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May 03 2012

Who is going to be our spokesperson on Capitol Hill?

The Secular Coalition for America, a lobbying group for secular causes that I generally support, has appointed a new Executive Director: Edwina Rogers, a Republican strategist and lobbyist.

Let that sink in for a moment.

I reeled a bit when I heard that, but you know, I mostly trust those people at the SCA, and I thought, well, maybe it’s a smart move…to appoint someone who could actually get a toe in the door of the offices of our most intransigent foes. Maybe it’s a good idea to bring in someone from the other side who’d be willing to work with us on advancing the cause in a government dominated by conservatism. I also thought that I should treat this as a practical, political decision, one that I find intellectually uncomfortable, but would get results going in the right direction.

And I talked on the phone with someone at the SCA who sorta gently nudged me in the direction of giving Rogers a chance. I was drifting on currents that felt obliging if I would just go along.

And then I read Hemant Mehta’s interview with Edwina Rogers, and rebellion suddenly seemed a heck of a lot more attractive.

I’m sorry, Hemant, you’re a good guy, but apparently you’re taking interviewing lessons from the Jon Stewart School of Broadcasting. Right from the first answer, I wanted to scream, “STOP RIGHT THERE! That is not an acceptable or even believable response!” He asked why we should trust someone who’s been working for the party opposed to secularism (a good question), and here’s the answer that set off great clanging alarm bells.

I think it’s a misconception that the majority of Republicans are lined up against the secular movement. As someone who has been an insider within the Republican Party, I’m certain it’s not the consensus of the majority of Republicans to have an [overt] influence of religion on our laws. Having said that, no one agrees with everyone they work with on every single issue. In these roles I never worked on anything having to do with issues of religion — I worked primarily on economic issues.

Wait, wait, wait. I think the number one value for atheists is truth and honesty — are we seriously supposed to believe that answer? Are we supposed to trust the competence of someone so deluded they can say with a straight face that a majority of Republicans want religion out of government?

She’s also said something similar to the right-wing press:

“The majority of Republicans just haven’t thought about” secularism, said Rogers. “They were probably a little like me, a little laissez-faire, that they didn’t see it as a problem because the country is pretty secular.… There are still areas that need improvement, of course.”

Holy shit…we now have a lobbyist for secularism who thinks the country is already pretty secular, and just has a few areas that need improvement. Does she think this job is some kind of sinecure? She hasn’t thought much about it, and she thinks all her Republican buddies are similarly casual about religion?

This is where I’m really getting worried. She doesn’t see a problem.

She worked in the god-soaked Bush administration, for a president who thought his office was a divine gift.

I feel like God wants me to run for President. I can’t explain it, but I sense my country is going to need me. Something is going to happen… I know it won’t be easy on me or my family, but God wants me to do it.

She worked for Trent Lott, the racist opponent of gay marriage.

I want to say this about my state. When Strom Thurmond ran for president, we voted for him. We’re proud of it. And if the rest of the country had followed our lead, we wouldn’t have had all these problems over all these years either.

gay liberation “makes a mockery of other legitimate civil rights that people have worked at for years.”

Lott was also an opponent of secularism.

I have consistently advocated strong legislative action in support of the rights of students who wish to participate in voluntary prayer in their schools.

That sounds mild…except that there has never been any effort to squelch the right of students to voluntarily pray on their own.

She made political contributions to Rick Perry… you know, the presidential candidate wanna-be who launched his campaign with a prayer meeting.

It[America]’s in jeopardy because of taxes; it’s in jeopardy because of regulation; it’s in jeopardy because of a legal system that’s run amok. And I think it’s time for us to just hand it over to God and say, “God, You’re going to have to fix this.”

I think it’s time for us to use our wisdom and our influence and really put it in God’s hands. That’s what I’m going to do, and I hope you’ll join me.

Why would someone who claims to be a “strong secularist and a firm believer in the separation of religion and government” give one penny to that clown? You’d think that if she were sincere in that long term interest, she would have been working to promote the more moderate conservatives…but no, she’s standing right there with the worst of the Rethuglicans.

That’s a lot to answer for. How do you throw a thousand dollars at the guy who makes this video:

…and then tell us you believe that most Republicans are secularists at heart who don’t even think much about religion?

Also, it doesn’t salvage her reputation to announce that she didn’t work on religious issues under Bush — just economics and health issues. Economics. And health. Under George W. Bush. Yeah, that fills me with confidence.

SCA, your executive director has a serious credibility problem. If she can’t even be forthright and honest in a friendly interview with a sympathetic interviewer, what is she going to do in the shark tank of the atheist movement?

See also Daniel and Stephanie and Greg and Jen. No one is enthusiastic. Everyone is wary. The only thing keeping us from blowing up and flinging fireballs right now is that we like and respect the SCA. Do they realize that their reputation is on the line, and is the only thing keeping us from angry rebellion? They better not blow this.

104 comments

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  1. 1
    cry4turtles

    Is this written in stone or are they open to feedback (before it becomes ridicule)?

  2. 2
    Glen Davidson

    Sounds like the perfect, principle-free lobbyist.

    Glen Davidson

  3. 3
    PZ Myers

    It’s done. They kept it all under wraps until the last minute — I think they knew that this was going to be trouble.

  4. 4
    joed

    Might as well give up on the SGA. Seems it has gone the way of the Susan G. Komen for the Cure
    organization. Cooption is what the crazies do best.

  5. 5
    feralboy12

    I think it’s a misconception that the majority of Republicans are lined up against the secular movement.

    Oh, really?
    Here are some choice quotes from the top three Republican presidential candidates, who between them have won roughly 93% of the delegates to the convention this summer:

    Mitt Romney:

    “I think there is in this country a war on religion. I think there is a desire to establish a religion in America known as secularism.”

    Rick Santorum:

    “You have civil laws and have civil penalties – we exact justice in a civil fashion – and then we have higher laws, we have God’s law. Now our civil laws are supposed to comport with God’s laws but sometimes they don’t, and so it is always the obligation of those, for example, the issue of abortion – the civil law does not comport with God’s law, in my opinion and I think the opinion of many people in this country and it is our obligation to continue to try and change that law.”

    Newt Gingrich:

    “If I am president, these children are not going to grow up in a secular country dominated by elites who despise our history, dislike our culture, and dislike our religion. These children are going to grow up in a country which is genuinely free and which worships God, which is the source of our rights!”

    Somebody hasn’t been paying attention.

  6. 6
    ibyea

    seriously. Hiring a Republican. SERIOUSLY?!! WHAT THE FUCK?!! When are liberals going to grow a SPINE, and stop licking Republican boots?! Do they even realize what the Republicans stand for?! THEY ARE THE ONES KOWTOWING TO RELIGIOUS FUNDIES!!!! I am sick of this. It is disgusting. I don’t know why they don’t just throw their hands and just let the Republicans take over because obviously, they either don’t care or are not taking this issue with the seriousness it deserves.

  7. 7
    DLC

    Sounds to me like they wanted a hired gun and weren’t real picky about where said hireling came from or what they did beforehand.
    You’d think a record of being a strong advocate for secularism would be considered not just “a plus” but “a must” for a secular organization. So… did somebody get their ear bent here ?
    Pockets lined? promises made ? consider me suspicious.

