Interview with Edwina Rogers, New Executive Director for the Secular Coalition for America »« Quitting the Day Job

Edwina Rogers: Processing… processing…

Yes, I know about the Edwina Rogers thing.

For those of you who might have missed the news: A longtime political operative in the Republican party has been named as the new President of the Secular Coalition of America, the lobbying and umbrella organization for several secular, humanist, atheist, and skeptics organizations.

Many people have already commented on this. Just so y’all know: Yes, I’m planning to comment on it myself. Thew news came out when I was on the road, and I haven’t yet had time to do enough research to make an informed comment. The wheels are grinding. I’ll comment as soon as I can.

Comments

  1. Dalillama says

    Greg’s also got a video up on his blog where she lies about energy policy too.

  2. Eliott says

    I actually think we may be looking at this incorrectly. My guess is that the woman gave an absolutely sensational interview and represented herself in excellent fashion. We probably knew exactly what we were getting. I’m sure those who made this choice have seen the video of her misrepresenting Valerie Plame and heard about the $1000 gift to Rick Perry and were obviously not troubled by either. There are a variety of other videos including the one of Michael Fox that I also suppose didn’t cause concern. So my guess is we knew exactly what we were getting. And I’m sure the information she gave in her interview with Hemant was not a surprise. So folks, we knew exactly what we were getting. Don’t get pissed at her. She is an open book of deception and political slight of hand, what we have come to affectionately call lobbyists. Be pissed at the group that thought it was OK to hire her and represent us. They are the one’s to hold accountable for this abomination. They knew exactly what we were getting and now we’re getting it…up our collective ass.

  3. godlesspanther says

    I read about Robbins becoming the president of the SCA. My initial gut reaction was that my gut wanted to jettison its contents.

    I read the interview with Hemant, I assume that she intended to make people such as myself feel a little mot comfortable with her being in this position. I did not work. I feel worse.

    The new atheism has changed from some people throwing around some ideas to a real movement in just 12 years. The purpose of a sociopolitical movement is to change the world. That is not easy nor is it painless — and it shouldn’t be.

    This has just happened — the Secular Coalition of America has just sold out. Furthermore they have just driven a huge wedge into the center of our movement.

    This shit happens, it sucks, but it also means something — kids — we’ve grown up. We really are a movement now.

    This is a major turning point — do we compromise with the enemy — the very ones that we are supposed to be fighting against? All kinds of wonderful rewards in it for us — just ask Edwina Robbins. And she’ll probably send you a gift wrapped in real money to boot.

    Or do we stick with the principles that brought us into this movement in the first place?

    Joan Baez sang — If there’s such a thing as revolution.

    Not can we, should we, how do we –? But does it even really exist?

    No.

    Will I keep deluding myself into believing that it just might?

    Something in me hopes that I do.

  4. says

    Don’t get pissed at her. She is an open book of deception and political slight of hand, what we have come to affectionately call lobbyists. Be pissed at the group that thought it was OK to hire her and represent us. They are the one’s to hold accountable for this abomination.

    I’m pretty sure that’s what the point of pointing out Edwina Rogers’ lies and misinformation is.

  5. jayarrrr says

    I could not believe this. What’s next? Brian Fischer as head of Queer Nation? Karl Rove to head the DNC?

    If the point is to hire somebody whop has “Media Savvy”, then why not just resurrect Joseph Goebbels and hire him?

    Watch Rogers do to the SCA what Karen Handel did to Komen.

  6. 'Tis Himself says

    Don’t get pissed at her.

    I’m not pissed at her. She applied for a job, convinced the appropriate people that she was the best candidate, and got hired. If nothing else, she demonstrated her ability to be persuasive by selling herself to the SCA board

    Be pissed at the group that thought it was OK to hire her and represent us.

    They’re the people who need to do some explaining. What was their criteria for the job? Why was Rogers deemed the best applicant? Did the board do any outside research on Rogers? Why did they ignore several obvious flags on her suitability to represent SCA?

  7. says

    “I haven’t yet had time to do enough research to make an informed comment.”

    OK, let’s try a little cloud cuckoo land. suppose everyone did that? Did the research before they made public comments?

    I know it’s not gonna happen, but wouldn’t it be great!

  8. Kagehi says

    I sent them an email, in which I asked, among other things, if they where offered lands and titles in Tennessee and Mississippi as part of the deal, al la the Scottish/British conflict in William Wallace’s time.

  9. godlesspanther says

    Ooops. I called her Robbins in my last post — Rogers is the correct name.

    The announcement article on SCA’s site is not very informative at all. Rogers is trying to push the — Republicans are concerned about church-state issues too — they just never talk about it — because the never thought about it — so there.

    I just don’t find this convincing. We have seen in recent years that even the most moderate republicans in political office have been trained like bad dogs to appease the religious right and under no circumstances ever say anything that might rub them the wrong way. If they do so it would be political suicide for them.

    The interview with Hemant Mehta was sorely lacking in one particular area — that would be Edwina Rogers ACTUALLY SAYING SOMETHING.

    She mentioned one specific issue — stem cell research. And nothing specific about it. The Actual exchange is as follows:

    “[HM]On which issues do you think the SCA can get the most traction with political leaders?

    [ER]I think in the near future, chances are good to make inroads on issues surrounding health and safety (things like stem cell research — because the upside is so tremendous), discrimination (especially in the military), fairness in tax policy, emphasizing a pro-science based education in public schools and tempering religious extremism — these are things the average American can really relate with.”

    Health and safety, discrimination, fairness in tax policy, pro-science based education, tempering religious extremism.

    Let’s apply the opposite test.

