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May 07 2012

Interview with Edwina Rogers, New Executive Director for the Secular Coalition for America

UPDATE: The transcript of this interview is now available.

I’ve just finished a telephone interview with Edwina Rogers, the new Executive Director for the Secular Coalition for America.

The recording of the interview can be found in its entirety here. Here is the URL:

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

I’m having a perfect storm of time issues right now. I have a deadline with AlterNet tomorrow morning, so I have to finish that today, and I’m scheduled to do recording on the audiobook of “Why Are You Atheists So Angry?” tomorrow. So I don’t have time to transcribe the interview in a timely manner. If anyone has time to transcribe the interview, I will be eternally grateful. In fact, the first person to get me an accurate transcript of the interview will get a free copy of my new book, Why Are You Atheists So Angry? 99 Things That Piss Off the Godless, in either e-book format (right away) or in print (when the print edition is published in June). If nobody can do do it, I’ll transcribe it myself as soon as I possibly can.

And I’ll comment on the interview, and more generally on the selection of Rogers to this position, as soon as I possibly can. Thanks for your patience.

121 comments

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  1. 1
    ash

    Listened to bits of it. Will listen in full after work. So far, I’m WAYYYY unimpressed.

  2. 2
    Ibis3, Let's burn some bridges

    Anyone transcribing this? I might be able to, but I don’t want to duplicate work.

  3. 3
    Ibis3, Let's burn some bridges

    Okay, I’m going ahead. Please just post here if you’re working on it too and I’ll stop.

  4. 4
    Michaelyn

    I’ve listened to a little over half of this. I haven’t heard her answer one question.
    Oh not EVERY republican is against gay rights? Okay. Fine. No one is saying that. But she supported that party, and she supported candidates who were obviously against every one of our secular values (AKA Rick Perry). How does she answer that? Why would anyone who supports secular rights donate to Rick Perry’s campaign?

    Who passes anti-abortion laws? Who says creationism should be taught in public schools? Who says it’s okay to treat gays as second class because that’s how freedom of religion works? It’s not the democrats.

  5. 5
    Michaelyn

    Oh you asked about Rick Perry. Thanks for that.

  6. 6
    Donovanable

    I’ve started transcribing, as arranged by Greta via Facebook.

  7. 7
    Pteryxx

    Thank you in advance Ibis3!

  8. 8
    TooManyJens

    Opposition to gay rights is not a party position for the Republican Party?

    I’m starting to be wary of her ability to do this job on the grounds of awareness of political reality. No, not every single Republican is anti-gay, but it absolutely is a party position.

  9. 9
    Pteryxx

    * or whoever!

  10. 10
    Ibis3, Let's burn some bridges

    Well, there you go. I’m not a Facebook person.

  11. 11
    chriskg

    Lets’ be frank about this, either she never read the Republican platform on values (which means she is inept) or she knows the platform and she chooses to lie about it. When she said, “…I don’t agree that the Republican Party is pro-life…” she is lying. There is no better explanation for it. She is pandering to her new audience and she must think we are idiots.

    Consider the following from the GOP.com website. It states rather clearly that abortion is “barbaric” and that they want laws to protect the unborn with no mention of the life that may be at risk—the mother. This sure sounds like a “pro-life” position to me. Is she this unaware? Is she this naive? Let me quote directly from the GOP:

    “Maintaining The Sanctity and Dignity of Human Life
    Faithful to the first guarantee of the Declaration of Independence, we assert the inherent dignity and sanctity of all human life and affirm that the unborn child has a fundamental individual right to life which cannot be infringed. We support a human life amendment to the Constitution, and we endorse legislation to make clear that the Fourteenth Amendment’s protections apply to unborn children. We oppose using public revenues to promote or perform abortion and will not fund organizations which advocate it. We support the appointment of judges who respect traditional family values and the sanctity and dignity of innocent human life.
    We have made progress. The Supreme Court has upheld prohibitions against the barbaric practice of partial-birth abortion. States are now permitted to extend health-care coverage to children before birth. And the Born Alive Infants Protection Act has become law; this law ensures that infants who are born alive during an abortion receive all treatment and care that is provided to all newborn infants and are not neglected and left to die. We must protect girls from exploitation and statutory rape through a parental notification requirement. We all have a moral obligation to assist, not to penalize, women struggling with the challenges of an unplanned pregnancy. At its core, abortion is a fundamental assault on the sanctity of innocent human life. Women deserve better than abortion. Every effort should be made to work with women considering abortion to enable and empower them to choose life. We salute those who provide them alternatives, including pregnancy care centers, and we take pride in the tremendous increase in adoptions that has followed Republican legislative initiatives. Respect for life requires efforts to include persons with disabilities in education, employment, the justice system, and civic participation. In keeping with that commitment, we oppose the non-consensual withholding of care or treatment from people with disabilities, as well as the elderly and infirm, just as we oppose euthanasia and assisted suicide, which endanger especially those on the margins of society. Because government should set a positive standard in hiring and contracting for the services of persons with disabilities, we need to update the statutory authority for the AbilityOne program, the main avenue by which those productive members of our society can offer high quality services at the best possible value.”

    From: http://www.gop.com/2008Platform/2008platform.pdf

    Or, let’s look at the Values platform from the GOPs own website. It say’s pretty much the same thing as the above section of the 2008 platform, yet here it describes abortion as “social engineering”:

    “Because the UN has no mandate to promote radical social engineering, any effort to address global social problems must respect the fundamental institutions of marriage and family. We assert the rights of families in all international programs and will not fund organizations involved in abortion. We strongly support the long-held policy of the Republican Party known as the Mexico City policy, which prohibits federal monies from being given to non-governmental organizations that provide abortions or actively promote abortion as a method of family planning in other countries. We reject any treaty or agreement that would violate those values. That includes the UN convention on women’s rights, signed in the last months of the Carter Administration, and the UN convention on the rights of the child. For several reasons, particularly our concern for US sovereignty and America’s long-term energy needs, we have deep reservations about the regulatory, legal, and tax regimes inherent in the Law of the Sea Treaty.”

    From: http://www.gop.com/2008Platform/Values.htm

    I think someone has made a huge mistake and if she intends on sticking around she may want to do her homework on our concerns and make some serious amends in the form of acheivements toward Church/State separation. Otherwise, I’m calling her bluff.

    Chris

  12. 12
    KathyO

    The worst part of this is that Rogers doesn’t seem to know anything. “The GOP is against gay rights? They fight against the separation of church and state? Wow, I’ll have to look into that. But I’m sure it’s not as bad as you say.”

    I think I’d like it better if she had said, “Yup, the GOP paid me, and I did what they asked. Now you guys are paying me, and I’ll do what you ask.”

    Better yet would have been to hire someone who actually knew and cared about our issues.

  13. 13
    TooManyJens

    If she would just say, “While official Republican Party positions are contrary to our interests, I know that there are a number of people within the party who are sympathetic to our issues and we want to work with those people to reach Republican officeholders and hopefully convince them to change,” that would be FINE. Why make up all this stuff about how the Republican Party actually is totally pro-gay and pro-separation of church and state? Because the Republican Party is an organization with official views, and those are not its official views, and none of this is hard to check.

    I’m coming away from this interview not trusting Ms. Rogers at all, and I honestly didn’t go into it that way.

  14. 14
    Crommunist

    Uuuuuuuugh.

    “I haven’t looked into it, so here’s a straw man of your position instead!’

    I kept half expecting her to use the phrase “and everywhere like such as”

  15. 15
    TooManyJens

    “I have done a lot of work in the health care arena, and I have always been promoting comparative effectiveness and best practices, which would take care of a lot of the separation of church and state issues with regard to health care.”

