New Utah Caucus Aims to Advance Secularism in Politics

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah – The Utah Democratic Party has approved the creation of the first secular caucus in the state, a move partly designed to separate Church and State in the legislature.

Utah has long been recognized as one of the most conservative states in the country due to the prevalence of Mormonism, but in recent years the state’s political landscape has been shifting toward the left. Although Utah voters have historically favored conservative social policies, the state is home to a large secular population, with 31% of people in the state identifying as nonreligious, according to data from Gallup.

To help advance this secularization trend, the Central Committee of the Utah Democratic Party recently approved the creation of the first ever secular caucus in the state. In a statement on Wednesday, several high-profile Utah liberals lauded the decision as an important development.

“The idea of creating a Secular Caucus has generated a lot of excitement and enthusiasm amongst Democrats and Independents in Utah,” said Daisy Thomas, co-founder of the secular caucus. “We are receiving dozens of messages of interest and positive feedback thanking us for bringing this voice to the table. We want people of all beliefs, including nonreligious Utahns, to have the same opportunity to shape politics in our state, and we believe a clear separation between church and state protects all of our freedoms.”

Daniel Hicken, a practicing Mormon, is likewise excited about the new secular caucus.

“In recent years I have watched with dismay as legislation was enacted under the auspices of varied branches of Christianity in states across our country,” he stated. “At the moment, this legislation might not hurt those of my faith. But what of others? How can I turn a blind eye as others suffer the trial my own family lived through?”

Once it is made official after a procedural vote next month, the caucus will fight for the advancement of secularism and the separation of church and state in Utah legislation.

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“The religiously unaffiliated are the single largest religious demographic in the Democratic party and the fastest growing nationwide, yet our constituency has largely been ignored by the party establishment,” noted Sarah Levin, a senior legislative representative at the Secular Coalition for America. “That is why we are empowering secular activists to educate party leadership about secular values and create a space to speak up for those values within their party.”

Utah Democrats were reportedly inspired to create the secular caucus after attending the 2016 Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia and hearing about secular coalitions in other states.

“This is exciting news for atheists in Utah,” opined atheist blogger Hemant Mehta.

Meanwhile, others have made the argument that secularism is ultimately antithetical to American values. David Lane, an evangelical Christian political activist and founder of the American Renewal Project, says most of the country’s founders had a firm belief in God.

“It is easily defended that Christianity birthed America, its first governing document written and signed by the Pilgrims before debarking the Mayflower in 1620: ‘Having undertaken, for the Glory of God, and advancements of the Christian faith…,” Lane wrote in a column for Charisma News. “America’s Founders were convinced that they were ‘a people chosen by God with ideals to realize and a religious mission to fulfill: One nation under God.’ Secularism and Christianity are distinct religions.”


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  • The Skeptical Chymist

    As a Utah resident and a non-Mormon, I can say unequivocally that a greater degree of separation between church and state is highly desirable in Utah. The Mormon hegemony in this state is something that everyone of a different faith, or of no faith, should seek to end.

    • JustNTyme

      I’m sure every Mormon the state would be glad to help you pack.

      You clowns with your oppression narrative. Blubbering like little girls.

      • Tangent002

        Happy Holidays!

      • Ambulance Chaser

        He doesn’t want to leave.

      • john Johnson

        The government belongs just as much to people of other faiths, or no faith.
        Almost exactly 1/3 of Americans do not identify as being associated with any religion, though most of them identify as “religious”. And that demographic is growing.

  • Michael C

    I think many Christians have a general fear of the word secular. When describing our government, the word secular doesn’t mean atheistic or anti-religious. Not at all. It simply means that the government is not an agent of any one religion. In order to respect all citizen’s religious beliefs equally, the government does not enter into the fray of religious belief. That’s it.

    Most people who support the fact that our government is secular in nature are, in fact, Christian.

    In my opinion, supporting our secular government is a very “Christian thing to do” because it’s a form of showing respect to your neighbor and allowing the personal free will granted by the God of the bible.

    • JustNTyme

      Um, we pay taxes, doofus, so we support the secular government. I bet you don’t even make enough to pay taxes.

    • Meepestos

      Though the person that came up with the term secularism was an agnostic, he recognized there was light and guidance not only in Christianity, but other religions as well, and that a social order separate from religion would maintain a tolerance that would benefit the welfare of future pluralistic societies like some of the progressive Western countries we see today where Cultural Christians, practicing Christians, and other religious folk exist that embrace the idea of a secular society where beliefs and cultures other than those of Christians (that of course do not violate one’s human rights) are encouraged and promoted even at times by government without having to actively dismiss or criticize religious belief. Not perfect societies, but when I see how governments and its citizens, religious and non-religious working together to maintain secularist ideals, it reminds me of other Western nations lacking this to a great extent or partly like El Salvador and Greece to name a few that obstruct the advancement of civil rights – The government in El Salvador created a law, that the hierarchy in the Catholic Church played a key role in, that prohibited abortion under any circumstance to the point that poor women were being imprisoned for having miscarriages. Usually the poor uneducated and disenfranchised women who miscarry are liable to find themselves jailed (some already have been jailed) for murder even though there’s no way to tell a miscarriage from a medically induced abortion.

