Speaking Up Only Takes a Voice!
February 27, 2013
What can you do to support equality for people of all religions and us people of none? Speak up; let your school, community, and country know we are here. Who are we? The "we" that can and do support the separation of church and state (SOCAS) come from a wide variety of backgrounds; even many believers support a secular government.
The first separation of church and state seminar I ever went to was held in a church right here in Chattanooga, Tennessee. That's right, a church in the Bible belt of the Southern United States. The pews were packed that evening back in the fall of 2011 and I was in the front row, but this was no Sunday sermon I was attending! This was an evening dedicated to informing the congregation, and local community, that a secular government is a respectful government. Upon the presentation's conclusion applause filled the room, "these people" can and, do understand the importance of a secular government. The applause gave me hope. It helped form my personal understanding that all future battles to uphold the SOCAS should have nothing to do with belief or lack of belief. SOCAS is not an atheist issue, it is a Human rights issue.
So, what can you do to support SOCAS in your school and local community? Speak up! We must organize, write letters to local newspapers, and write to your local government politicians and community figures. If they don't take your voice seriously then find a pro-bono lawyer and sue! I did and you can too. The local county commission where I lived refused stop sectarian prayer before its meetings. I knew I needed to act and a week after demanding they stop (as the commissioners laughed at us), my friend Brandon Jones and I found a lawyer and are currently suing them in Federal Court. We are resolved to win and you can be too! Never let your voice be painted by others as being "against something", as you not against anything, YOU ARE FOR EQUALITY. If you need help speaking out in your community, or finding a lawyer to help you, send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
About the Author: Thomas J. Coleman IIIThomas J. Coleman III is currently a Psychology major attending the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga. He works as the Assistant Project Manager at his school conducting cross cultural research studying spirituality between the USA and Germany. He is a board member for the Chattanooga Freethought Association, as well as a founding member of the UTC Secular Student Alliance and Hamilton County for Separation of Church and State.
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