    How would those take care of church-state issues in health care? The bishops do not care about best practices when they want to keep us from getting birth control.

  16. 16
    maethor

    I’ve finished listening to the interview and I think that the best case scenario is that she is merely inept and ignorant. I can’t see how she will accomplish much if she thinks that 70% of Republicans are pro-choice or that most of them are pro-gay rights and pro-separation of church and state. It just doesn’t make sense for someone who is supposedly in tune with Washington and its corridors of power. Rather, she strikes me as the standard stock caricature of the professional obfuscation sort of lawyer. At no point did she address reality or show awareness of where the issues stand.

    She repeatedly calls for data to inform the argument, but makes anecdotal claims to her personal views that everything is nice and friendly. It’s not like any of this information is hard to come by or difficult to delve up. Most of it you just learn by being alive in America…

  17. 17
    maethor

    As a side note, I think she chose the wrong job. Secular, skeptical people are probably the least pliable group around. Trying to represent us while making no real claims and obscuring the issues is no way to unite the group and make progress. She is shackling her own ability to accomplish anything.

  18. 18
    Ibis3, Let's burn some bridges

    Wow. May I take the opportunity to Godwin? Not every Nazi is opposed to equal rights for Jews and I haven’t done a survey of every member of Hitler Youth, so the fact that I worked for the SS for decades shouldn’t reflect at all on my character. Could she possibly have said something to make her look worse and to confirm our suspicions of her unsuitability? Honestly, she must have known this would be asked and she should have come prepared with a better answer. Doesn’t bode well for her political skill either.

  19. 19
    Thomas Lawson

    THIS—-> #20 Ibis3, denizen of a spiteful ghetto

  20. 20
    KathyO

    I agree with TooManyJens. Even after Hemant’s interview I thought, ‘well, if she’s good at her job, maybe her prior positions won’t matter so much.’ But know I think the woman is either completely out of touch or an idiot, and either way it’s hard to see how she could do a good job for us.

    On the other hand, maybe she’s a GOP plant hoping to convince the secular community that the Republican party isn’t really run by misogynistic racist homophobes so that we’ll let our guard down in time for the Nov. election.

    It won’t work I say!

  21. 21
    Mattand

    Wow. I’m at the 14 minute mark. If Rogers flogged the Magical Balance Fairy any harder, she’d be arrested for aggravated assault.

    I’m sure there are atheists/liberals/Democrats who are anti-gay rights and anti-abortion. She might want to compare percentages, as in there’s way more people in the Republican Party that agitate for that.

    The woman is in complete denial about how batshit crazy the GOP has become over the last 20 years. This is not going to end well for the SCA.

  22. 22
    Thomas Lawson

    You’re a Republican, fine. So is Colin Powell. I love Colin Powell. Colin Powell would not (did not) vote for John McCain AND Colin Powell would not have given Rick Perry a thousand dollars!

    .

    On the other hand, in defense, just because the majority have hijacked her party doesn’t mean that she has to defend that party’s behavior, and it doesn’t mean she has to re-register as a Democrat or Independent. (I don’t think we’d be giving her the 5th-degree if she had given Jon Huntsman a grand instead, right?) And Democrats were not all that accepting of minorities a hundred years ago, so let’s not pretend that a label isn’t skin deep. Thousands of Democrats voted against gay marriage in California, because they wouldn’t be controlled by labels, either.

  23. 23
    KathyO

    BTW, thanks for doing this interview, Greta. You did a really good job. I feel that I now know exactly what’s wrong with Rogers.

  24. 24
    Illuminata, Genie in the Beer Bottle

    Huh. That was actually worse than I was expecting from her.

    is there a way to keep donating to Secular Student Alliance WITHOUT donating to SCA?

  25. 25
    Ashley F. Miller

    http://www.gallup.com/poll/147941/republicans-unified-democrats-abortion.aspx

    68% of republicans are pro-life; 27% pro-choice

    http://www.gallup.com/poll/147662/first-time-majority-americans-favor-legal-gay-marriage.aspx

    28% of republicans support gay marriage, a number that has not changed in the last few years, despite the massive shift for independents and democrats

    http://www.pewforum.org/Politics-and-Elections/more-see-too-much-religious-talk-by-politicians.aspx#conservatives http://abcnews.go.com/blogs/politics/2012/03/link-between-religion-and-politics-is-more-prevalent-in-gop-primaries/

    The majority (54%) of Republicans think that churches should have a say in politics and 61% of conservative republicans think that separation of church and state has already gone too far.

  26. 26
    godlesspanther

    I would like to ask a favor from those of you who are working on the transcript. Could you post what you have so far — somewhere, and let me know where it is through this blog-post?

    I have two computers — this one can access the internet but the sound does not work. My other computer has great sound but the internet connection does not work.

    I would be glad to provide my commentary and observations. I can assure you that I am not at a loss of things to say about this issue.

  27. 27
    John Horstman

    Way to not let her get away with refusing to actually answer your question, Greta. She’s just not getting or acknowledging the idea that a party actually means anything? That The Republican Party can’t hold values as a party? Her answer ultimately boiled down to, “I refuse to acknowledge what the Republican party has, as a party, been doing for the past three decades.” That’s disturbing.

    She sounds solid on schools and tax exemptions.

    Not recognizing the “Pro-Life” position as a religious position is a problem. Also, basing her affiliation on polling data from 1994 (nearly 20 years ago!) vs. now (well, 2009 is the latest polling data Pew has, in which 63% of Republicans think abortion should be illegal: http://www.pewforum.org/uploadedfiles/Topics/Issues/Abortion/abortion09.pdf) is either stupid or willfully disingenuous. 23% of Republicans favor marriage equality (http://features.pewforum.org/same-sex-marriage-attitudes/slide4.php). Not knowing how to search something on Google is a bad sign, or she’s lying, or she’s intentionally avoiding the knowledge.

    She’s in flat-out denial about what the Republican party has been doing for the past 20 to 30 years. Ignorant or lying? THE RESEARCH SHE KEEPS SAYING SHE/WE DON’T HAVE EXISTS: I’M FUCKING LOOKING AT IT BECAUSE I HAVE ACCESS TO FUCKING GOOGLE. Again, lying, or so ignorant that I have trouble believing that someone working in politics can possibly be that ignorant?

    Wait, so Rick Perry isn’t REALLY a Republican, but donating to him was important because he’s in charge of a Republican governors association? She just contradicted herself in two consecutive sentences; does she think this is FOX News? Seriously, I felt like I was listening to one of the FOX ‘experts’ (which, I suppose, I was) – she would not answer a question posed to her. If she has nothing to hide, why all of the evasion? Why not simply state that she’s a mercenary, if that’s the explanation? HOW IS IT POSSIBLE TO BE A LOBBYIST AND NOT KNOW THAT THE REPUBLICAN PARTY OPPOSES GAY RIGHTS AND WOMEN’S RIGHTS ON RELIGIOUS GROUNDS? If she can’t even lie well, how can she possibly be a good lobbyist? This is bad bad bad.

  28. 28
    Michaelyn

    @Illuminata -> Money donated to the SSA does not go to the SCA.

