Republican Tapped to Lead Secular Coalition for America

The Secular Coalition for America, a nontheist lobbying organization with 11 member organizations, has tapped longtime Republican lobbyist and staffer Edwina Rogers as its executive director.

Rogers has worked in both Bush White Houses, for the Republican National Committee, and for Republicans former Majority Leader Trent Lott and Senator Jeff Sessions.

According to a Q&A posted on the SCA website, Rogers says she has “always been a firm secularist and an ardent supporter of the separation of religion and government. I am passionate about increasing the respect for nontheists in the United States and protecting the secular character of our government. I think that America is a place where there should be no religious test for participation in political life. I certainly feel that theists should be fully able to participate in public life—but no more than nontheists. I am not here to end religion.”

About her party’s antipathy toward secularism, Rogers had this to say:

My Republican background will help open certain doors that may have been closed to the secular movement before. It’s a misnomer that the majority of Republicans believe in the comingling of religion and government. The Religious Right is a vocal part of the Republican Party, but it’s also a minority. Most Republicans don’t necessarily agree with them, but may simply take a laissez faire attitude on that particular topic because they haven’t been engaged on the issues. If we aim to combat the political influence of those who want to see religion inserted in our secular government we will have to work with decision makers on both sides of the aisle—and I am uniquely qualified to help the Secular Coalition do that.  

Her tenure will certainly be interesting to watch.

Sarah Posner, author of God’s Profits: Faith, Fraud, and the Republican Crusade for Values Voters, covers politics and religion. Her work has appeared in The Washington Post, The Guardian, The Atlantic, The American ProspectThe NationSalon, and other publications. Follow her on TwitterRSS feed Email