  8. 8
    Travis

    I do not see any reason for picking this person except that she might have some ins on Capitol Hill and better access. But her secular chops are completely lacking, does she have some hidden background in fighting for secularism that was not presented here?

    Or will she support any cause someone pays her support?

    Not impressive.

  9. 9
    DLC

    PS : I’m seeing a lot of the beltway mentality here. Where you hire someone because of what you think they can pull off, because of who that person knows. Still, it’s a poor choice. Rather like hiring a thief to be your cashier, or a confirmed drunk to be your bartender.

  10. 10
    Crissa

    Republicans are pretty good about being ignorant about what a majority (or even all) their elected officials have as a position on some issue.

    Maybe it isn’t an important issue for most Republicans, so a majority sway one way, but don’t care when a minority sway it back.

    But party does matter when they vote together on bills that become law, or act in office to implement policy.

  11. 11
    Aratina Cage

    She is a hoot on YouTube, too. Here is one where she Godwins almost immediately by comparing people advocating withdrawal from Iraq under W‘s command to Nazi appeasers (her part starts around 1:10). And here is a really bad audio-quality compilation of different appearances of hers over the years. How can anyone come away after watching some of her interviews and not feel totally embarrassed to have her representing them? And then there is this look into her fabulously rich lifestyle:

    one oasis does remain in the midst of all McLean’s wealth and power. It is a green patch of land virtually across the street from Ethel Kennedy’s Hickory Hill estate. On a recent afternoon, Edwina Rogers pulled her silver Jaguar alongside it. The untended grass had grown long, and tree boughs drooped lazily overhead, scattering golden sunlight, and, for a moment, one could almost imagine the horses that might have peacefully wandered here decades ago. This pristine property is owned by Vice President Dick Cheney.

    Illuminata over at Laden’s said the announcement of her appointment sounded like something out of The Onion, and I tend to agree. This is not a person who should be representing atheists in any capacity.

  12. 12
    SC (Salty Current), OM

    In these roles I never worked on anything having to do with issues of religion — I worked primarily on economic issues.

    The other rightwing delusion. Great.

    I do think that for the vast majority of conservatives and Republicans, they are true believers of secularism — the majority of Republicans believe in the separation of church and state. Many of them are simply laissez faire about the issues, which gives us an opening to recruit them to the movement.

    Yeah, that’s what the movement needs. More conservatives.

    Who’s responsible for this decision?

  13. 13
    Jen

    Ugh, she donated to Rick Perry? RICK PERRY?

    Ugh. Hrm. Argrgh. Pfft.

    I’m giving her a chance, but I am VERY wary…

  14. 14
    spamamander, internet amphibian

    I picked a bad time to run out of vicodin.

  15. 15
    markmckee

    Remember, most of the power players in the Republican party exist to meet the needs of the rich and powerful. But there are not enough rich and powerful to win elections so they have to pander to a wacko element in the American electorate. I would suggest then that most of those powerful Republicans are indeed secularist and atheist, just as Ayn Rand was. But there are evil atheists just as there are evil christianists and I’m not sure it’s a good thing for the secularist movement to have such atheists working for the cause of moving secularism and atheism into a more rightful place in society.

    The Republican party owned our government pretty much completely in 2003 or so and could have passed an anti gay marriage amendment, mandated that everyone own a gun, or mandated prayer in school or any of numerous other wacko items. They didn’t do it when they had the power to do it because those that really make the rules in that party don’t want those issues to pass. They need those issues during election years to get out the vote. Sounds like Edwina Rogers is one of those in the upper echelons of the Republican party. A secularist at heart who is willing to use god, guns, gays and abortion to manipulate the masses so the rich get what they want.

    What we are currently seeing in the current meltdown of the Republican party is that the wacko element that the power players in the Republican party created now threaten to take over their party more then they already have. They manipulated the electorate to get their agenda passed and you can be quite sure the REAL power players in that party are more than a little scared.

    I’m with PZ on this as. We should be using truth and honesty to win our agenda. Not by using the policies of manipulation.

  16. 16
    Jacob Schmidt

    I liked this quote:

    We need to strive to have an absolute division between religion and government, but keep in mind that we need to be respectful and open to people of all faiths and none. No one — religious or non-religious — should be excluded from the conversation. But ultimately, the laws shouldn’t be based on a religious perspective.

    Oh, sorry, I meant I thought that bit was stupid.
    A) I do not need to be respectful to fairy tales.
    B) She seems to think that we have advocated the idea that religious people should be kept from political conversations, which tells me she doesn’t understand the position of the very people she’s trying to represent.

  17. 17
    imthegenieicandoanything

    As I say (endlessly): you CANNOT be an honest “Republican” or even “Conservative” any longer.

    If you were not willing to disavow any sympathy with the Godwin-testing monsters that have been purifying that particular strain of stupidity, ignorance, insanity, AND evil since the early 90s, until its toxicity began killing tens of thousands with the Bu–sh– pResidency, you simply ARE the problem that America and the world now faces.

    So, who gets the credit for this repulsive, counterproductive, abd unacceptable piece-of-shit decision? What fucked-up Wile E. Coyote has been allowed the leeway to do this?

    Well, at least another enemy has revealed themselves. (How distracting, unnecessary, and disgusting that is to know, though!)

    SCA emails are now filtered by me, and I will not bother following them until reliable folks with strong stomachs tell me otherwise. SCA:FO.

  18. 18
    No One

    No good will come of this.

  19. 19
    craigmcgillivary

    I find it very hard to believe that SCA has any influence at all in DC and I don’t see how this helps. I would be happy to give money to an organization that nagged politicians about the constitution even while politicians generally ignored it. I like the idea of at least making a few of them feel guilty. But this choice makes me wonder if the SCA is going to start soft pedalling and sucking up to the politicians, which seems like a waste of time.

  20. 20
    'Tis Himself

    My next check to SCA will depend on what Rogers does in the next few months. I doubt this attitude is unique with me.

  21. 21
    ibyea

    BTW, I am not giving SCA the benefit of the doubt here. The SCA must be filled with a bunch of idiots, otherwise this travesty would have never happened. Their reputation is not on the line. Their reputation completely sucked the moment they made this decision.

  22. 22
    Snoof

    I would suggest then that most of those powerful Republicans are indeed secularist and atheist, just as Ayn Rand was.

    What is the difference between believing in God and acting like someone who believes in God?

  23. 23
    tcsf

    I agree with your analysis of the interview. No one who gives money to Rick Perry without repudiating it can honestly lead a secular organization. This is a way for Republican money to buy silence from opponents of Republican plans during an election year; I cannot believe she is going to fight all her former friends; the SCA has made a ridiculous decision from which I predict no good will come.

  24. 24
    razzlefrog

    WTF? I just posted my support for this woman on Jen McCreight’s blog. Then I read here that she gave $1,000 to Rick goddamned Perry. Repeat: Rick goddamned Perry. You might as well have lain it on that pantsed monkey, Pat Roberston, as far as I’m concerned! Money is a huge, glaring, red flag . . . I’ve just spun around 180 degrees with my support.

    Don’t do this to us SCA. Don’t pull a Komen. Pick someone else.

  25. 25
    Travis

    I have seen a few people complaining about people reflexively being negative about this as she is a Republican, but I have to wonder if the same can be claimed by some of her supporters. When looking at some of the posts on the various blogs that have discussed this I have seen precious little about why I should support her or acknowledgement of the issues people have raised about her support of people like Lott and Rick Perry. It mainly seems to be that she is connected and a Republican. I must be crazy for wanting more than that.