  29. 29
    Eliott

    I was wrong..l was wrong…I was wrong.
    It’s way fucking worse than I thought. Little did I realize I was understating my concern.
    Over the weekend I wrote on some blogs my opinion regarding my disappointment of this hire based on what I saw on the Internet and her interview with Hemant.
    I just listened to her interview with Greta and a few things stick out…
    1) she is absolutely full of shit
    2) this woman did not have any atheist/agnostic/humanist interest in blogs/books/cartoons /sanskrit
    3) I wish I had made a reaction video of my partner and I listening to this. Leaned in close to the iPad, seeking some kind of understanding about WHY we chise this this woman, listening to Greta feed out the rope, having moments of profound speechlessness at her responses…it was almost an SNL skit. At Greta’s 1st question: what blogs/ groups/books about the movement — we answered together the Palinesque “All of them”.
    This just sucks.
    Sorry.
    It just sucks.

  30. 30
  31. 31
    baal

    I gave up at 20 minutes in.

    Ms. Rogers didn’t prep for the interview, came off as defensive and was difficult for me to listen to. These points are all in contrast to my usual interactions with lobbyists (which is limited to 6-8 acquaintances).

    I took special note that she chided Greta Christina for stereotyping all republicans as anti-gay.

    When asked to address what she (Ms. Rogers) sees as the barriers to to moving forward with an atheist agenda, her answer was 1) education followed by a swift back-peddle of 2) but don’t expect any good to come of it soon. I was hoping for some understanding of how the religious (especially xtian) members are against atheists or how she can (has!) identified religious but in favor of separation of church and state republicans…something.

  32. 32
    Crip Dyke, Right Reverend Feminist FuckToy of Death & Her Handmaiden

    This is one bad choice for an SCA ED. I was sceptical b4 but now I’m just opposed. In the early questions (2nd?) instead of saying the primary issue is making decisions based on evidence and reason, she spoke vaguely for almost a minute b4 her memory kicked in and she started about ID. B4that she talked about anything but specific issues…and never in the interview did she say she wanted to make rational decision making a core concern.

    I have two words for the SCA board:

    I dissent.

  33. 33
    Jennifer

    Stupid, delusional, or evil? I’m guessing it’s a combination of the three. (The game is normally called “stupid, crazy, or evil,” but I’d rather not use the ableist labeling there.)

    I love how when Greta asked what secular issues she cared about, she sounded like she was listing off things that she had just learned about and had been coached on. Perhaps that’s just my perception, but her complete and utter lack of involvement in the secular community prior to this clangs a huge warning bell to me, and that would be true even if she wasn’t a vile Republican hack. She has absolutely no idea what she’s doing.

  34. 34
    mutt50

    The problem is not just hiring a republican hack. It’s that I no longer have any confidence in this organization.

  35. 35
    Zengaze

    Fuck me, where’s the lifeboats I’m off of this ship unless there’s a mutiny and we get someone to the helm who steers us clear of that iceberg.

  36. 36
    Jennifer

    @mutt50: Oh, yes, that goes without saying. Anyone who thought that this was a good idea should be immediately dismissed and replaced with someone who isn’t a closet fundie who is trying to sabotage the movement. Because that’s the only rational explanation I can think of for this.

  37. 37
    Zengaze

    Here’s my position. I don’t donate to the sca, I do donate to other organisations that promote secularism, throughout the world. I shall not donate to any organisation the feeds the sca, or aligns with it. I have to put my money where my mouth is, and from this point on I’ll be contacting the groups I do support to check their affiliations.

  38. 38
    jrel

    Hear me out. Perhaps she is telling a half truth. Perhaps a lot of republicans she knows really are pro-choice & pro-gay & pro-separation of church and state.

    However, in order to be elected, republicans will all too often (reluctantly I hope) pander to the religious right at the last minute just for votes.

    That would explain why she insists there are many republicans who support our causes, but at the same time squirms when pressed about the party stance as a whole.

    Think of our country if it had no religion. How would the Republicans convince the general public to vote against their own best interest and continue to feed the fortunate at the expense of the masses?

    But yet, she MUST know the reality of the situation. It’s like the weather. You just look outside.

    If someone denies that the kettle is black, we should be questioning their eyesight, not their honesty. Shame on her.

  39. 39
    Sally Davis

    OMG. They’ve hired Sarah Palin… I swear, they are twin sisters.

  40. 40
    Dalillama

    However, in order to be elected, republicans will all too often (reluctantly I hope) pander to the religious right at the last minute just for votes.

    And when they do that is when I stop caring what they claim to believe personally. There is no meaningful distinction between believing such things and acting as though one does from a governmental perspective.

  41. 41
    R. Johnston

    Huh. That was actually worse than I was expecting from her.

    It shouldn’t be. Worse than you were hoping for, sure, but you should have been expecting at least this bad. There was almost no possibility of better than this. For better to have happened she’d have had to renounce her past rather than attempt to justify it, and it was already clear that that wasn’t going to happen.

  42. 42
    'Tis Himself

    I am completely amazed that the SCA board even considered her, let alone hired her. She’s either lying or has been living under a rock for the past 12 years.

  43. 43
    Dean

    She spent the entire interview being a republican apologist. She doesn’t seem to understand which side she is supposed to be representing. I’m amazed at Greta’s patience during this painful interview.

  44. 44
    Simon

    The 2008 Republican party platform re: marriage equality:

    Because our children’s future is best preserved within the traditional understanding of marriage, we call for a constitutional amendment that fully protects marriage as a union of a man and a woman, so that judges cannot make other arrangements equivalent to it. In the absence of a national amendment, we support the right of the people of the various states to affirm traditional marriage through state initiatives.

    Republicans recognize the importance of having in the home a father and a mother who are married. The two-parent family still provides the best environment of stability, discipline, responsibility, and character. Children in homes without fathers are more likely to commit a crime, drop out of school, become violent, become teen parents, use illegal drugs, become mired in poverty, or have emotional or behavioral problems. We support the courageous efforts of single-parent families to provide a stable home for their children. Children are our nation’s most precious resource. We also salute and support the efforts of foster and adoptive families.

    Republicans have been at the forefront of protecting traditional marriage laws, both in the states and in Congress. A Republican Congress enacted the Defense of Marriage Act, affirming the right of states not to recognize same-sex “marriages” licensed in other states. Unbelievably, the Democratic Party has now pledged to repeal the Defense of Marriage Act, which would subject every state to the redefinition of marriage by a judge without ever allowing the people to vote on the matter. We also urge Congress to use its Article III, Section 2 power to prevent activist federal judges from imposing upon the rest of the nation the judicial activism in Massachusetts and California. We also encourage states to review their marriage and divorce laws in order to strengthen marriage.

    As the family is our basic unit of society, we oppose initiatives to erode parental rights.

    Source: http://www.gop.com/2008Platform/Values.htm#6

  45. 45
    Zengaze

    Greata, I like how you warmed the interview up. My main takeaway from the interview is her willfull ignorance of the current data regarding republican party voters positions on various issues.

    She is either blatantly being dishonest, or is not competent to lobby on these issues. Firstly her declared lack of knowledge demonstrates a disinterest in the actual issues, secondly if she intends to lobby elected reps on these issues surely she should be well versed as to where their electorate stand, otherwise how the hell can she formulate a strategy!

    On a note, who else picked up on the tone change when posed the perry question?

    Conclusion: did she give these answers at vetting by the sca?!……. Or was she handed the job, and told to go study up on the issues she’ll need to lobby for us.

  46. 46
    mikeeloshway

    I’m so glad right now that I never got around to joining SCA. I understand that in Washington, you need people who can handle the typical doublethink and newspeak, but as freethinkers, we need to hold ourselves to a higher standard. We make decisions based on facts. The facts are that the Republican party is pushing anti gay issues, school voucher programs, a pro-life agenda, and an overwhelmingly Christian platform. There may be Republicans who do not support these issues, but not one of them could ever hope to make it on the ballot. To have a leader who is in denial of all of these things is absolutely unacceptable. Horrible choice.

