Thursday, June 12, 2008

Secularist Support

*turns on lights*

Okay, the first meeting of the Pledge Project volunteers will now come to order.

Roll call....

Alonzo Fyfe.


Okay, we have a quarum.

Our first order of business:

Atheist Ethicist received a comment on a blog entry concerning the activities of In God We Trust - America. This organization is attempting to get the national motto posted in all government buildings. The commenter in this case spoke up against one city's plan to post the national motto. As a result (or so it seems reasonable to believe) her house was vandalized.

I propose that we lobby an organization that fights in defense of separation of church and state to set up a way of providing support for people such as this who stand up for secular values. I propose sending a letter to Americans United for the Separation of Church and State encouraging them to adopt such a policy.

I nominate Alonzo Fyfe to draft the letter.

Letter drafted:


My name is Alonzo Fyfe. I run a blog called Atheist Ethicist ( in which I am currently focusing on the issues of 'In God We Trust" as the National Motto and "under God" in the Pledge of Allegiance.

One of my postings concerned the activities of a group called In God We Trust - America, whose goal is to get the national motto displayed in every civic building in the country.

In response to my posting on this issue, I received a comment from a woman whose house was vandalized as a result to standing up against the posting of such a display.

See Los Angeles Daily News, Vandals hit home of Lancaster City Council Critic (

This is one of several stories that I have heard about people who have stood up for secularist principles suffering great costs. Some of them have faced vandalism. Others have been forced to move and are at risk of physical injury. I know that you are well aware of these risks.

I believe that these people deserve our support, and that we do not do ourselves any favors by forcing such a heavy load onto so few soldiers.

I looked through your web site to discover whether you provide some sort of assistance - other than legal assistance - for individuals standing up for secular values. I could not find mention of these types of services, so I thought I would recommend them.

Specifically, I would like to ask if you would consider setting up a victims' support fund to provide some sort of compensation for people who incur costs that can be reasonably attributed to their decision to stand up for secular values - people like the woman mentioned in this article.

Given your limited resources, I am not asking that you actually provide this help. Rather, I think it would be useful for your organization to serve as a conduit that reports on these moral crimes, collects contributions from those who would like to help the victims, and then passes that support on to the victims.

Sometimes the best help for somebody who takes a stand on this issue is simply to send them a note of appreciation. Unfortunately, posting their names and addresses on line only makes them more vulnerable to attack. An option that avoids this risk would be for an agency such as yours to collect the well-wishes for these people (which may well include money and other gifts) and to forward them to the intended recipient.

This site would serve two purposes.

First, it will provide assistance to those who have been made to suffer for the act of standing up for freedoms that we all share.

Second, it will serve to publish and make people aware of the types of violence that secualrists are subject to - something better than anecdotal evidence and rumors.

If you decide to set up such a project, please let me know. I would be honored to be one of the first contributors to such a project.


Alonzo Fyfe
Atheist Ethicist

All of those in favor of sending this letter say aye.


All those opposed . . .


The ayes have it.

Motion carries.

Meeting ajourned.

we will convene again this evening.

*turns off lights*


Eneasz said...

I am writing them as well in support of this. Thank you for the excellent idea! In the meantime, is there any way to help this person directly, right now?

Eneasz said...

I also pledged a dollar amount directly to such a support fund in my email, should it be set up. It wasn't much, but hopefully if they get enough emails pledging enough total dollars they may be more willing to expend the resources to cover the set-up costs.