  26. 26
    Marcus Ranum

    Taking a faceful of your enemy’s jizz is not going to make you more appealing.

  27. 27
    machintelligence

    Republicans are really good at denying inconvenient facts. Here is a link to them denying a pay gap between men and women:
    http://www.patheos.com/blogs/lovejoyfeminism/2012/05/3928.html
    And who can forget global warming?

  28. 28
    ikesolem

    Kind of a wimpy interview. The obvious question to ask her is this:

    “Given that you were associated with GW Bush’s economic program, and that Obama called Republican economic policies an example of ‘Social Darwinism’, how do you respond to that? What’s the secular atheist take on that quote by Obama?”

    What would she say? Who knows?

    For reference:
    http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2012/apr/03/obama-accuses-republicans-social-darwinism-budget

    Of course, atheists who believe in Social Darwinism are as idiotic and misguided as theologians who believe in Divine Creationism – it’s a creed that has nothing to do with science, but which – like ‘Intelligent Design’ – seeks to couch its ideology in the language of science, in order to give it legitimacy – when all its ever been is another pathetic excuse for aristocratic attitudes left over from the era of divine kings.

    Atheists in general have a hard time with the Social Darwinism business – but just get over it, Darwin’s pre-DNA era is long gone, as is the first architect of eugenics, Darwin’s cousin Galton. Of course, if you’re going to idolize Ayn Rand and Milton Friedman and ‘breeding for intelligence’, well… then you are an ignorant Social Darwinist, aka “looking for a rationalization for shady behavior”.

    In that case, abandon atheism and go back to “the Devil made me do it,” it works better than “my selfish genes made me do it.”

  29. 29
    Aratina Cage

    This dog-whistle of hers is just maddening:

    “The movement has been a little bit insular in mainly consisting of folks that are involved in the Democrat Party or would be considered liberals,” [Edwina] Rogers told POLITICO.

    That should be “the Democratic Party”! Stop using the code words they’ve brainwashed you with and get it right, FFS!

  30. 30
    Pierce R. Butler

    Miscellaneous reactions to the above:

    … Edwina Rogers pulled her silver Jaguar alongside …

    - Photoshoppers, to your mice!

    - Data sleuths – to the ER & SCA financial records!

    - Edwina Rogers – to the nearest Occupy, to make a full confession in Mic Check!

    I guess Josh Timonen wasn’t available.

    My habitual chintziness for never having donated to SCA has become acute political foresight.

    An amazing case for the annals of organizational suicide … or sabotage. (How the hell could anybody promote a natural-born 1%er as the face of such a project, in 2012, for any other motives?)

    Shall we start a betting pool on how long she/SCA lasts, or on how much airtime she gets along the way?

    If Rogers/SCA make it through this, short-list them for the next Templeton Prize – you heard it here 1st!

  31. 31
    Akira MacKenzie

    When are liberals going to grow a SPINE, and stop licking Republican boots?!

    When they realize that sitting in front of the NYSE waving a sign and getting pepper sprayed for the amusement of the upper and middle classes doesn’t constitute a “revolution.”

  32. 32
    satanaugustine

    spamamander, hellmart survivor at 14. This is awesome:

    I picked a bad time to run out of vicodin.

    _____________________________________________________

    Everyone else:

    Want to voice your concerns about Edwina Rogers to the SCA? Click here: http://secular.org/contact

  33. 33
    neogarden

    okay, no one has said the obvious, so I will. This could be a simple mix up.. The woman in question thought she was accepting an executive position in the Society for Creative Anachronisms. In the interview, she was genuinely confounded by the line of questioning, and what it had to do with a weekend hobby that includes armor, home-brewed mead, speaking with a really bad accent and wenching.

  34. 34
    Wowbagger, Designated Snarker

    Thing is, to give her the benefit of the doubt on this issue is to basically assume that she has absolutely no moral compass whatsoever, and simply shills for whoever it is signing the cheques* – though that of course means she’s the sort of monster that a group like the SCA should probably want to avoid being linked to.

    *Yes, that’s how it’s spelled in many parts of the world, including mine.

  35. 35
    Setár, Elvenkitty

    How the fuck do people still not notice how all of these “centrists”, the people calling for “compromise” and “bipartisanship”, always call upon the liberals to appease the conservatives? That these “centrists” are all suited, shaved, manicured and made-up members of the top 1% or 10%?

    “Centrism” is a thinly-veiled lie meant to cover up the Republicans’ rightward shift that began not with Reagan, but effectively with Goldwater and realistically with Nixon’s adoption of the Southern Strategy in order to win over the hyper-conservative “Dixiecrats” who felt that the Civil Rights Acts were a betrayal on the part of the Democratic Party and favourite-son LBJ. Ever since then, the Republicans have gone hard right, first with the Vietnam War and War on Drugs, then with Reagan doing a 180 and beating on the war drums when the Cold War actually looked to be wrapping up as well as starting the War on the Poor with Reaganomics, and of course the War on Terror and the War on Women.

    All this while, “centrists” such as Jonathan Haidt have constantly made noise every time anyone attempted to point the rightward shift out, trotting out individual examples and what we know about cognitive biases and yelling “LIBERALS ARE JUST AS BAD!” — never mind, of course, that only now are we starting to see the conservative “Blue Dog” Democrats (who conveniently always side with the Republicans) getting primaried out, where we are seeing already-conservative Republicans such as Orrin Hatch and Dick Lugar facing Teabagger challenges for historically being more willing to cross the aisle and where we are seeing the Republicans doing everything possible to stop Democratic victories, be it at the federal or state level.

    Conservatives lie and play tricks. This is nothing new. We see it with the way they name their movements — “pro-life” for anti-abortion, “abolitionist” for being anti-sex work, “tax fairness” for being against all taxes regardless of what is being taxed, and now “centrist” for being…not liberal and not an outright nut. We’ve been seeing it for the past forty years and this is just another example.

    In appointing a Republican, 1%er, Bush wonk, the SCA has just shown its true colours: it is just like all the rest of the lobbying organizations, only supporting the interests of those who can afford to pay and fuck everyone else. Rather than take a stand for the marginalized atheists as it should be doing, the SCA has instead decided to contribute by appointing someone that does not defend the interests of most atheists outside of secular government, someone who embodies the way in which democracy is being undermined and destroyed the world over. Rogers’ secular credentials are functionally irrelevant; the SCA has just issued a giant “fuck you” to every single one of us who is interested in defending not just our secular values, but also our democratic values of repudiating any sort of assumed authority, whether it be assumed on the basis of divinity or class, so that the needs of the people will not go ignored for the wants of The Authority.

    Anyone who does not acknowledge this is either a liar or a deluded fool.

    I hereby await a response from the next “centrist” shill who wants to insist that we need to listen to deluded idiots just because they’re not deluded about religion.

  36. 36
    unclefrogy

    how’s it go they are all crooks!
    I will be pleasantly shocked if anything positive by way of a more secular society or government or even a slightly more positive image of secular values or interests. I will not be holding my breath though. I would expect to see more positive developments as a result of pressure from the Occupy Movement first.

    uncle frogy

  37. 37
    Crissa

    Are they ever members of the 10%? She owns a Jaguar, for pete’s sake.