  47. 47
    David

    What was the SCA thinking? What kind of vetting did they do?

    Yeah, it would be great to have someone who knows how Washington works, and knows people on Capital Hill. It would also be nice to have someone who isn’t a) delusional, or b) a liar (I don’t know which one she is). It appears that she’s hedging her bets and preparing to go back to being a Republican lobbyist.

    I had to listen to the bit where she said she had seen data that showed that 70% of Republicans were pro-choice five times to make sure she wasn’t saying 17%. Sadly, she wasn’t saying 17%. Delusional, or liar?

    Maybe she’ll improve, but this interview only reinforced my reservations.

  48. 48
    Ibis3, Let's burn some bridges

    For better to have happened she’d have had to renounce her past rather than attempt to justify it, and it was already clear that that wasn’t going to happen.

    I’m no lobbyist, but I can think of a better tack for her to have taken without either having to spend the entire interview lying about or apologising* on behalf of the Republican party. She could have said that, [spin] like many of those with her background, as a young person she was attracted to the economic policies of the GOP, but acknowledges that they have historically been largely against many of the values held dear by the secularist movement: church/state separation, reason/science-based policy, women’s rights, gay rights. She spent years working on the economic side of GOP policy, but now she believes that her skills and talents can best serve her goals by lobbying her former colleagues directly on these issues that she feels so strongly about, thus helping to bring the party and the government as a whole more in line with the secular values the country was founded upon. [/spin]

    I understand that in Washington, you need people who can handle the typical doublethink and newspeak, but as freethinkers, we need to hold ourselves to a higher standard.

    I suspect, also, that as a conservative, she’s used to lying to her constituency. She’d better break herself of that habit right quick, if it’s not too late. (I suspect it is.)

    *In the theological sense, not the ‘I’m so sorry we’re such assholes’ sense.

  49. 49
    Zengaze

    No Ibis, didn’t you know that she WAS a democrat until regan came along and then all the dems realised that they were slackers, and that was the reason the country was in a mess. Thank fuck for regan. He taught her to pull herself up by her own bootstraps cause thats the republican way, the dems just look for handouts from bootstrappers and that’s why she’s now a conservative republican bootstrapper betcha didn’t know bout that bit of American history :wink:

    Right now the sca board should have the same look on their face as McCain did when he realised.

  50. 50
    Dalillama

    She could have said that, [spin] like many of those with her background, as a young person she was attracted to the economic policies of the GOP, but acknowledges that they have historically been largely against many of the values held dear by the secularist movement: church/state separation, reason/science-based policy, women’s rights, gay rights. She spent years working on the economic side of GOP policy…

    Unfortunately for that piece of spin, Republican economic policy is just as contraevidentiary as the rest of their platform. The Democrats sometimes advocate reality based economic policy, the Republicans never, or at least not since Eisenhower and then only sometimes.

  51. 51
    ckitching

    Am I the only one who is reminded on the Komen foundation controversy a few months ago? The only thing I can’t figure out is what, if anything, the SCA is funding that the Republican party and conservative Christians want shut down.

  52. 52
    Jeff Sherry

    So far Ms. Rogers is a dud. Has she ignored the republican party platforms for the presidency since R. Reagan?

  53. 53
    efrique

    I see some big problems for her very fast.

    If she thinks she can get away with fibs that are easily refuted-by-official-documents, she *really* doesn’t understand the people she’s representing *at all*.

    We’re not a mob of Fox-News watchers that will swallow any old spin. We *know* the Republican platform perfectly well and can show *exactly what it says*. Lying about it just makes her look incompetent or makes her a liar, and either way, she should apologize for that and publicly resolve to cut it the fuck out, or resign.

  54. 54
    GoneApostate

    Regardless of whether she is trying to spin this and thinks we won’t know better, or is just woefully uninformed – one thing is absolutely clear. She doesn’t care about this movement. She isn’t invested in it. I don’t care about her party affiliation as much as I do about the glaringly dismissive attitude about these concerns, our concerns.

  55. 55
    dangeroustalk

    I just finished listening to the interview and I thought Edwina Rogers did a great job toward the end of the interview. But for most of the interview she seemed too defensive. I don’t think she expected such a hostile interview. That’s fine, but I think the last few minutes she really laid claim to her purpose. I do wish there were more questions about what she is planning to do rather than just, “you’re an evil Republican, aren’t you?” Sure, there is a place for that question, but it shouldn’t have been the entire interview, in my opinion. Over all, I am glad Edwina Rogers in the new Executive Director for SCA. She has a great deal of experience and is more than qualified for the position. I think she will do a great job and I am looking forward to working with her more.

  56. 56
    you_monster

    I just finished listening to the interview and I thought Edwina Rogers did a great job toward the end of the interview

    I’m 33 minutes in, only 5 minutes left, Rogers is still adamantly denying that the republican party is predominantly pro-life and anti-gay. I am very disappointed with her responses.
    I’m glad that “the board” fancies her as a representative of atheists. I have no reason to.
    I look forward to Greta’s thoughts on this.

  57. 57
    gbjames

    The board should resign. This is an incredibly irresponsible hire. Shame.

  58. 58
    echidna

    I don’t think she expected such a hostile interview.

    Hostile interview? Really? Right from the start, she was unable to articulate any understanding of secularist concerns.

  59. 59
    llewelly

    Find me an astronaut who sincerely believes the world is flat* , and I will consider the possibility that Edwina Rogers is merely deluded.

    * (No, belief in flying saucers is not enough.)

  60. 60
    witless chum

    “Over all, I am glad Edwina Rogers in the new Executive Director for SCA. She has a great deal of experience and is more than qualified for the position. I think she will do a great job and I am looking forward to working with her more.”

    In Cthulu’s name why? Through this whole thing, the defense of hiring Edwina Rogers has been “It doesn’t mattter that she was a Republican.” and not a lot about why she, in particular, was a good hire. I very heavily doubt that she’s the only Republican political operative who’s a secularist in private.

    On paper, the idea of hiring someone to lobby with connections on the Republican side of the aisle seems good, but that doesn’t mean Rogers is up to the job.

  61. 61
    machintelligence

    If the SCA thinks they are hiring someone with an “in” to Republican legislators because she is a Republican, they will be in for a shock when she is drummed out of the party for her “leftist” views.

  62. 62
    Robert B.

    @ dangeroustalk:

    Ms. Rogers just spent thirty minutes trying and abjectly failing to lie to someone who has disagreements with her but is nevertheless a potential ally. Surely those who work in politics must either tell the truth or lie convincingly, and allies with important disagreements are going to be a huge proportion of people she speaks to on the job. So how qualified a lobbyist could she possibly be?

    (Or maybe she wasn’t lying, but instead she’s never read the platform of the Republican party, or polling data on its constituents. What was that experience she had, again?)

  63. 63
    Scott

    Was she the only applicant for the job?

    Listening to the interview, I kept thinking that Rogers simply doesn’t represent my interests and values. In fact I’m not really sure what her values are. Greta does represent my values, as do many other people in the freethought/atheist/secular community. Were there no other applicants with genuine interest and passion for secular values, rather than just a mercenary with a casual (and maybe temporary) interest in the movement?

    Not only that, but paying jobs to promote secularism are really, really rare. The “other side”, whether they are pastors in evangelical churches fighting evolution in schools, or right-wing hacks paid by “think tanks” to fight climate science on behalf of the Koch brothers, or yelling talk radio hosts – number probably in the hundreds of thousands, maybe even millions. “Our side” has precious little money by comparison, and very few full-time jobs available to promote our interests.

