When it comes to separation of church and state issues and promoting reason over religious dogma, the Richard Dawkins Foundation for Reason and Science's new website, Innovating for a secular world, promises to deliver a powerful punch for activists and those interested in learning more about the issues.
The site, which is currently in beta form, incorporates strategies and points raised in Attack of the Theocrats: How the Religious Right Harms Us All and What to Do About It, authored by the Foundation's Director of Strategy & Policy, Sean Faircloth. Faircloth served five terms in the Maine Legislature, and on the Judiciary and Appropriations Committees. In his last term Faircloth was elected Majority Whip by his colleagues. He was the Executive Director of the Secular Coalition for America.
When it comes to religion in America, the fastest growing "faith group" is the "nones," prompting the late right wing evangelist, Chuck Colson, to issue a "2 minute warning" shortly before his death. Even women — historically the more faithful of the American community — are shunning church in record numbers, closing the un-churched gender gap.
"It is time to leave superstition behind and embrace the beauty and challenges of the world without supernatural beings. We are a fast growing movement of people from all over the world, who use critical thinking to overcome religious fundamentalism, intolerance, and human suffering," the site explains. This forward thinking vision will appeal to the growing number of young people who no longer believe in gods. In fact, not only is a belief in deities declining, but declining numbers of young Americans agree with the statements “Prayer is an important part of my daily life” and “We all will be called before God at the Judgment Day to answer for our sins.”
Innovative issue framing and organizing are part of the site's vision. Members of the team leading the movement include Richard Dawkins, DSc, FRS, best-selling author and evolutionary biologist, Elisabeth Cornwell, PhD, evolutionary psychologist who, among other things, helped to create the OUT Campaign for atheists, Sean Faircloth, and Dr. Andy Thomson, psychologist who is well known for his work, Why We Believe in Gods: A Concise Guide to the Science of Faith.
Innovating for a secular world will be a catalyst for organizing in all 50 states and to ensure that secular voices will be heard on the national stage during the 2016 presidential election. The effort will not involve endorsing candidates but will involve organizing to have secular issues and values heard. There will be training, fundraising and other pragmatic measures to help with organizing a powerful political force for justice and secular values.
In a speech given in Madison, Wisconsin, Faircloth urged secularists to become active, citing the religious right's success in organizing and creating political power (see video below). Injustices toward children because of religion, discrimination, poor education, and other human rights abuses are just some of the issues that the ten point plan will address. Noting that secular Americans are not on a "mission from God," under the ten point Innovating for a Secular World plan, "We will bring back James Madison's Constitution. We will bring back Thomas Jefferson's First Amendment. And we will bring back Jack Kennedy's America, where in Jack Kennedy's words … 'the separation of church and state is absolute.'"
The secular vision will offer positive, uplifting solutions for all, religious and non-religious, and put fundamentalism on the defensive. It will also address the "religio-industrial complex" — an industry that has grown drastically over the past 40 years that has enriched itself at taxpayer expense.