  38. 38
    atheospark

    Doesn’t look good…

  39. 39
    consciousness razor

    Why should we trust you now to work for us after a career spent working for people who seem to be actively against us?

    I think it’s a misconception that the majority of Republicans are lined up against the secular movement. As someone who has been an insider within the Republican Party, I’m certain it’s not the consensus of the majority of Republicans to have an [overt] influence of religion on our laws. Having said that, no one agrees with everyone they work with on every single issue. In these roles I never worked on anything having to do with issues of religion — I worked primarily on economic issues.

    I don’t see a reason to trust her, just an advertisement for the Republican party. Is she talking about most Republican politicians or most Republicans across the country? Either way, why bother making this absurd claim about other Republicans when the question’s about her and what she stands for? She does know who she’s talking to and what we have in common, right? Why not make her answer about that? And what is “[overt]” doing there, if it isn’t transparent weaseling to allow that most Republicans want there to be a covert influence of religion on our laws, as if that makes a difference? Should we trust her because of her work on economic issues, or for working with people despite their repugnant views? How is that in any way trustworthy?

  40. 40
    Charles Sullivan

    There is a professional class of people called lobbyist (and campaign managers, for that matter). They often live in DC (or state capitals), and they are opportunists. It’s true that they have a skill set, and they sell their services. Their opportunism (or need to make money) overrides any ideological view they may have. They can switch teams faster than any skilled disgruntled NBA athlete.

  41. 41
    Azkyroth Drinked the Grammar Too :)

    “You cannot wield it. None of us can. The one ring answers to Moron alone. It has no other master.”

  42. 42
    Ivo

    It kinda reminds me of this:
    Man finally put in charge of struggling feminist movement

  43. 43
    Mobius 118

    Obvious infiltration of the SCA is obvious.

    Taking down the group through subversive tactics to take us down slowly, like a cancer.

    Find someone better.

  44. 44
    Setár, Elvenkitty

    Azkyroth, did you mean to put “Moron”? I personally think it works a lot better if you put “Money”, though it doesn’t quite have the same ring…

  45. 45
    McCthulhu, now with -25% less fat.

    I’m not hugely familiar with the SCA. I am firstly disgruntled a group would steal the acronym from the Society for Creative Anachronisms.

    What doesn’t sit well from a casual perspective is knowing full well the nature of lies and subversiveness that some religious groups have decided to undertake. When I see something like a GOP mouthpiece being given a spokesperson job for a group that is essentially anathema to everything they stand for, something is rotten, unfortunately not far enough away to be in the state of Denmark.

    I don’t know the backgrounds or reliability of the other people who were the hierarchy of the organization, but if they are sincere and weren’t play acting the part to do just this sort of turnaround to frustrate a cause, then they have definitely crapped the bed on reading résumés of potential job applicants.

    In either instance, I would be leery of sending them any donations or do volunteer work for them. The credibility gap meter has been set to ‘HUGE’. Unfortunately, that plays right into the hands of the enemy. I would say it’s time to scrap it and start from scratch if they are truly in earnest for the cause of secularism – the acronym is no longer trustworthy. This move is truly a disaster.

  46. 46
    carlie

    Are they ever members of the 10%? She owns a Jaguar, for pete’s sake.

    Any household that takes in more than 200K a year is in the top 3%. Top. Three. Percent. Any household over 100K is in the top 10%. So yeah, her being in the top 10% is a given, top 3% pretty bloody likely.

  47. 47
    richardelguru

    I was hoping it was the Society for Creative Anachronism.
    Maybe it is…

  48. 48
    josephnobles

    I’m pretty sure that this interview consisted of Mehta sending Rogers a list of questions which Rogers answered and sent back. Still kind of lame, but no real way to follow up for better answers the way Jon Stewart could have with David Barton. I’m still wary of this choice, though.

  49. 49
    snebo154

    Overall I think the general pessimism is probably well justified, I would like to say a few things that may or may not be factors to consider. Remember what happened when American Atheists approached Bush the older? They were refused any access to the oval office and told that the president did not think that they were worthy to be citizens. Someone like PZ or any other fire-breather would be summarily dismissed in the halls of a Tea Party controlled congress. If Romney were to be elected it would be far worse. This woman did an incredible Ginger Rogers act around every question put before her. She seems to be the consummate politician. This makes her someone that you wouldn’t want in your house or around your kids (or pets for that matter) but possibly the best person to get something done in D.C. If she had not been asked point blank, I don’t think I could have guessed that she was a “non-theist”. She seems to be someone who can fight fire with fire on Capitol Hill. And by fire I mean ambiguous bullshit. She might be exactly what we need to get something done in Washington. That said I would like to go on record as saying she turns my stomach.

  50. 50
    herewegoagain

    Egads, I just watched the Rick Perry video and this so-called secular woman supported this man? No way, Jose. I will never support the Secular Coalition of American again.

  51. 51
    Ms. Daisy Cutter, General Manager for the Cleveland Steamers

    When they realize that sitting in front of the NYSE waving a sign and getting pepper sprayed for the amusement of the upper and middle classes doesn’t constitute a “revolution.”

    Hey, Akira, what the fuck do you do to effect any kind of change? Sitting at your computer, whining about how much you hate everybody and how “mean” everybody is to you, doesn’t count.

    Speaking as someone with good friends in Occupy, the movement has made a difference. Since it began, the mainstream media has started actually acknowledging the economic issues of ordinary people again. And it’s encouraged more and more ordinary people to wake up, smell the coffee, and realize that democracy is a DIY affair.

    You say you want a revo-o-lution? Be goddamned careful what you wish for. While seeing [violent fantasies regarding the 1% redacted here] would do my heart good, too, revolutions tend to get out of hand real fast, and, once the bloodletting stops, restoring the country back to normal takes a long time.

    Setar: Excellent comment.

    Crissa, do you ever say anything intelligent and well-informed? Since when is a Jaguar a broken-down heap? Did you bother to read Aratina’s third link at #11?

  52. 52
    Antiochus Epiphanes

    Any household that takes in more than 200K a year is in the top 3%. Top. Three. Percent. Any household over 100K is in the top 10%. So yeah, her being in the top 10% is a given, top 3% pretty bloody likely.

    But how else is she to schmooze with the high rollers in the legislature? You gotta be able to talk the talk, whether that be about your jaguar, your solid gold toilet, subterranean apocalypse shelter, or your love for Jesus. I recommend that she get some of the last item. Then, we’re in like sin.

  53. 53
    SC (Salty Current), OM

    Her Wikipedia entry says she writes or wrote a conservative column for the Georgetowner, but I can’t find anything online.

    “Nontheist” is such a vague term. What is she? A deist? An agnostic? What?

    She also doesn’t seem to know the difference between a misnomer and a misconception.

  54. 54
    John Morales

    [meta]

    SC, heh. I pretty much wrote the same at Dan Fincke’s place.

  55. 55
    SC (Salty Current), OM

    Are we supposed to trust the competence of someone so deluded they can say with a straight face that a majority of Republicans want religion out of government?

    Yeah, her personal politics aside, she makes several dubious fact claims in that interview that aren’t based on any proper evidence. That alone should be a serious concern.

  56. 56
    joed

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cooption

    A co-option (also cooptation, co-optation, cooption) is an act of absorbing or assimilating. It is normally used in the context of a group of persons assimilating a weaker or smaller group, with the intention of neutralizing a threat from the weaker group.[citation needed]

  57. 57
    SC (Salty Current), OM

    SC, heh. I pretty much wrote the same at Dan Fincke’s place.