    Is anybody else pissed off that when the SCA finally has an opening for an important position, they give it to someone who has spent most of her career working for an organization that has done nothing but make life more difficult for us? Shouldn’t this position have gone to someone who is really involved with the movement, understands it, and will work hard on our behalf? Someone who has paid his or her dues and earned our respect? Someone who deserves it?

    What is the motivation here? Stockholm Syndrome to placate our “masters”, hoping that they toss us the occasional bone?

  64. 64
    John D

    SCA should be bi-partisan. This suits their mission. Get over it please. More change can be made inside the Republican party than inside the Democratic party.

  65. 65
    Phledge

    At this point I can only assume that we’re talking about the Society for Creative Anachronism, since a Secular Coalition for America would presumably vet their candidate a little more thoroughly. Right?

  66. 66
    Setár, Elvenkitty

    dangeroustalk #58:

    I don’t think she expected such a hostile interview.

    What is it with conservatives and crying “hostile” whenever they’re held to the facts?

    John D #67:

    More change can be made inside the Republican party than inside the Democratic party.

    HAHAHA

    HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA

    HAHAHAHA…wait, are you being serious?

  67. 67
    Robert B.

    @ Scott:

    I would settle for a competent mercenary. dangeroustalk @58 said that she didn’t seem to expect hostile questions on her Republican affiliation – if so, why the hell didn’t she? It’s not like they came out of nowhere. If she’d googled her own name any time in the past few weeks, she would have found nothing but hostile questions on her Republican affiliation. Also, this is demonstrably a person who doesn’t know how to lie to a skeptical audience (in either sense of “skeptical”), but thinks that she does. How are we to expect her to represent anything effectively in Washington?

  68. 68
    Ibis3, Let's burn some bridges

    Unfortunately for that piece of spin, Republican economic policy is just as contraevidentiary as the rest of their platform.

    Oh, I agree, but at least it’s a delusion shared by even some of the poster boys of the sceptical movement. A delusion about the anti-secularism of Republican social policy? That’s a little more difficult to buy.

    I don’t think she expected such a hostile interview.

    First, that was hardly hostile (well, perhaps when compared with the softball crap that passes for journalism nowadays…). Second, if she knew anything about the movement she’s purporting to represent, she ought to have been much more prepared to a) take some tough questions and b) answer as honestly as possible.

    She has a great deal of experience and is more than qualified for the position. I think she will do a great job and I am looking forward to working with her more.

    If she’s as clueless about the policy positions of the party she worked for as she presents herself to be, how exactly is she supposed to form a strategy to influence them to our favour?

  69. 69
    dangeroustalk

    @Robert B.
    Did you vote for Obama? When was the last time you read the Democratic Party platform? I voted for Obama and I have no idea what the Democratic Party platform says and I don’t really care much either. She is a very experienced lobbyist. Take a look at her resume. She also had this same position for another organization before. So she knows the job. I’ll grant you that she doesn’t know the details of the issues very well, but that is something she can learn pretty easily. She is a creative thinker, knows lots of the players in the game, is well liked in Washington generally, and is passionate about the things she does. Yeah, she gave money to Rick Perry and is a die hard Republican. I get that, but we have to get Republicans to work with us on some of our issues too. This would put pressure on the Democrats to stop taking out support for granted. So is she going to get the Republicans to agree with us on gay marriage? Probably not, but but she might be able to sway some of them on other issues and help to change the battlefield in our favor in the long run.

  70. 70
    Ibis3, Let's burn some bridges

    SCA should be bi-partisan.

    Why? Non-partisan, I’d agree. However, if one party is the one that consistently enacts or tries to enact legislation that is counter to secular values and scientific, expert knowledge, it only follows that SCA will find themselves opposed more often to that party. And someone who has built a career supporting and formulating anti-secular, anti-scientific policy has to prove she’s capable of being considered seriously as an advocate for the opposite.

  71. 71
    dangeroustalk

    @Setár, self-appointed Elf-lord of social justice
    I’m not a conservative. I am a strong progressive! Why do you feel the need to make up stuff about me instead of addressing the things that I said? Now, I could have used the same tactic on you and said, “what is it with right wing wackos who make up assumptions about people they disagree with instead of arguing the points?” but that just isn’t my style. ;-)

  72. 72
    Ibis3, Let's burn some bridges

    @dangeroustalk I’m more familiar with the Republican platform than she was pretending to be. Not only have I never worked a day in my life for the party, not only have I never voted for them, not only am I not a party member, I’m not even an American citizen.

  73. 73
    R. Johnston
    SCA should be bi-partisan.

    Why? Non-partisan, I’d agree.

    A thousand times this.

    Confusing bipartisan and nonpartisan is a very dangerous thing to do.

    It is literally impossible in the modern United States to be secular and bipartisan. Being secular and non-partisan, on the other hand, is an easy thing. Non-partisan doesn’t mean you don’t take sides or that you don’t agree with one side more often than the other; it means you don’t take sides based on party.

    On facially partisan matters with implications for secularism, a non-partisan secularist will sometimes side with the Democrats and never side with the Republicans. Fake balance isn’t non-partisan; it’s fake balance and it’s partisan on behalf of the party for which it is more apologetic.

  74. 74
    karmakin

    I’d go a step further and argue that being “bipartisan” for the its own sake is one of the biggest intellectual mistakes one can make. It’s completely and entirely irrational.

  75. 75
    Robert B.

    dangeroustalk, it’s not my job to read political party platforms. I don’t take money to be active in party politics, and I don’t give interviews where I offer opinions on political parties as though I know what I’m talking about. (And anyway, anyone who’s spent five minutes in the last twenty-five years watching American politics could correctly guess the Republican party position on abortion without having to actually read it.) This is knowledge the SCA is literally paying her to have.

    And actually, I don’t really think she doesn’t have it. I was being sarcastic. I don’t for a minute believe that Ms. Rogers has an inaccurate appreciation of where the parties or their leaders and prominent members stand. I think she was lying to us. Ineptly. And I can’t think of any quality more disastrous in politics than a habit of lying badly.

    I had no particular objections to Ms. Rogers until I learned about this interview. It might not have been my choice if I were the board, but I immediately saw the advantages of getting a slick Republican operator on our side, and I figured that there would be too much public attention for her to be able to do willful harm. But now it occurs to me that not everyone with long experience is actually good at their job. That was not an expert political performance, at all, at all.

  76. 76
    Thaumas Themelios

    @dangeroustalk I’m more familiar with the Republican platform than she was pretending to be. Not only have I never worked a day in my life for the party, not only have I never voted for them, not only am I not a party member, I’m not even an American citizen.

    lol! Same here, Ibis3. It really doesn’t take much to understand the depths of anti-human insanity to which the American Republican party has sunk. This is not looking well for the SCA. Either they made a foolish mistake, for which they should apologize and fix it immediately, or there are deeper problems than we know about at the SCA, and we can kiss it goodbye. Lobbying at the US gov’t does not require living in the fantasy-land of US political ideology. Understanding that ideology, sure. But living in it? Surely, either Ms. Rogers herself, or some people at the SCA need to wake themselves up to reality.

  77. 77
    F [i'm not here, i'm gone]

    She is obviously used to lobbying politicians, and doesn’t realize that not everyone is that stupid.

