The mission of Openly Secular is to eliminate discrimination and increase acceptance by getting secular people – including atheists, freethinkers, agnostics, humanists and nonreligious people – to be open about their beliefs.
Discrimination is rampant against those who are secular. Teens are made homeless after being thrown out of their homes; young activists receive death threats; people lose relationships with friends, family, and coworkers for not believing the same. A 2014 Pew research study, for example, showed 53% of people would be less likely to vote for someone who does not believe in God. Gay and even adulterous candidates were less discriminated against.
Who We Are
In addition, we are working with a big tent of people from all across the secular spectrum – nonreligious groups including atheists, freethinkers, humanists, agnostics, and even the spiritual but not religious. We are also working with the nontheistic religious: people like deists, secular Jews, humanistic Unitarians, ethical culturists, and other religious humanists who are skeptical of theistic claims.
We additionally seek to bring in Allies and Corporate Partners from outside of the movement: groups that support equality and fight discrimination such as LGBT groups, interfaith and civil liberties organizations, and other potential allied groups. These groups will provide guidance and help promote the campaign after it launches, and will be allowed to reprint and utilize with their own logos any brochures and printed resources that are created.
The goal of this particular campaign is not to criticize religion or religious people; acceptance and respect do not mean we have to agree or water down our secular position in order to get along. Religious individuals don’t have to agree with the beliefs of religious skeptics to accept them and respect their right to be who they are. We look to religious people as allies in ending discrimination.
We further understand that nobody is a perfect skeptic, and welcome everyone who strives to form opinions on the basis of logic, reason, and empiricism, rather than authority, tradition, or dogma. If you are nonreligious or are religious but skeptical of supernaturalism, we want to work with you to be open about it!
Breaking Down Discrimination and Building Love Through Narrative
We believe increasing visibility of secular people will lower prejudice against them, much in the same way as has occurred in the LGBT community. “For example, 68% of those who know a lot of people who are gay or lesbian favor marriage equality, compared with just 32% of those who don’t know anyone.” (Pew Research, June 2013) Secular people will realize they are not alone when they are open and others say, “So am I.”
We will tell stories of pain to show how discrimination hurts and why it needs to end – like that of Damon Fowler, a high school student kicked out of his home when he came out of the atheist closet; or Adriana Ramirez and Margaret Doughty, who were denied U.S. citizenship because their morality is humanist/secular, not religiously-based.
We will tell narratives of joy to demonstrate our values of Acceptance, Reason, and Love; express what we believe, show how love can ﬂow despite differences, and that people are glad they became open. Ultimately, we strive to save relationships that might be lost to misunderstanding.
How You Can Help
All these exciting developments are why we need support of people like you. Doing these things costs money, especially to do them well and professionally. Working with a top-tier national PR firm and accessing celebrities is expensive work. Research has shown that most people – even in our community – don’t know that our fellow secular people still face tremendous discrimination. Secular students and teens face physical and verbal bullying at school and at home; some have even been abandoned by their families. Secular adults deal with being socially ostracized, being denied U.S. citizenship, and the risk losing their jobs, businesses or child visitation rights. This prejudice is a serious issue and needs to be addressed. This is your issue, and we need you to be a part of the solution. Please donate and get involved!