    Hee. Why am I not surprised? :)

  58. 58
    dangeroustalk

    Once again we have the freethoughtblog purity police. If you look at her goals and her plan, they are pretty ambitious and she has the qualifications to get those ambitious agenda done. So while I disagree with her on economics, I am willing to give her a shot and see what she can do on secularism. Maybe all that hobnobbing with Republicans has given her some insight that we just don’t have about the Religious Right. Who knows, maybe a year from now she will change her political affiliation to Democrat or at least support more progressive candidates.

  59. 59
    SC (Salty Current), OM

    http://freethoughtblogs.com/physioprof/2012/05/04/despicable-right-wing-political-hack-new-director-of-the-secular-coalition-for-america/

    (I disagree with his use of “pig people” as a insult. Pig people would be a improvement, as pigs are lovely.)

  60. 60
    Beatrice, an amateur cynic looking for a happy thought

    Someone calling poe on another thread reminded me of people here (khm, dangeroustalk) advising that she should be given a chance because maybe, despite all the proof to the contrary, she might be just right for the position. If her past actions and her opinions are so close to what we would consider anti-secularist that they make her indistinguishable from an anti-secularist… then what’s the point? She may really, deep down in her heart be for secularism and an atheist and who knows what, but if she supports a party that is the opposite of that, if she encourages people to give those other (religious) positions a chance which is actually the opposite from what she should be doing, then she’s just harming the cause. What she might possibly feel means shit compared to what she says and does, especially as someone in such an important role.

  61. 61
    Rey Fox

    charlessullivan: They should all kill themselves along with the marketers.

  62. 62
    SallyStrange

    Once again we have the freethoughtblog purity police.

    You know, if you hadn’t dropped this steaming turd right at the beginning of your paragraph, I might have taken your opinion seriously.

  63. 63
    gussnarp

    I’m not opposed to her getting the job based on her Republican credentials, and I’m generally willing to give her a chance, but her dishonesty on the issue of the Republican Party being a threat to secularism seriously irks me. She’s clearly a political animal who doesn’t want to piss off Republicans because she wants to get them on board (well, maybe), but we need more honesty than that. She says the religious right is a minority, which may or may not be true within the party, but she doesn’t acknowledge their outsize influence, which makes it impossible for any Republican to do anything public or on record in support of secularism. How does she plan to get around that?

  64. 64
    Improbable Joe, bearer of the Official SpokesGuitar

    dangeroustalk (and others), WTF are you talking about “purity police” for? Don’t you feel dangerously dishonest for criticizing people who have principles that they stand for, being wary of people who seem to have a history of standing diametrically opposed to those values?

    The “purity police” line would have validity if we could see a list of 15 issues, and we reject anyone who fails to agree with at least 13 of them. Instead, we have someone who might agree with us somewhat on 2-3 issues, and reason to believe that she is against or apathetic towards all the other issues. That’s not calling for ideological purity, it is not being willing to sell out your principles to increase your donor base.

  65. 65
    ltft

    Disappointed in PZ.

    He says Rogers said, with a straight face, that most Republicans want religion out of government. That is not at all what she said. She said, “I’m certain it’s not the consensus of the majority of Republicans to have an [overt] influence of religion on our laws.” Huge difference (still problematic, obviously, but a HUGE difference).

    PZ also said Rogers doesn’t see a problem with a lack of secularism in the public sphere. He said she saw only a few areas of concern. This was based on Rogers saying that in the past, she didn’t see a problem. ‘Didn’t’ see a problem. ‘Doesn’t’ and ‘didn’t’ are different. And about those ‘few’ areas of concern? PZ made up the few. Rogers said she saw areas of concern, not few areas of concern.

    There is already more than enough about Rogers past to get riled up about. There is no need to misrepresent her statements like this. Dishonestly might serve to get the base fired up but it’s still, at root, dishonest.

  66. 66
    dangeroustalk

    @Beatrice (60), The evidence suggests that she would be great for the job. She has the experience, knows the players, agrees with the cause, etc. Unfortunately she also supports lots on issues most atheists don’t, but are unrelated to secularism. But looking at her record, it is clear that she is a pretty outstanding choice. Also, I like her ambitious plan for SCA and her charisma and enthusiasm is encouraging.

  67. 67
    Ms. Daisy Cutter, General Manager for the Cleveland Steamers

    Sally:

    You know, if you hadn’t dropped this steaming turd right at the beginning of your paragraph, I might have taken your opinion seriously.

    Note that that this is the same DangerousTalk who white-knighted for John Loftus while making the same complaint, which he also made here. Additionally, he appears to be quite the blogwhore. (Apologies for the gendered slur; can someone suggest a better synonym?)

    In my opinion, though, the rest of his comment doesn’t hold up either. If the SCA had hired some libertarian or even Republican who nonetheless had a demonstrated commitment to secularism/atheism, that’d be one thing. Rogers has no such track record, her comments that PZ quoted show she doesn’t even understand the cause she’s being asked to fight for, and her support of would-be theocrats alone makes her utterly wrong for this role.

  68. 68
    Anri

    dangeroustalk says:

    Once again we have the freethoughtblog purity police. If you look at her goals and her plan, they are pretty ambitious and she has the qualifications to get those ambitious agenda done. So while I disagree with her on economics, I am willing to give her a shot and see what she can do on secularism. Maybe all that hobnobbing with Republicans has given her some insight that we just don’t have about the Religious Right. Who knows, maybe a year from now she will change her political affiliation to Democrat or at least support more progressive candidates.

    Sure, just because we oppose her views on economics and social policy and the aims of the GOP and the role of religion in government and her candidate endorsement and pretty much everything political she’s said up to this point doesn’t mean she won’t be a good spokesperson for our point of view.

    Looks like all she has to do is:
    a) Learn our point of view,
    b) Change her mind and agree with our point of view,
    c) Decide to work for that point of view.

    So, yeah, looks like a mortal lock to me.

    After all, the alternative would be to appoint someone who might upset somebody by actually being demonstrably pro-secular. And as we all know, every victory begins with surrender.

  69. 69
    dangeroustalk

    @Improbable Joe (64) … like say Bill Maher? Seriously though, I think you pulled your numbers out of thin air. Rogers was hired to promote secular values and every indication suggests that she agrees with those values completely. Humanist values, she could use some work on though. So let’s try to change her opinion on those points. But as for the separation of church and state, I think she is 100% with us. If I’m wrong, please provide evidence.

  70. 70
    consciousness razor

    If you look at her goals and her plan, they are pretty ambitious and she has the qualifications to get those ambitious agenda done.

    There are many other ambitious, qualified people who would have been a better choice.

    So while I disagree with her on economics, I am willing to give her a shot and see what she can do on secularism.

    Do you agree with the warmongering and all the other conservative bullshit?

    If she were just a Republican political hack with some wacky economic ideas, who never did much harm otherwise, had already been involved in secularism, and wasn’t engaging in apologetics from the start, I wouldn’t have much of a problem.

    Maybe all that hobnobbing with Republicans has given her some insight that we just don’t have about the Religious Right. Who knows, maybe a year from now she will change her political affiliation to Democrat or at least support more progressive candidates.