      In Greece due to the lack of secularism we see the affects of a constitution that prohibits proselytism of religions that are not Christian Orthodox due to government allowing the influence of only one church for the sake of “culture”. Nowadays kids in primary and secondary school in Greece attend Christian Orthodox instruction. Though there is an exemption, it must be requested by their parents. Those kids are put in an awkward position in that it creates the stigma that they are “not fully Greek”. Up until 2000 religious affiliation was on a Greek ID and because of this it limited many people’s opportunities career wise and even getting something simple as a passport due to discrimination.

    • Meepestos

      “supporting our secular government is a very “Christian thing to do””

      This is interesting in that I have met Christians that have made the claim that Christianity helped paved the way for secularism while other vehemently disagree.

      • Gehennah

        Same.

        Sye Ten, for example, thinks that a Christian Theocracy is the best form of government that there shouldn’t be a separation.

        • Meepestos

          It’s obvious Sye Ten never had to live under a Christian or Christian-like theocracy that was limited and enforced only one denomination backed by a Junta that was backed by a church and some powerful Christian conservatives from the US.

  • Kaz

    Well, isn’t that precious? The atheist blogger Hemant Mehta is excited. Odd to feel excited by hating your fellow human beings.

    • johndoe

      You just showed your IQ deficiency. Atheists dont have hatred. They just don’t believe in any gods.

      • Kaz

        Atheists don’t hate? Well, I’ll be darned.

        I guess all those millions of dead people in the Soviet Union and China were loved to death. Or maybe they were just playing possum.

        Glad you told me atheists don’t hate, I never realized how far above us normal human beings they are. Maybe since they’re so superior to the rest of us explains why they commit genocides, they’re exterminating all us nasty people who are inferior to them.

        • Meepestos

          What about the theists that helped the communists stamp out others’ religious freedoms and rival organizations in the USSR or the theists that engaged in mass murders involving national and ethnic motivations during Stalin’s reign? not to mention many theists and atheists alike in regards to being opportunists seeking revenge or mere survival that participated directly or indirectly with the demise of those they had disdain for such as other ethnic folk, nationalities (This disdain flared up again after the collapse of the USSR especially in its former satellite states) and the disdain for those like Russian Orthodox and Czar sympathizers that they blamed for Stalinism to take root.

          What about that of the initiatives of those that were still theists civilians and local authorities in the USSR who willingly subscribed to the policies of ethnic cleansing and the deportation of folk such as Russian Gypsies, Chinese, Koreans, Kurds, and Turks for their own benefit. No hate involved whatsoever? What oppressed folk did back then to those they thought less of in order to avoid being “resettled” forcibly to places such as Siberia or a desert in Uzbekistan, is terrible.

          Have you not heard of theists such as Hitler? Or how about Robert Mugabe and the unfortunate Ndebele people? Or how about Kaiser Wilhelm II and the Herero genocide? Tsar Nicholas II?

          imagine the numbers that would have been killed by theists prior to the 20th century if they had the surplus populations and weaponry of the 20th century. Mind you, Christian despots of the 20th century did not have the large territories and populaces like that of Russia’s Stalin or Mao’s China.

          As Ken Campbell put it: “Either you want to compare wars and murders done in the name of theism/atheism, or you want to compare wars and murders done by leaders to subscribe to theism/atheism. Once you set the parameters of the comparison, an honest analysis can be done.”

        • johndoe

          Too ridiculous for words! I guess that makes all christians just like Westboro Baptist Church. Mental midgets are everywhere on these forums.

        • Meepestos

          “Maybe since they’re so superior to the rest of us explains why they commit genocides, they’re exterminating all us nasty people who are inferior to them.”

          As if theists haven’t felt superior like those that fell for Social Darwinism that already held theologically based racist views that found negative eugenics and Social Darwinism appealing like those in Germany that followed their fuhrer.

          I’m guessing you forgot about the many racists and segregationists that were theists and used and embraced Social Darwinism in order to justify their theologically based racism (theology based racism that existed long before eugenics) as in justifying slavery and believing other races can be superior to others.

        • David Cromie

          All those people you mention, were killed by absolutist tyrants, and some of them, such as Hitler and Stalin were christians, No doubt cultural residual religious beliefs were also behind China’s actions.

      • Meepestos

        Seems more so the lack of understanding the complexities of the atrocities under Stalin’s regime and Soviet persecution than an IQ deficiency ; ) time will tell…

    • john Johnson

      Unlike Christianity there are no tenets of atheism.
      And one has only to look at the legislation being passed by some states to see that it is motivated by hatred, fueled by ignorance and belief in fundamentalist doctrine.

