Secularism takes over religion newswriters

To judge from the exhibitors at last weekend's conference.

Center For Inquiry poster

Center For Inquiry poster

OK, that’s an exaggeration. There was plenty of religion floating around the Religion Newswriters Association annual meeting in Decatur, Georgia last weekend.

But about half the exhibitors in the hall of the convention center represented one or another form of secularist activism, including the venerable Center for Inquiry, the American Humanist Association, American Atheists (“A Non-Prophet Organization”), the Secular Coalition for America, and the Secular Student Alliance.

Breakfast on Saturday was sponsored by the Openly Secular Coalition, recently formed “to Highlight and Overcome Discrimination Against Nonreligious & Atheists.” The highlight of its presentation was a video featuring a multi-cultural array of attractive Americans who could have walked straight out of  the LDS Church’s “I’m a Mormon” campaign.

After testifying to their unbelief, they’d announce, “And I’m openly secular!” Slightly detracting from the message was the Coalition’s orange wristband incised with those words barely legible. At least I have to squint to read it more than a foot away.

Openly Secular Coalition wristband

Openly Secular Coalition wristband

Whatever, it’s clearly the case that, social prejudice or no social prejudice, the secularists believe the Force is with them. As they kept reminding their auditors, self-identified Nones are now 20 percent of America’s adult population and rising.

And everybody knows it. No wonder Pew is reporting that nearly three-quarters of Americans now think religion is losing its influence on American life. And I’m not going to be the one to say that the vox populi is mistaken.