    Sure, we all know how hobnobbing can give one lots of special insight; or perhaps we would, if we did more hobnobbing. As an executive director for a lobbying group, not a think tank, I’m not sure how useful such insight would be. Maybe it would help to have some experience with the secular movement if you’re going to set up chapters around the country, but a bit of hobnobbing can no doubt fix that. That’s how all the rich white folks figure each other out, I’m told, so it’s worth a shot. And who knows, since wishful thinking works if you try really hard, maybe in two years she’ll start the communist revolution and give us all a free pony.

  71. 71
    dangeroustalk

    @Ms Daisy cutter (67), Thanks for the character assassination, it proves my point. I stand by those comments you linked to. Less drama more activism! Let’s fight the Religious Right, not ourselves.

  72. 72
    Improbable Joe, bearer of the Official SpokesGuitar

    Yeah DT, I absolutely made up those numbers… I thought that was obvious, and I guess you think you made a brilliant deduction. *rolls eyes*

    What’s wrong with hiring people who actually agree with the majority of us on the majority of issues? Unless you think that “secularism” is confined solely to old crosses on public land, prayer at graduation and other symbolic but occasionally meaningless issues, in which case you’re fooling yourself. You’re probably the same sort of person who thinks that skeptics should talk about UFOs and Bigfoot, but avoid feminism and economics.

    Welcome to the veal pen, SCA. Go ahead and trade your independence and effectiveness for “access” to the halls of power, and prepare to be co-opted.

  73. 73
    Improbable Joe, bearer of the Official SpokesGuitar

    And, AGAIN I’ll ask the question, since DT and others seem incapable of dealing with it:

    Why not hire someone who we know is a good fit for the organization’s membership? Why hire someone who has to be given the benefit of the doubt, and defended against what seems to be really obvious and fair criticism right out of the gate? I’m sure Karl Rove would be an even more effective political insider to have on your side, should we start a letter-writing campaign to draft him?

  74. 74
    Matt Penfold

    @Improbable Joe (64) … like say Bill Maher? Seriously though, I think you pulled your numbers out of thin air. Rogers was hired to promote secular values and every indication suggests that she agrees with those values completely. Humanist values, she could use some work on though. So let’s try to change her opinion on those points. But as for the separation of church and state, I think she is 100% with us. If I’m wrong, please provide evidence.

    No, every indication does not suggest that she shares those secular values completely. Where she to do so, she would not have spoken out in opposition to stem-cell research. There is only one reason people oppose the use of stem-cells harvested from embryos, and that is because those oppose the use of embryos on religious grounds.

  75. 75
    Ms. Daisy Cutter, General Manager for the Cleveland Steamers

    DangerousTalk, if you think “white-knighting,” “whining,” and “blogwhoring” are “character assassination,” you’re quite the thin-skinned li’l cupcake. Your entire history on FTB seems to consist of complaining about the “thought police,” and Feralboy and Brownian demonstrated pretty well IMO that you’re more interested in driving traffic to your blog than in making any substantial contribution. Which is a lot more dramarrific than this post of PZ’s or any other comment in this thread.

  76. 76
    Illuminata, Genie in the Beer Bottle

    I think the “freethoughtblog purity police” thing is adorable. Nothing screams “DON’T YOU GODDAMN DARE TO THINK!” louder than that. Good little automaton – agree with everything, question nothing. How very “freethought” of you.

  77. 77
    tomh

    @ #58
    Once again we have the freethoughtblog purity police. If you look at her goals and her plan, they are pretty ambitious and she has the qualifications to get those ambitious agenda done.

    There is no chance that she can get this agenda done, it is simply a huge waste of money. Not just the money that is being paid to her but any money thrown at Congress in the hope of swaying them to a more secular point of view. The legislative battle has been lost. US laws are soaked in religion and religious organizations spend $400 million dollars a year to make sure it stays that way. The courts are the last and only bastion of defense for secularists. Any money the SCA plans to spend trying to influence legislators, which is not possible now, would be far better spent trying to right inequities in court.

  78. 78
    Daniel Fincke

    I am open to a Republican who has in the past been quietly a pro-gay, pro-choice, pro-stem-cell research, pro-environment Republican while nonetheless doing policy work on foreign affairs or the economy, making arguments which attempted secular justifications (even if I strongly disagreed with her). If all along she was just someone who had to choose between two parties ill-suited to her mixture of strong secularism and, say, right wing fiscal or international views, then I could sympathize more and welcome her aboard to deal with the issues we agree on. I believe there are some moderate Republicans out there who are aghast at the theocratic takeover of their party. I was just talking to one the other day about it. They’re there. They’re part of the reason why perceived moderates like Bob Dole, John McCain, Mitt Romney, and even the originally alleged “compassionate conservative, uniter-not-divider” George W. Bush eventually get nominated by the party rather than the Rick Santorums, Michelle Bachmanns, Gary Baurs, etc. I think it would be great if the moderate Republicans would get a voice in their party back. My desire is to believe that Rogers is one of those moderates who can use her work at the SCA to help regain some balance in the Republican party. A moderated Republican party is proving more vital to progressive goals than even full control of the Congress and presidency since a lock step theocratic/tea-party Republican caucus has shut down all hope of necessary compromises.

    So I want to believe Rogers is the moderate Republican in shining armor who can join forces with the SCA to be a positive influence on the other side of the aisle based on her passionate commitment to principles she was never able to fully express before but which she now wants to make the focus of her career and stake her reputation on.

    But looking into her past, there’s evidence she has not long held principled secular values. She stooped to blithely attacking Michael J. Fox on stem cell research a few years ago: http://freethoughtblogs.com/camelswithhammers/2012/05/04/edwina-rogers-vs-michael-j-fox/ She advanced the talking point that he was being manipulated. She either was willing to explicitly contravene her conscience on a matter that one would expect to be supremely urgent to any anti-theocratic secularist or she does not care about the issue on a visceral level in either direction. Or she has coincidentally had a secularist awakening in a short span of time, and just in time to get a job defending secularist principles.

    Fishy and upsetting.

  79. 79
    Kagehi

    Sent them a letter, asking them if they even bothered to check on who she drops money to, supports, or what her policies really where, and also asking how, even if she only worked in economic issues, and she was at all right about “most republicans”, how exactly replacing one delusional belief system with another (i.e., Randism), or how the views of most republicans matter at all, when those elected are **not** supportive of secularism, at all helps anyone.

  80. 80
    beergoggles

    Haha, the SCA has been co-opted by the conservatards pandering to the religious right. Time to start a new group with some actual accountability and write this off as money badly spent and there being no point in throwing good money after bad.

  81. 81
    Azkyroth Drinked the Grammar Too :)

    Once again we have the freethoughtblog purity police. If you look at her goals and her plan, they are pretty ambitious and she has the qualifications to get those ambitious agenda done. So while I disagree with her on economics, I am willing to give her a shot and see what she can do on secularism.

    The best you can say about her is that she’s an unprincipled, mercenary hack. That’s not very encouraging.

    Maybe all that hobnobbing with Republicans has given her some insight that we just don’t have about the Religious Right.

    Do you have any evidence whatsoever that this actually IS the case?

    Who knows, maybe a year from now she will change her political affiliation to Democrat or at least support more progressive candidates.

    See above.

  82. 82
    Pteryxx

    Once again we have the freethoughtblog purity honesty police.

    fix’d for you.