  78. 78
    dangeroustalk

    @Robert B
    She’s not being paid to do interviews with bloggers. She is getting paid to lobby politicians in favor of our issues. That she has experience with and that she is pretty good at. Was she lying? I don’t know. Obviously the bulk of Republicans appear to be anti-gay and anti-choice. But she works in Washington. She is rich and has rich Republicans friends. It is pretty likely that most of the Republicans she talks to don’t really care about social issues and only care about lowering taxes on the rich. So I can see where she is coming from. Maybe she can use that to our advantage. Maybe she can lobby those Romney-like Republicans to support some secular issues. Maybe not, but she has a resume why supports the thinking that she could change some minds here. I’m willing to give her a shot and more than that, I’m willing to help her to help us. Rather than attack her for not being a clone of all of us, I would rather she do well in her new position. I’m just say’n.

  79. 79
    TCSF

    Note that Greta took her time, and not only got the facts, but posted this interview for all of us to think about. Now _that’s_ what a good job looks like! On the other hand, regarding the answers that were given…color me unimpressed.

  80. 80
    NateHevens, resident SOOPER-GENIUS... apparently...

    Hey everyone. I haven’t seen it posted, yet, but I’m working on a transcript myself. I was going to email it to Greta first before posting it, but I’ll post when I’m done unless someone beats me to it.

  81. 81
    SallyStrange

    I’m not a conservative. I am a strong progressive!

    Oh stop lying.

    Also, just because you’re too intellectually lazy to inform yourself about the political platform of the people you vote for, please don’t assume the rest of us are.

    For those who don’t know, Dangeroustalk’s modus operandi is to show up on FTB threads to gripe about “purity” in the atheist movement. This is the kind of “impurity” he apparently advocates for: working with people who lie as badly as he does.

  82. 82
    omniz

    I was trying to reserve judgement until we saw her in action, but… Does anyone else get the impression that she only found out about atheist/skeptic issues last week?

    Greta, can’t wait to hear your thoughts.

  83. 83
    David

    Edwina Rogers’ job is to convince government officials to vote in a way that we secularists would appreciate. Her job is not to publicly flog Republicans for our amusement. All this stuff she’s spouting now — it’s not for you, it’s for the politicians. By talking about the “better angles [intentional spelling] of their nature” Rogers is going to be so much more effective than if she just hopped on the Internet and started trashing Republicans like 99% of the atheist commentariat.

    Your job is to be the “bad cop,” to hold the politicians’ feet to the fire. Rogers’ job is to be the “good cop.”

  84. 84
    Jurjen S.

    Sorry, but for all the rationalizations offered for Rogers’ answers, I just can’t get round the fact that she’s trying to deny the undeniable, namely that the Republican party does have a long history of, in practice, opposing women’s rights, LGBT rights, and secularism in government. Even taking it as granted that it’s not stated in those terms anywhere in the party platform (which, as other commenters have already demonstrated, it pretty much is), it’s alluded to with phrases like “family values.” And it’s simply disingenuous of Rogers to even begin to pretend otherwise (to put it charitably; “mendacious” would be a justifiable description as well).

  85. 85
    Illuminata, Genie in the Beer Bottle

    Does anyone else get the impression that she only found out about atheist/skeptic issues last week?

    Actually, I was thinking “damn, she must really have needed a job and took the first one that hired her.”

    The amount of bullshit packed into her responses makes it clear she’s good at talking to dittoheads who can’t use google, but if she thinks that’s going to fly with this group . . .

    Anyone else get the feeling that some comments are coming straight from the SCA damage control team?

  86. 86
    andrea

    It seems that telling falsehoods is endemic for those who have worked for the GOP.

    There is no way I can support those who would hire someone so dishonest and who assumes no one will check her claims. Ms. Rogers seems to have no awareness of reality, political or otherwise at all. Other posters here have ably underlined her claims and how they are false, so I don’t need to go into that.

    It is extremely disturbing that anyone would have considered this woman an able representative of secular values. I work in the non-profit sector; I’ve worked with lobbyists. There is no benefit, no matter how “big” the name, in hiring someone who doesn’t personally support what they are representing.

  87. 87
    DanDare

    How can she be the “good cop” if she has no idea what a good outcome is?

  88. 88
    Richard Drumm The Astronomy Bum

    She’s either a liar, an idiot or a Polyanna. SCA has abandoned us.
    We need to look elsewhere for representation. Which s a shame.

  89. 89
    Thomathy, Gay Where it Counts

    Thank you, Greta. I believe that Edwina Rogers must think we’re all stupid. I’m, frankly, insulted.

  90. 90
    Deen

    The only somewhat charitable interpretation I can think of, is that she’s honestly describing her experience that the party leadership she worked with really didn’t care about the anti-gay, anti-women, and anti-science agenda all that much – at least in private. Which wouldn’t surprise me in the least. To a leader, religion doesn’t have to be true, after all, just useful.

    However, this interpretation doesn’t exactly make me trust her either…

  91. 91
    dangeroustalk

    @SallyStrange: bottom-feeding, work-shy peasant
    Look you is lying now. Why don’t you argue the points instead of making stuff up and trying to do character assassinations. BTW, when was the last time you sat down and read the Democratic Party platform? Why would that even matter since no candidate holds the platform line 100%? For the record, I am a strong progressive and have taken much criticism for be such.

    As for the purity issue. I stand by my comments that I don’t think every atheist in our community should be lock step agreement with each other. I think it is great that we have atheists who can have reasonable discussion and debate about so many issues and I take issue with those expect all atheists to be just like them. While I am pretty up front and vocal about my criticism of religion and the actions of religious believers, I don’t expect every atheist to be that way. This issue of “purity” seems to have run rampant in the blogosphere as of late and I find it very discouraging. The Idea that Edwina Rogers doesn’t agree with most of us on issues like taxation and foreign policy shouldn’t disqualify her from lobbying on our behave on issues of separation of church and state. The idea that Bill Maher doesn’t agree with most of us on medicine shouldn’t prevent him from speaking out against religion at one of our events. This isn’t to say that we shouldn’t argue with them on those issues, but what I am saying is that we shouldn’t kick them out of our community because they don’t agree with us on some things.

  92. 92
    chriskg

    @dangeroustalk

    You said, “Why don’t you argue the points instead of making stuff up and trying to do character assassinations. BTW, when was the last time you sat down and read the Democratic Party platform?”

    The simple answer is obvious. We don’t have to. She, on the other hand, was working as a Rebuplican lobbyist which makes it her job to know that sort of thing.

    You also said, “Why would that even matter since no candidate holds the platform line 100%?”

    Again, you missed the point. She was arguing in general, and anecdotal, terms. In fact, if you stuck to her argument that few Repubicans hold to the platform, then she would be wrong. But it’s much worse. She wasn’t arguing that “no condidate holds the platform 100%”, she was arguing that the platform was wrong without knowing what the platform was in the first place.

  93. 93
    Illuminata, Genie in the Beer Bottle

    chriskg – you’ll eventually notice that “dangerous”talk isn’t interested in anything but tut-tutting progressive atheists for not being accomodationists.

    Nevermind how many times it’s repeated that her being a republican, or not being in “lock step” agreement with all atheists everywhere isn’t the issue.

    Nevermind how many times its pointed out that it was her absurd answers to some of Greta’s questions that is causing the doubts about her.

    Nevermind how many people say that they would have preferred she be upfront and frank about her time lobbying for republicans, instead of the transparent whitewashing she attempted instead.

    Nope, the REAL PROBLEM are progressive atheists who have spine enough to question something, instead of just immediately rolling over begging for a belly rub in the name of accomodationism.

    This phantom “purity police” crap DT always drops is just a veneer for trolling.