    I advocate that we ignore issues of health and safety, we should not address issues of discrimination, I strongly advocate an unfair tax policy that insures public schools will deprive students of science education, and make sure that religious extremism runs rampant unhindered.

    If the opposite ends up being something that nobody would ever say then the speaker has not really said anything at all.

  10. says

    @Setár: I was thinking of all the people (mostly politicians, but it’s pretty endemic) who are quite happy to spout first, before – or instead of- learning the facts. Rush Limbaugh is an extreme example, but he’s not the only one. I just think Greta is classy for researching and thinking first.

    Do you have a problem with that?

  11. Azkyroth, Former Growing Toaster Oven says

    From Zengaze’s link:

    There were lessons to be learned from the Christian Coalition and its religious right successors, who now argue less about dogma and cooperate more on political goals

    But that’s exactly the problem: she has made a career of fighting against the political goals we support.

  12. R. Johnston says

    But that’s exactly the problem: she has made a career of fighting against the political goals we support.

    More specifically, she’s made a career of not giving a shit about truth, honesty, and reality. She’s made a career fighting against the very basis for a secular movement.

    Secularism, in any version worth actually fighting for and organizing around, is a philosophy and a process more than a specific set of beliefs. There are some beliefs that inevitably go along with that philosophy and process, but those beliefs do not on their own define secularism and can be held in its absence.

    Someone who’s spent her career advocating for a faith-based denial of reality is deeply religious and isn’t secular, whatever she believes about gods.

  13. says

    I will not throw Miss Edwina under the bus before I see some of the things she does for SCA. She says she is a non-theist and dedicated to the separation of church and state. So for that I think she deserves a chance.

  14. Eliott says

    Greta, let me tell you why I’m angry. I don’t have 99 reasons just one long one. In my view, we as Atheists were stuck in the mud, move a little forward move a little backward. We lacked inertia. Then, with a lot of effort and hard work from an extremely diverse cross functional mixture of Atheist organizations we get The Reason Rally and Rock Beyond Belief. We get Darryl Ray’s organization Recovering From Religion helping so many clergy get out from under. We have Greta Christina writing an absolutely wonderful and detailed book about the difficulty for Atheists in today’s world. What we really got is huge traction. Huge. Then, the board of SCA in one fell swoop, made what could be considered the most important organization representing the future of Atheism in our country irrelevant. If they had only invested a modicum of time and effort identifying the thought process up front publicly of bring in an unusual choice. That this was a cutting edge decision and why. That we not only talk inclusivity we walk it. That there would clearly be some concerns based on things she did or said in the past but these were vetted and the board felt great about her responses. They felt great about the choice and what they hoped she could accomplish and held themselves completely accountable. Unfortunately, that is not what has happened and the blogosphere has lit up. This selection has already polarized the movement and she hasn’t even made a decision for the SCA. But she has made many public statements and choices over the last 20 years that have already been questioned and left many in doubt with her ability to lead an Atheist organization. And because the board in my view miserably failed to prepare us for this choice we are left to our own devices regarding her history. Shame on the board for failing us and Greta, it makes me really angry that we had this huge momentum and they put this roadblock in our way. And actually Greta, I’m way passed angry, I am pissed the fuck off.

  15. godlesspanther says

    Elliot, it appears that you and I are having the some of the same observations on this situation.

    I have also confirmed my position as — royally pissed. I have looked at the things that Rogers has said. One thing is clear — she does not speak to those of us affiliated with the atheist movement. I’m not sure that she even knows how to connect with us. In the interview with Hemant Mehta, Rogers used the same style that she would talking to her republican buds from some time ago. Throw some meaningless fluff out there — just ell ‘em what they want to hear. She doesn’t understand that we do not operate that way. I wonder if she has read any material that has come out of the new atheist movement recently — Idon’t think that ‘no’ would be am unreasonable guess.

    I’m not looking to throw Edwina Rogers under the bus — I think that she and the SCA have thrown us under the bus.

    Case in point:

    “[ER]The Religious Right is a segment of the Republican Party — but it’s not a majority within the party and it certainly does not represent a majority of Americans. It’s a very active, vocal part of the Republican base, but it’s a minority.”

    Wrong, even if they are a minority, the Christian right is the biggest and strongest enemy that we, as secularists, face. They are extremist zealots who cannot be reasoned with. That — I don’t care if it turns out to be a little tiny minority, is the most dangerous faction and not to be ignored.

    Then look at the other side — lobbying republicans — some of them will state that they do not want to be associated at all with the atheist movement. Rogers, who will not refer to herself as an atheist, will probably appease them and say that we are a minority — vocal and active — but still a minority.

    This is what I mean when I say that she will throw us under the bus. Thus far, she is not winning points with people who want information to be specific, backed up with evidence and corroborating sources, and uncompromising honesty.

  16. Zengaze says

    That is exactly the problem. I had no issue whatsoever with her being a republican, in fact bringing in someone from the right who is a secularist in my view does have benefits. But when I researched her I came to the opinion that she is nothing more than a juke box, she’ll play any tune you want as long as you are paying her.

    That is not what we need, we need a voice of integrity, someone who actually believes what they say and says what they believe. There will be people out there who say we need to work with the real politic, we need to grow up as a movement, and start playing the game the same way as our opponents do. No i don’t buy it, if the secular movement wants to become a sleazy back scratching “give me this and I’ll move on that” double dealing, bucket of vipers, who only say what they mean when its politically expedient, then I’m out.

  17. ash says

    Yes Zengaze. I’m out too in that case. If this movement is about anything, it’s about the end of “business as usual”. The atheist movement does not benefit by joing the diseased aged orgy of “politics as usual…

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