  83. 83
    Ingdigo Jump

    Watch what she does with finances like a hawk.

  84. 84
    unclefrogy

    this sure sounds to me just like the Jack Abramoff Indian gaming scandal

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jack_Abramoff_Indian_lobbying_scandal

    uncle frogy

  85. 85
    dougittner

    When HR 2070 came up for a vote, a bill that would install a religious prayer on a national monument, 100% of Republicans voted in favor of it. Yeah, those secular Republicans.

    Thanks SCA, looks like I’ll be saving some money by not donating to a right-wing organization this year.

  86. 86
    Stevarious, Public Health Problem

    Apparently she’s going to be doing an ‘Ask Me Anything’ on Reddit. This was posted to SCA’s Facebook:

    We know you have questions for our new Executive Director, Edwina Rogers. So, on Tuesday, she’ll be doing an “Ask Me Anything” on Reddit starting at 11:00am EDT! We’ll post a link as soon as it starts.

  87. 87
    truthspeaker

    There aren’t enough palms to slap into enough faces in all the world for this.

    And Hemant – when your interview subject says something outrageous, you’re supposed to challenge it with a followup question.

    Or Is Hemant auditioning to be a propagandist for the mainstream media?

  88. 88
    SallyStrange

    In my opinion, though, the rest of his comment doesn’t hold up either.

    Yeah, me too. I guess I owe him for using that obvious red flag for braindead assholery, so I knew I needn’t bother with the rest of it.

  89. 89
    Crip Dyke, Right Reverend Feminist FuckToy of Death & Her Handmaiden

    Edwina Rogers has as much documented history proving herself a good fit for the Secular Coalition of America as she does proving herself a good fit for the Sexually Creative Androgynes*.

    She’s a lobbyist who knows how to look at an organizations’ expressed goals and write a “strategic plan” that appears to address those goals. I bet if we gave her a hypothetical, non-existent organization and the mission statement and a couple of pages of background thereto, she could equally well spit out a “plan” to have chapters in all 50 states. (Brilliant bit of original thinking, that.)

    But she has no documented history being effective on secular issues – or even acknowledging that they exist. The fact that she thinks that Republicans in the states don’t have an interest in having religion affect policy shows that either 1) she’s dishonest as heck; 2) she doesn’t know basic concepts like, “secular”, “religion”, or “affect”; and/or 3) she knows nothing about the current GOP.

    Further given the fact that she’s taken public positions that are anti-science and critical thought, the fact that she’s willing to use anti-rational appeals to emotion (and misguided ones at that) like, “democrat party”, and the fact of her demonstrated willingness to bash political opponents, it is more than reasonable to conclude that she is not merely less than competent to speak on issues of secularization and the creation of a rational policy discourse. It is actually reasonable to conclude that she does not support these goals as we understand them.

    She might believe that religion has become a site of too much tension and fantasize about being a white (which is to say, not beaten up by the police) Rodney King, crying, “Can’t we all just get alone?” In fact, her statement that everyone should be allowed at the table (as if secularism was somehow largely about preventing people from coming to the table) casts her in just this light and makes it reasonable to believe that she thinks she’s representing people who want some level of disenfranchisement.

    And if she thinks that we’re the pro-disenfranchisement folks, boy is that another level of massive incompetence.

    In short, past performance is no guarantee of future results. It’s just the only evidence we have.

    I am not saying that one shouldn’t give to SCA or should call for Edwina Rogers to be fired. I just believe that you should clearly treat them as if they completely agree with ER, since ER seems to believe that the organization is completely in line with her.

    If you would be willing to personally give money to ER and trust her to use it for good things, then give to SCA. If you wouldn’t be personally willing to giver her money, then you should strongly consider not giving any to SCA. And if you would personally vigorously oppose ER, then you might consider vigorously opposing SCA.

    As I’ve said on another thread, I don’t have any money right now, so I don’t have to worry about whether to give to SCA in this moment. But I certainly wouldn’t be participating in supporting even “neutral” goals like chapter building since I don’t believe I can trust how any power gained through chapter building would be applied. OTOH, if they get it right on a particular issue, I have no qualms about working in parallel with them and praising the actions that they take that I believe are productive. Yay for that, if and when it comes. I just have substantially lowered hopes for agreement seeing as how they agree with someone who is anti-science and indulges in appeals to emotion rather than reason and who assumes facts not in evidence (as in her hit on MJ Fox).

    To paraphrase Heath Ledger in the immortal movie, “A Knight’s Tale”:

    The fact that she’s a republican isn’t necessary to mention.

    *Which group I am hereby creating this moment. I nominate myself secretary – so I can take down all the names and contact info.

  90. 90
    John Horstman

    @60:

    If her past actions and her opinions are so close to what we would consider anti-secularist that they make her indistinguishable from an anti-secularist… then what’s the point?

    Because she might be an amoral sociopath. If she’s entirely mercenary and we’re paying her salary, she will be OUR sociopath, which could be extremely effective in national politics.

  91. 91
    John Horstman

    That said, I’m extremely skeptical about her effectiveness, especially since she thinks (or at least claims) most Republicans are pro-secular when polling data show that they strongly support specific theocratic policies (banning abortion, denying gay people equal rights, allowing school-led prayer). That failure to use evidence-based reasoning does not bode well for her ability to promote evidence-based policy.

  92. 92
    madscientist

    It’s a good way to fleece those stupid commie god-denying christian hating secularists of their money. It’s like hiring Myra Hindley to look after the kids – brilliant.

  93. 93
    McCthulhu, now with -25% less fat.

    I would say it’s more like Humbert Humbert looking after the kids. We don’t want anyone to actually be murdered here.

  94. 94
    Ingdigo Jump

    So…we got a lobbyist who though has shown no dedication to our cause, we think will work because she’s a mercenary…but she’s apparently loyal enough to her party to refuse to acknowledge that they’re the biggest hurdle for the goals of the org that has hired her.

    Oh yeah that’ll work well.

  95. 95
    colonelzen

    Ringer. Or worse. If ringer its ludicrous that nobody in an executive capacity could see that.

    – TWZ

  96. 96
    Akira MacKenzie

    @ Ms. Daisy Cutter

    I read your reply to my previous post at work during my first break. As you can guess, it upset me a great deal. I mean, you don’t know me. You don’t know the problems I’ve had in the past and the crap that I deal with now. You don’t know how I feel! So what gives you the right to insult and pick on me?! I was ready to fire back an angry, profanity-laden response; however, I’m only allowed 15 minutes and I wouldn’t have the time.

    Then, while at my desk, I actually thought about what you wrote.

    You were right.

    I had no right to piss on the Occupy protestors. They sacrificed a lot and they were treated horrendously in return. All I did was watch from my comfy, coozy sidelines, agreeing with them but afraid of what my right-wing family or my employer would do to me if I had joined in. I was the chicken shit coward, not them. To them, I apologize.

    I’m well aware of the blood history of revolution and I understand your objections to them. It’s just that the two-headed monster of politics and religion has this tendency to make very angry. I am impatient and I don’t have a lot of optimism for the future. There are important economic and environmental policies that our nation should have implemented 30-40 years, but the right-wing stopped them all. Do we have another 30-40 years to convince the American people to support them? I don’t think so. In fact, I feel that things are not getting better at all and I fear that money and brute force will eventually win despite anyone’s good intentions. I’ve heard conservatives talk about what they want of this world, and I have no desire to end up in front of a firing squad for the high crime of “atheism” or “socialism.” As a result, the reptilian part of my brain takes over, and my rage get’s in the way of any critical thought: I’m sick of talk. I’m sick of debate. I want to see real results, now, and I don’t care how!