  94. 94
    Improbable Joe, bearer of the Official SpokesGuitar

    dangeroustalk decided to go with the risky “I’m the most ignorant person in the room, therefore I’m the most qualified to judge” gambit… points for bravery, if not for good sense.

    Part of the problem is that DT has shown disdain for holding strong opinions based on principles and values as well as facts. So for him, it is BETTER to be really ignorant about things you should actually know for your job. Knowledge leads to forming opinions, and too much knowledge leads to strong opinions. Strong opinions keep you from compromising your principles and values, and the one thing DT hates is people who won’t compromise their principles.

  95. 95
    dangeroustalk

    @chriskg I agree with you on that. I think she did a poor job with this interview until the last few minutes.
    @Illuminata Again I have to laugh at being called an “accomodationist.” That is almost as absurd as calling me a conservative.

    It isn’t that she shouldn’t be questioned. Of course she should be… but on the issues pertaining to her job. Some of the questions did that and some didn’t.

    The reality is that she was hired and the board of the SCA had their reasons for hiring her. She is certainly qualified. So now the question is, do you want her to succeed or do you want her to fail? I want her to succeed and I want to help her to do so. So instead of trying to get her fired because she disagrees with you on unrelated issues, why not spend that energy trying to get her up to speed on the secular issues you think are important and possible plans of attack she may not be familiar with.

  96. 96
    dangeroustalk

    @Improbable Joe – more name calling and character assassination. I especially love how way off base you guys are with your name calling too. I’m just surprised no one has called me a Nazi yet.

  97. 97
    Improbable Joe, bearer of the Official SpokesGuitar

    DT, what issues do you think we’re talking about? Seriously, because I think you’re full of sour owl poop.

  98. 98
    Improbable Joe, bearer of the Official SpokesGuitar

    Oh wow, and then DT pulls out the “ooh, you called me names, I’m going to tell my mommy!” card.

    We see you’re a really big fan of career right-wing operatives if they seem polite, and you really hate progressives who use mean words. I can see your personal (lack of) principles shining through in every single post.

  99. 99
    Improbable Joe, bearer of the Official SpokesGuitar

    Or, you know DT… you could address the fact that you actually did announce your own personal ignorance as an excuse for Rogers’ ignorance, while feeling like you’re the best judge of her qualifications. So maybe that felt like name-calling to you because it makes you look like you’re proud of not knowing what you’re talking about… but that’s your problem and not mine.

  100. 100
    Illuminata, Genie in the Beer Bottle

    Again I have to laugh at being called an “accomodationist.” That is almost as absurd as calling me a conservative.

    Again I have to laugh at your apparent belief that you’re fooling anyone.

    For example, it’s hard not to notice that this is the only part of my post you’re responding to. You’re very careful never to address what people are actually saying, and instead go right for the tone-trolling. You’re obvious.

  101. 101
    dangeroustalk

    @Improbable Joe – Lol, I love how you just label accusations against people you disagree with without any knowledge about them at all. I’m going to skip all that and talk about the issues. After 100 comments, not one person mentioned her lobbying credentials. As a point of fact, I’m not on the board of the SCA so I have no idea who the candidates were. It wasn’t my decision and I had I been there, I might not have agreed. I don’t know. But the decision has been made and I happen to support that decision. I want Rogers to do well in her new position and I want the SCA to be a successful organization.

    As a lobbyist, she is very qualified. I really don’t think that is in dispute, but maybe I’m wrong there. The issue is about her familiarity with our issues. There is no doubt that she is lacking in that department and a case could be made that this is an important qualification. However, it is my opinion (and probably the board of the SCA as well) that she can learn that stuff pretty quickly and that teaching someone already in our community how to be an expert lobbyist would be much harder.

    I think she is a good candidate because she can probably reach out to Republican more than others, she knows the players, and knows the game. She has shown in the past that she can be a creative thinker. She agrees with us on the issues she was hired to fight for.

    There are things we need to work on with her. Obviously, she needs to be better in interviews. Even when Fox News interviewed her on some Republican issue, she came off poorly. So that is definitely a weak point for her. She also needs to learn more about our issues. So let’s get her up to speed so she can be better at her job… or we can continue to play the “If I was a board member I would have done X…” game. I just don’t see that as productive.

  102. 102
    Improbable Joe, bearer of the Official SpokesGuitar

    Why would anyone call DT a conservative? Conservatives have a set a principles that they at least theoretically stand for, so that leaves DT right out. It isn’t like we’re saying that DT would vote for Romney over Obama, for instance… more like DT would accept Romney as a perfectly suitable candidate for the Democrats in 2016, because he could totally change and the past doesn’t matter and no one’s previous affiliations or statements matter. All that matters is thinking outside of the box and reaching across the aisle and not using dirty words and not holding to any actual principles other than compromise at every step.

  103. 103
    Improbable Joe, bearer of the Official SpokesGuitar

    BTW, she wasn’t hired as a lobbyist, she was hired as Executive Director. There’s actually a difference.

    If the position was in the accounting department, we wouldn’t be having this conversation. If the position was as part of a team of lobbyists, this might actually be a smart move but worth debate. But Executive Director of a secular organization is more than “lobbyist” and lobbying credentials aren’t enough. Of course, if your true goal in life is to sell out your causes so that you can look fake reasonable and fake “fair and balanced” than DT and Rogers are a perfect match.

  104. 104
    Improbable Joe, bearer of the Official SpokesGuitar

    We need an edit button…

    I just wanted to add that if Rogers had been a lobbyist for the NRA, or Monsanto, or the insurance industry, we probably also wouldn’t be having this discussion even though most secularists are progressive and most progressives can’t stand those industries. We could buy that those issues aren’t related to secularism, and that she has phone numbers that progressives don’t, without the stink of having worked for the people opposing secular values for decades.

  105. 105
    dangeroustalk

    Obviously we can’t have an intelligent conversation here. All you seem to want to do is make up ridiculous straw man positions that you imagine I hold and call me names. My record speaks for itself, so I’m not going to argue any further on that.

    Yes, she was hired as an Executive Director… of a lobbying organizations! Lobbying experience is somewhat important on that front. But again, i didn’t make the decision and I don’t know who the other candidates were. I laid out my case for why I thought she will a good candidate for the job, but my opinion here (like yours) is really meaningless. The decision has been made and we can either hope she fails or hope she succeeds. I would rather do the latter. I would rather help her to succeed and get to work fighting for secular values.

  106. 106
    Improbable Joe, bearer of the Official SpokesGuitar

    Well, you can’t have an intelligent conversation, we’ve seen that. Your record DOES speak for you, unfortunately. That’s the funny part! You think your record makes you look good? You’re a tone-trolling accommodationist.

  107. 107
    dangeroustalk

    “You’re a tone-trolling accommodationist.”
    I rest my case. *facepalm*

  108. 108
    Improbable Joe, bearer of the Official SpokesGuitar

    You didn’t quite stick the flounce. BTW, complaining about being called a “tone-trolling accommodationalist” as though you just won the argument… is tone-trolling. You just confirmed that half of the accusation!

    Wow.

  109. 109
    Illuminata, Genie in the Beer Bottle

    Obviously we can’t have an intelligent conversation here

    Translation: You called my bluff and i’ve got nothing to respond with, therefore – you’re MEANIES!!

  110. 110
    Improbable Joe, bearer of the Official SpokesGuitar

    @Illuminata, Genie in the Beer Bottle:

    DT reads all of our posts, finds something he can call name-calling, complains about that, and thinks no one noticed that he hasn’t addressed any of the real points. I’m sure he’s happy to have all the attention, negative or otherwise. He obviously can’t answer the fact that Executive Director isn’t the same as “hired gun lobbyist” and the obvious problem that the ED of an organization has to be able to talk to and influence the members of said organization, as well as other similar organizations. The ED of SCA has to be able to unify and motivate the members of the secular community, or else she doesn’t have the power behind her to influence the people who she is lobbying.

