New Paper: The "Personhood" Movement Versus Individual Rights
Despite the defeats of "personhood" measures in 2008 and 2010, Colorado voters will once again vote on a proposed constitutional amendment to grant all the rights of born persons to zygotes, embryos, and fetuses in November 2014.
The Coalition for Secular Government is pleased to announce an updated and expanded paper on the "personhood" movement by Diana Hsieh and Ari Armstrong, titled "The 'Personhood' Movement Versus Individual Rights: Why It Matters that Rights Begin at Birth, Not Conception." The paper is currently available for download as a PDF or for reading as an HTML page.
Coalition for Secular Government
The Coalition for Secular Government advocates government solely based on secular principles of individual rights. The protection of a person's basic rights to life, liberty, property, and the pursuit of happiness -- including freedom of religion and conscience -- requires a strict separation of church and state.
- We oppose any laws or policies based on religious scripture or dogma, such as restrictions on abortion and government discrimination against gays.
- We oppose any government promotion of religion, such as the teaching of "intelligent design" in government schools and tax-funded "faith-based initiatives."
- We oppose any special exemptions or privileges based on religion by government, such as exemptions for churches from the tax law applicable to other non-profits.
The only proper government is a secular government devoted to the protection of individual rights.
The Coalition for Secular Government seeks to educate the public about the necessary secular foundation of a free society, particularly the principles of individual rights and separation of church and state.
Educate Yourself about Secular Government
- Read Politics without God, the blog of the Coalition for Secular Government. Check out CSG's published writings, including its commentary on Colorado's defeated personhood amendments: Amendment 48 and Amendment 62.
- Join CSG's "News" e-mail list to receive weekly alerts about about our activities. (The list is hosted on Google Groups, so you will need to log into your Google Account, or create an account, to subscribe. E-mail Diana Hsieh about any technical problems.)
- Read "The 'Personhood' Movement Versus Individual Rights: Why It Matters that Rights Begin at Birth, Not Conception by Diana Hsieh and Ari Armstrong. (That's the PDF, and it's also available as an HTML page.) The 'Personhood' Movement Is Anti-Life: Why It Matters that Rights Begin at Birth, Not Conception a new policy paper by Ari Armstrong and Diana Hsieh.
- Remember the First Amendment: "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof..."
- Read the "Virginia Act for Establishing Religious Freedom" drafted by Thomas Jefferson.
- Read "Memorial and Remonstrance against Religious Assessments", James Madison's denunciation of a proposal for state funding of Christian teachers as "a dangerous abuse of power."
- Read Thomas Jefferson's famous letter to the Danbury Baptists in which he claims that the First Amendment "build[s] a wall of separation between Church and State."
- Read John F. Kennedy's classic speech advocating total separation of church and state.
- Read Ayn Rand's essay "Man's Rights" on the secular basis of individual rights and the proper purpose of government.
- Read "Religion Versus America", philosopher Leonard Peikoff's 1986 essay on the secular foundation of America -- and the Religious Right's attempt to destroy it.
- Read Craig Biddle's essay "Religion vs. Free Speech" on the incompatibility of religious law and freedom of speech.
- Review our full list of resources on individual rights, secular government, and the evils of entangling religion and politics.
Promote Secular Government
- Educate yourself about the history and significance of secular government. Learn about the myriad attempts to entangle church and state in America today, such as "faith-based initiatives" and restrictions on abortion.
- Speak to your friends, co-workers, neighbors, and associates about the necessity of a strict separation of church and state in a free society. Deny that rights are gifts from God. Instead, defend individual rights based on natural facts, i.e. as a requirement of human life in society. Reject the myth that the United States was founded as a Christian nation. Instead, show the secular roots of America's freedoms.
- Write web comments, letters to the editor, and op-eds opposing any religious-based laws, government promotion of religion, and special exemptions for religious groups. Such laws and policies violate every person's freedom of religion.
- Tell your representatives, candidates for office, and party officials that you support secular government and the strict separation of church and state. Tell them that their religious views should be a purely private matter, not public policy.
- Alert people to the existence of the Coalition for Secular Government. Point them to our web site:
- Join the Coalition's "Activists" e-mail list to become an informed activist for secular government. This informal, unmoderated list will alert you to opportunities to speak out in favor of secular government, offer advice for doing so effectively, and more. To subscribe to this list, you must (1) endorse the Coalition's mission statement and (2) aim to regularly engage in some form of activism for secular government. Activism can be as easy as posting web comments, forwarding e-mails, and speaking to friends about the importance of secular government. (The list is hosted on Google Groups, so you will need to log into your Google Account, or create an account, to subscribe. E-mail Diana Hsieh about any technical problems.)