    Then I come down form my rage and I regret my ranting.

    As for dragging my personal shit onto this forum, again, you’re right. The Pharyngula comment threads are not my personal cyber-therapist. You don’t need to read about my problems, and I have no right to post them. I guess I’m just desperate to have anyone of similar interests or beliefs who might be able to help me, but I didn’t ask any of you first and I can now see how that can become boring. In the future, I’ll refrain from bringing up my troubles here.

    I’m sorry for being such an asshole.

  97. 97
    Aratina Cage

    This is so ironic. On Greta’s first thread about the Rogers hiring, commenter Marcel Kincaid left a link to a 2007 opinion piece that quotes Edwina Rogers badmouthing Valerie Plame on Fox News, during which time Rogers said this:

    …[Plame] was considered kind of a mediocre agent at best and she had been in Vanity Fair before any of this came out, sitting in a Jaguar…” [link to Plame's Jaguar photo]

    A Jaguar? You don’t say!

  98. 98
    Dalillama, Schmott Guy

    I believe there are some moderate Republicans out there who are aghast at the theocratic takeover of their party. I was just talking to one the other day about it. They’re there

    I don’t believe that there are moderate Republicans in practice. These ‘moderate’ Republicans you’ve spoken to who are ‘aghast’ at the theocratic takeover of the party nevertheless keep voting for theocrats. Similarly, allegedly ‘moderate’ Republican elected officials consistently vote in lockstep with the party, which is to say that they invariably vote for faith=based authoritarianism. No amount of verbal tap-dancing excuses these two facts, and I cannot construe as a moderate anyone who is actively engaged in promoting crypto-fascist theocratic extremism.

  99. 99
    Ingdigo Jump

    I believe there are some moderate Republicans out there who are aghast at the theocratic takeover of their party. I was just talking to one the other day about it. They’re there

    So aghast that they keep voting and donating.

  100. 100
    Cyranothe2nd, there's no such thing as a moderate ally

    @96–that was an awesome comment and you should feel awesome for making it. We’re all learning and it’s so nice to be amongst people who can admit when they’re wrong and keep growing.

    @ all–I think the best thing to do is write a ‘wtf’ email to the SCA.

  101. 101
    eric123

    Let’s add a little more context, shall we?

    Remember Chris Mooney’s book “The Republican War on Science”? If you haven’t read it you can readily imagine the contents based on the title. But let’s talk about what it means to be anti-science. To attack science or scientists, to undermine ongoing research or to suppress its findings, is to attack thought itself. *It’s an attack on freethought.* Let’s be very clear about this. To be anti-science is to hold learning and knowledge in contempt. It means a kind of blithe unconcern about perhaps the main driver of progress in human life, the most powerful tool we have for pulling ourselves out of our collective Dark Age, the debasements of which are still with us. To attack science is tantamount to attacking human rights. Being intelligent about science’s role in society and willing to stand up for it when it is threatened, reveals one’s moral seriousness as a human being. And let’s be perfectly clear about this as well–to attack to science is to, in an appropriately broad sense of the term secularism, to attack secularism itself.[1] So, where was Rogers during the period that Mooney writes about? She was working for the political entity, the GOP, that was attacking science and secularism. When it was time for defenders of science and secularism to stand and be counted, where was she? Are there any public statements AT ALL from her that reveal a consistent pattern of defending science and freethought during this time period? History throws us all opportunities to show where our values and commitments really lie. If during a period of almost unprecedented right-wing attack on science and scientists, which is still ongoing!, Rogers was basically silent–was even working for the GOP!–what does this tell us about her fitness for any leadership position with the SCA? Unless, of course, the SCA doesn’t happen to place much value on the defense of science, in which case we have very serious questions to ask about the SCA. So, to sum up, Rogers has built a career putting her energy, skills and time into building a political party that has been undermining science and therefore secularism. A lobbying job opens up and she suddenly finds her secular chops?

    But, she might reply, you don’t necessarily agree on all counts with those with whom you’re working. Agreed, but the fact remains that regardless of occasional disagreement, if you are working for the GOP you are nevertheless advancing its agenda, you are working to help it succeed at the polls and have more influence. The fact that she stayed with the GOP despite its anti-science and anti-secularism shows that these issues were, at the very least, never as important as her career. It remains an open question whether the attacks on science and secularism were even on her radar at the time at all.

    Then there’s case of Trent Lott, the hard right politician for whom Rogers worked. Lott grew up well aware of the treatment that blacks were facing in this country no so long ago–the police violence and harassment and terror, the demeaning and dehumanizing stereotypes in all sorts of venues, the constant discrimination in employment, in the professions and their organizations, and in education. This treatment, not at all adequately resolved even in our own time, is one of the darkest chapters in our historical memory. And yet, what was Lott’s response to all this? He spoke 5 times to the unapologetic white supremacist Council of Conservative Citizens, generally regarded as the KKK for men in suits. Rogers worked for Lott. This raises many questions, but let’s reduce them to this dilemma: a) She doesn’t know anything about the history of racism in America, let alone Lott’s role in it. If this is the case, it reveals a profound lack of historical literacy and immediately invites questions as to what other enormous gaps there might be in her education. b) If she knows this history and decided to work for Lott anyway, well, what can we say about a person like this? That she lacks moral seriousness strikes me as a perfectly fair judgment.

    For those atheists, secularists, and humanists who place a high priority on ending the vile legacy of racism and anti-gay hatred, for those of us who are damn tired of seeing people thrown under the bus, having their rights denied, and their life outcomes compromised (and sometimes their very lives) due to these mindless and often religion inspired bigotries, we expect and demand that anyone who represents us will also prioritize human rights for all, and will have either done so already, or shown judgments that reflect this shared concern. …And Rogers was working for a representative of the genteel KKK.

    I’ve worked the decision to hire Rogers over and over, as I’m sure you all have too. Are we missing something? Is there some brilliant strategic decision on the part of the SCA that we’ve all failed to appreciate, some angle of political leverage in the hiring of Rogers that would counterbalance what by any analysis appears to be a troubling record at the very, very least?

    I have grave doubts about Rogers and can’t avoid the tentative conclusion that the SCA has made what appears to be a less than adequately considered choice.

    [1] If the SCA’s definition of secularism is so narrow as to exclude defense of science, then it has some serious explaining to do. Actually…when are we going to see pro-science and pro-humanism scorecards? When do we start assigning a scorecard penalty to politicians who either deny climate change or fight against efforts to combat it? Where does Rogers stand on climate change?

  102. 102
    Setár, Elvenkitty

    Aratina Cage, her conservatism is perfectly okay…because she’s got a Jaaaaaaaag.

  103. 103
    McCthulhu, now with -25% less fat.

    eric123 @101:

    Well played. You are going to send an email to SCA echoing those sentiments, ne?

  104. 104
    americansecularcensus

    Just out is our first secular voter analysis. It addresses the political party preferences and presidential election issue priorities of registered voters participating in the American Secular Census. Learn more and consider registering if you are a U.S. nontheist!

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