  111. 111
    Illuminata, Genie in the Beer Bottle

    I’m more confused about why DT claims not to be an accomodationist, when his(?) entire issue seems to be that all atheists didn’t immediately and unquestioningly accept Rogers in her new position. And, despite how many times it was explained what the actual concerns were, he never addressed them. How, exactly, is avoiding the point someone is making facilitating “intelligent conversation”?

    I’m confused what we were supposed to derive from this “argument” – are skeptics not supposed to question, but obey? Are atheists not supposed to pay attention to what a person says re: politics that is immediately refutable? Is unquestioning obedience a necessary component of “intelligent conversation”?

    I’m not even sure the few accomodationists whinging on about it understand what they are trying to say.

  112. 112
    Improbable Joe, bearer of the Official SpokesGuitar

    Yeah, I’m not sure what an accomodationist is thinking either… but what I do know is that their expectation of unthinking acceptance only goes one way. We should NEVER question people who might not actually share our views or even seem to actively oppose our views. On the other hand, it is good when they go after people who they claim to share values with over tone or being too confrontational.

    Like I said earlier, the complaint seems to be against holding strong opinions and having principles that you aren’t willing to sell out. They don’t seem to care about which side of an issue you’re on, or what the practical outcomes are, all they care about is being willing to roll over and accommodate for its own sake.

  113. 113
    Michael

    What passes for rational argument on Freethought Blogs’ comment section makes me weep for the future of the “freethought” community. This ideological group think does no favors for our cause and is frankly an embarrassment to the rationalist communities.

  114. 114
    llewelly

    dangeroustalk says:
    May 8, 2012 at 12:00 am :

    I voted for Obama and I have no idea what the Democratic Party platform says and I don’t really care much either. She is a very experienced lobbyist. Take a look at her resume.

    uh. Wow. Not even a paragraph break between a bald admission that you voted for Obama without reading the Democratic Party platform and an exhortation to “Take a look at her resume.” .

  115. 115
    TCSF

    @David #86. Since Republicans have been pushing the God virus, and all that goes with it, the atheist commentariat can’t do its job without trashing Republicans. If the Republicans don’t want unbelievers trashing them, then maybe the Republican party ought to quit trashing us and everything we stand for. If you’re a secular Republican, you ought to have some grudging appreciation for the progressives and liberals who’ve been carrying water for you on this issue while you’re own party has been making things worse consistently.

  116. 116
    David

    @TCSF #119 — I’m not a Republican.

  117. 117
    Thaumas Themelios

    I’m just going to pop in briefly to say that dangeroustalk is right to brush off the character attacks. Those who think he’s accommodationist or right-wing are so off-base it’s embarrassing to watch. I’ve known dangeroustalk for years.

    On the other hand. I don’t get WTF he’s talking about with respect to Edwina Rogers. Who cares if she’s an experienced lobbyist? Like there’s a shortage of experienced lobbyists or something? WTF?! Gimme a break! Dime a dozen is an understatement.

    If she doesn’t understand that the Republican party (namely its affair with religion) is a huge part of the problem with US politics, she forfeits all qualifications as a secular lobbyist. End of story. She is marginally more qualified than Sarah Palin. At least she can string together a coherent sentence, but that’s about it, as far as I’m concerned.

    As I said earlier: Lobbying in the US gov’t does not require living in the fantasy land of US political ideology. Sorry. It just doesn’t. Rogers is floating in la-la-land. We need someone with more awareness of reality.

  118. 118
    =8)-DX

    GC:
    [..]
    Um, I guess the question I keep coming back to is, why should we a follow leader who has not been, until this week, apparently prioritizing our values?

    ER:
    [..]
    You know, as I mentioned, I just haven’t worked in education arena or the military arena in the past, but certainly on tax policy. So, I mean, it’s not that I don’t care about these issues. I mean, yes it is true, it has not been a full time position of mine, but the Board was certainly convinced that I have, in my path, everywhere possible—Like, for example, I wrote articles about the HPV vaccine, and how a number of conservatives were particularly wrong on that issue. And the Board looked at those articles.
    [..]

    [Emphasis mine]

    I get this odd feeling that Rogers considers holding positions and having values.. a *job description*. The odd, odd world of politics and official spokespersonship.

  119. 119
    Raging Bee

    …I immediately saw the advantages of getting a slick Republican operator on our side…

    Yeah, but this one ain’t slick.

    I think she is a good candidate because she can probably reach out to Republican more than others…

    Which ones — the ones whose existence and power she flatly denies, or the ones who have the least power within the party?

    …she knows the players, and knows the game.

    Her inability to speak convincingly to us on any subject indicates otherwise. Seriously, she can’t even lobby effectively for HERSELF, so what makes you think she can lobby effectively for a larger cause?

    She has shown in the past that she can be a creative thinker.

    Specifics, please? Her answers so far don’t sound at all “creative.”

    She agrees with us on the issues she was hired to fight for.

    Really? Then why does she seem so naive, vague and ignorant about those issues?

  120. 120
    Andrew Santarini

    This has been said so many times, but my reasoning for not supporting Rogers isn’t because she is a republican (I’ve met some pretty damn smart republicans that i respect) it is more of her BLATANT lying (if not lying then ignorance)on how she says there is no official party platform that is explicitly against pro choice rights, and anti marriage equality. I mean lets just forget the fact that there has been countless scientific data (which she lies saying there is none) gathering by gallup, news sources, and universities all you have to do is look at the last republican race (in where mitt romney has won. You had Rick Perry, Santorum, Romney, and Gingrich who were all major opponents of “the secularization of america” claimed there was a “war on religion” and all stated gay marriage,letting homosexuals in the military, and pro choice were wrongwrong.
    I entered into this audio thinking she may not be right for the SCA because of her financial/lobbying support for people like Rick Perry and came out with the feeling that she isnt right for SCA leadership because she supported republicans like Rick Perry AND she is a liar/intellectually dishonest.

  121. 121
    Andrew Santarini

    I think the SCA just elected her as a “token republican” to look bipartisan, which is good, but for christ’s sake find an intelligent HONEST republican supporter atleast!

  1. 122
    Edwina Rogers and the Secular Coalition of America | The X Blog

    [...] The second conversation I wanted to alert you to is the one Greta Christina just posted on her blog. That is here. [...]

  2. 123
    Good questions, ____________ answers | Pharyngula

    [...] You fill in the blank. Greta Christina interviews Edwina Rogers. [...]

  3. 124
    So far so not good | Butterflies and Wheels

    [...] reading the comments on Greta’s interview with Edwina Rogers. They don’t bode [...]

  4. 125
    AMA with Edwina Rogers | The Atheist Experience

    [...] Greta Christina’s interview [...]

  5. 126
    Secular Alliance of IU » Blog Archive » Russell’s Tea Party Discussion

    [...] May 15, but will move outside if the weather is nice.  Resources: Secular Coalition Announcement Interview with Greta Christina  Interview with Hemant [...]

  6. 127
    On Edwina Rogers, the new Republican head of Secular Coalition for America | The Uncredible Hallq

    [...] director Edwina Rogers. I initially wasn’t sure I was going to blog about this, because the interview she gave with Greta Christina (transcript here) was so incoherent that I wasn’t sure what to say about it, except what I [...]

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