Sunday, April 7, 2013
"Come and Take Our Reason!": A Call to Action
[NOTE from the Camel: The following article is a guest posting by my friend and atheist activist Rachel Harger. This important call to action should be of interest to all, but especially Texas freethinkers. If you reside in Texas, or know someone who does...please bring this important info to their attention. Thanks.]
In the war for Texas independence, there was a famous rallying cry, "Come and Take It", which referred to the cannon at the battle of Gonzales. In a struggle that will be far less hostile, but hopefully no less successful, the Secular Legislative Action Committee (SLAC) is creating a movement to inject reason into the Texas democratic process.
SLAC is an ad hoc group of Texas citizens seeking a rational state government. We support the Jeffersonian ideal that church and state remain separate as well as the Lone Star State`s long-standing belief in personal liberty and individuality.
Over the last two decades, these ideals have been eroded by a persistent few who wish to replace scientific principals and the First Amendment with their personal beliefs and a de facto state religion. Not only does this campaign of religiosity infringe upon our freedoms and impede progress, it also leads to unsound and wasteful legislation that negatively impacts our educational system, our health care system, and our economy.
The secular community in Texas is a fast growing segment of the population with 22% of Texans considering themselves non-religious, up from 12% just five years ago. That puts Texas above the national average as a home for the non-religious. For the legislators of Texas to truly represent their electorate, the voices of the secular community of Texas must be heard.
SLAC believes that all Texans should be able to compete for the best jobs with a quality education that is not distorted by religious fable and dogma, and all Texans deserve affordable health care and reproductive choice without the interference of religious doctrine. All Texans also deserve equality under the law, not discrimination based upon personal religious belief. We hold that these rights are directly linked to our state's economic vitality and that Texans deserve effective government policy based on scientific realities that will achieve these goals.
If you agree with these principles, then SLAC is advocating for you. If you are a Texas resident and state endorsed religious doctrine has affected your education, your health, your constitutional rights, or your employment, we would like to hear from you. Please send your stories and comments to firstname.lastname@example.org, or on Facebook at www.facebook.com/SlacSecularLegislativeActionCommittee. Please include a telephone number or email address where you can be reached. Your personal testimony could be an invaluable tool in persuading our legislature.
The current legislative session is considering an array of proposed bills that would remove religious influence in some cases, and increase it in others. HB (house bill) 2014 and SB (senate bill) 197 would require the notorious Texas School Board of Education to have public oversight on all changes made to public school curriculum. HB 51 would require the posting of the Ten Commandments in public school classrooms, but this bill is likely to die a slow death in committee. HB 2364 and SB 25 would make abortion illegal after twenty weeks.
House Bill 1300 would legalize same sex marriage; and for the first time ever, the Texas Legislature held a hearing concerning LGBT discrimination which included testimony from Fortune 500 companies in support of LGBT equality. For a more complete overview of the current legislative session, visit our website at www.slactx.org. For daily updates, you can also follow us on Twitter @slac_tx.
We seek and support rational leaders that know time is better spent taking meaningful action than on their knees in prayer. It is time for the secular community of Texas to demonstrate that philosophy. As SLAC-ers, we believe our future depends on it. Join SLAC on April 22nd to make our rallying cry for "Rational State Government" heard loud and clear. We will be in front of the Ten Commandments on the northwest side of the Capitol at 12:30pm. See you there!