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Freethought Today · April 2016

Published by the Freedom From Religion Foundation, Inc.

FFRF launches ‘I’m Secular and I Vote’ campaign

FFRF hopes to engage the millions of non-religious voters with its new "I'm Secular and I Vote" campaign ahead of the 2016 presidential election.

"Since President Obama was first elected, the number of religiously unaffiliated adults in America has grown by nearly 20 million," said FFRF Co-President Annie Laurie Gaylor. "Still, most candidates and media outlets focus their time on traditional religious groups, so we're taking action to be more vocal and coordinated as a demographic that should not be ignored."

A fresh ad campaign featuring John F. Kennedy aired in 21 major television markets during The Late Show with Stephen Colbert for two weeks in March. The commercial depicts the famous lines delivered by presidential candidate John F. Kennedy to the Greater Houston Ministerial Association in 1960: "I believe in an America where the separation of church and state is absolute, where no religious body seeks to impose its will directly or indirectly on the general populace."

FFRF also plans to reach out to voters through its chapters, paid digital media ads, efforts to mobilize students on college campuses, and coordination with the nation's other major freethought associations as part of the June 4 Reason Rally in Washington, D.C.

A major Pew Research survey recently found 23 percent of the U.S. population is now religiously unaffiliated, with 19 million new adults since 2007 classifying their religious affiliation as atheist, agnostic or nothing in particular, a trend Pew says is being driven primarily by young adults. A third of Millennials now identify as non-religious.

"Much of the movement away from religion in America is being driven by Millennials, many of whom will be voting for the first time this year," said FFRF Co-President Dan Barker. "We need secular voters to be vocal about their beliefs, or lack thereof, while rejecting efforts to push religious dogma on the nation."

FFRF will be working with its 23,500 members, 20 chapters across America and through secular student alliances to encourage supporters to register to vote, attend and speak out on secularism at political events and submit op-eds to local and campus newspapers. FFRF also launched a student essay contest with thousands of dollars in prizes, and will distribute "I'm Secular and I Vote" buttons, T-shirts, bumper stickers and educational material across the country.