hamel, a cardiac ICU nurse pursuing a master’s in nursing, calls herself a “dog mom and ‘the cool aunt’” who has lived in Oklahoma for 14 years. Her goal is to earn a doctorate. “I am trying to become more active in promoting atheism and the separation of church and state,” she adds.
Hamel is participating in round two of FFRF’s national secular values voter awareness campaign taking place in more than half the states around Constitution Day. The campaign visited other states in FFRF’s earlier “independence from religion” campaign over the Fourth of July. View all ads here.
In the ad, Hamel says: “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.”
Hamel calls for keeping religion out of government, social policy and public schools. Notably, given the overturning of Roe. v. Wade and increasing attacks on LGBTQ rights, she 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.”
Full-page newspaper ads will also run in the Washington Post and 44 other newspapers, including those in many capital cities.
“We’re putting public candidates and officials on notice that secular voters are here, that WE are the true ‘values voters,’” adds Annie Laurie Gaylor, FFRF co-president, “and that it’s time that our secular viewpoint be respected and represented.”
The increasingly overt calls for Christian nationalism, and the alarming recent tendency of the U.S. Supreme Court trends to privilege religion and eviscerate individual rights require that secular voices be heard, FFRF maintains.
The Freedom From Religion Foundation has more than 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.