Edwina Rogers Controversy, or How the secular movement is alienating Republicans, libertarians, moderates, and independents

Well, there’s plenty of controversy in the secularism movement this week due to the hiring of Edwina Rogers as the new executive director of the Secular Coalition for America (read about this from the CFI, in an interview with ER, and another with Roy Speckhardt, and finally the opinion of Matt Dillahunty (there are additional links in his post). She’s a Republican *gasp*. Oh wait, I don’t really care that she’s a Republican.

Nor do I think that anyone saying that demand-side economics is more reasonable than supply-side economics, as several commenters suggest. The reality is, there isn’t really much conclusive evidence either way. There are economic policies that work and economic policies that don’t work. So the whole her-economic-ideas-aren’t-reasonable thing is, well, unreasonable.

Then there’s everyone’s issue with her “sudden” departure from Republican lobbying into the realm of secular lobbying. From people complaining that they don’t know if she’s really a nontheist to people complaining that Rogers doesn’t seem super-duper-extra honest and cuddly. Guess what: she’s a lobbyist. Did you seriously think lobbyists come off as not slimy? Because there were many occasions when I found the last executive director of the Secular Coalition to be rather slimy, and he generally fit the profile of what people seem to want.

Don’t forget the whole Republican platform problem. Let me ask you, do you agree with every statement in your party’s platform? Do you know how those platforms are written and decided on?

Can you tell me how allying yourself with a political party is a reasonable thing to do? Wouldn’t trying to remain apart from political parties be a more effective method to stay reasonable?

Finally, do you think all the authors of these anti-Edwina comments realize just how alienating they are being? Not just to Republican atheists, but libertarian nonbelievers as well as independents? We might not be a majority, we might not be vocal, but w are there, and our support is important.

I didn’t actually expect to write this post. It just came out, I guess. I opened a new post to make a joke about this screen shot of an old Fox News video:

Why does 230 look so much larger than 211? Was Fox trying to trick people into thinking there was more Republican control than there actually was? Talk about manipulating visual representation of data!

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6 thoughts on “Edwina Rogers Controversy, or How the secular movement is alienating Republicans, libertarians, moderates, and independents

  1. “Finally, do you think all the authors of these anti-Edwina comments realize just how alienating they are being?”

    Have you really read the linked articles? Do you realize how alienating the SCA and Edwina are being? The woman cannot seem to answer straight questions, and does not appear to have any real understanding of the secular movement and how to communicate clearly to the people she’s been appointed to represent. Instead of blandly accepting being “slimy” as par for the course for lobbyists, a movement dedicated to reason and truth ought set a higher standard.

    • I always read the articles I link to. To do otherwise would be lacking in integrity. I do not agree at all that Edwina seems slimy, actually. I thought she did a good job of answering Greta’s questions, and I felt that she did have a decent understanding of our movement, especially for someone who hadn’t, up until now, been a big part of the movement. Has she been a part of the secular movement in the past? No. Does that mean she won’t do a good job? Absolutely not.

      I agree that “a movement dedicated to reason and truth ought to set a higher standard,” but I don’t think we’ve done so in the past.

      And finally, hearing everyone complain about her membership in the Republican party makes me want to abandon all association with the secular movement. It sends a pretty damn clear signal that people who are not at the very least left-leaning in all things are not very welcome in the movement.

      I find it insulting that you came to my blog and suggested I was linking to articles I haven’t read, especially given that I’m a skeptic, a freethinker and an atheist.

      • Well, I’m just a little surprised, since it seems evident to a lot of people that Edwina was prevaricating like mad in her interview with Greta. Her attempt to deflect Greta’s point that the GOP has traditionally been anti-choice and anti-gay-rights by claiming those weren’t actually party positions and only held by “some” Republicans was either an example of stunning cluelessness or flat dishonesty. And she dodged like mad when asked to justify her financial support for Rick Perry, who holds views in direct contravention to those Edwina claims to espouse herself.

        You’re free to disagree, but I think those of us who are skeptical of her are quite justified in feeling that way. Cheers.

        • I did find it odd that she didn’t seem to be aware that the anti-gay-rights and anti-choice positions are in the national party platform of the Republicans, but when she says that there are a lot of pro-choice and pro-gay rights Republicans in this country, I happen to believe she’s correct. The people who write the party platforms make up a tiny portion of Republicans – those that attend caucuses, primaries, and conventions. Having been to two Republican caucuses in the state of MN I can tell you the people that go are from the crazy religious right. Having gone to these caucuses, I can tell you why more moderate, reasonable Republicans (who are often pro-gay-rights and pro-choice) don’t attend those caucuses. It’s just not enjoyable to be personally attacked (or told that gay marriage will lead to people marrying inanimate objects) when you try to defend your position. In other words, it’s too unpleasant. I think that people entirely outside the Republican party are very unaware of how rank-and-file members feel about those issues.

          I definitely don’t get why she gave money to Perry, but I’d like to hear a longer explanation from Rogers.

          I don’t think there’s anything wrong with being skeptical of Rogers, but I think that skepticism should be applied to every new hire of the major secular organizations. And I don’t think she was prevaricating. Also, I should mention that I didn’t listen to the interview, I read it, so it is possible I missed verbal cues. I don’t have the time or patience to actually listen to the recording.

          • As she explained in her reddit AMA, the donation was part of a lobbying effort. NPR’s Planet Money blog did a piece on lobbying which highlights the manner in which politicians solicit donations from those attempting to gain access.

            [The Congressman] said, “I have put in two calls to your PAC director and I haven’t received any returned phone calls. Now why am I taking this meeting?” And he held up a piece of paper with my PAC director’s name highlighted in yellow on it with the dates and the times that he had called her to ask her for a campaign donation, and she hadn’t returned his call … He has warned me that if I don’t … [contribute] to his campaign, then he’s not going to help my guys.

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