  • john doe

    Guess what happens when people become more secular?
    They contribute less to charity. That’s right – huge gap between religious and non-religious Americans when it comes to charity. And of course, Americans are much more generous givers than the people of secularized Europe.

    So, this is supposed to be a good thing? Increasing people’s stinginess and selfishness? Hello?

    • This style 10/6

      Europe generally has a far better social safety net than the US. So people are looked after by the state as a matter of policy. No need to humble yourself to a god to get a handout.

      • bowie1

        Having cousins in the Netherlands I know that. However, they also have very high taxes so most have to live in row houses. Only the wealthiest can afford a standalone single family home. Some, like the late cartoonist Marten Toonder, moved to Ireland to pay less taxes on his income.

        • This style 10/6

          Nothing wrong with a row house, they are common in Europe. He will have to pay for his health care in Ireland..

          • bowie1

            Since Mr. Toonder passed away in 2005 he will no longer have to pay taxes-to anyone.

          • This style 10/6

            My point still stands.

    • Meepestos

      Here is an example of what can happen when religious folk become more secular, an example is secular muslims of the now defunct Muslim Canadian Congress that opposed a proposal years ago by The Canadian Islamic Congress to permit sharia tribunals “to which Muslims could voluntarily submit civil disputes and whose findings would then have legal weight under the Arbitration Act” in Ontario. The government rejected the proposal. The good outcome of this past process was the scrapping of existing religious arbitration tribunals for Jews and Christians thanks to secularists.

      “They contribute less to charity.” It is not that black and white and there are complexities to consider. One of many examples is some of the most progressive and secular or irreligious regions of North America, are cities and communities where those have to spend a lot just to live in an apartment let alone other expenses. like in Vancouver and some of its suburbs where living under a simple roof is now a luxury or NYC and San Fran where renting can be very expensive costing the middle-class well over half their month’s income. A younger generation is sharing accommodations and even borrowing money just to make ends meet. Something not even heard of in my day for someone on minimum wage. Mind you, I’d kiss Vancouver or San Fran goodbye if I was a youth and move on to a place where the cost of living would allow some disposable income to better myself and the ability to donate my time and some money to charity; working tow jobs would be difficult.

      In some countries in Europe charities are not as necessary locally, as some countries have great social safety nets though many do contribute their time to charity i.e., Childrens’ Hospitals, Hospices, etc.. Also monies to other nations not to mention secular organizations like Amnesty International, United Nations Children’s Fund, Rotary International, and Doctors without Borders to name a few.

      I never required charity even when I was unemployed or required medical attention, as I have never had to pay for any surgeries, treatment, or hospitalization or ever had to worry about losing my home or job because of it because it was paid for by a publicly funded health care system provided by private entities. Also a law that requires my employer to accommodate any disability that may occur even if I can no longer do my actual job description. This has happened to a friend of mine and the employer had to retrain him at their expense for another position in the company, mind you wasn’t great position, but it did not affect his health and was able to contribute to his pension plans until he retired.

    • David Cromie

      Why is it that the UK donates more per capita to worthy causes than do ‘christian’ Americans?

    • JustThink

      Studies have shown the non religious to be just as charitable once you remove the inflated numbers from Christians donating to their own churches. And while some of that church money goes toward meeting the actual needs of the people, much of it does not. So, counting money raised to send audio bibles to Syrian refugees should not really be seen as more charitable than donating money to help feed starving children.

  • Darlene

    Great, so the coastal atheists want to impose their worldview on flyover America. Then they’ll turn around and congratulate themselves for being “inclusive” and “multicultural.” What a bunch of fascist hypocrites.

    • Ambulance Chaser

      What exactly do you think creating a caucus in a legislature is?

  • Robert

    CHRISTIANS leave one church and Mostly join up and show up in another christian church .. When Mormons leave their church it most often for atheism. According to pastor Mark Cares of truth and love ministries to Mormons.

    • john Johnson

      Which Jesus of the Bible?
      The one who preached love?
      Or the one who said:
      ◄ Luke 14:26 ► NIV
      “If anyone comes to me and does not hate father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters–yes, even their own life–such a person cannot be my disciple.”

  • michael louwe

    Since the 1960s, the liberal Democrats pander for the minority votes n seek to divide the majority White-vote by pandering to special interest groups(= selfish n greedy) like unions, feminists, the poor, LGBTQs, etc. This is their modus operandi to defeat the conservative Republicans in national/Federal elections.
    ……. The seculars/atheists r the latest of this group to be pandered by the liberal Democrats.

    • john Johnson

      It is the right which seeks to set people against one another.
      Blaming welfare for the state of the economy? The blame goes to Reaganomics and corporate welfare. And to the industrial war complex. The most powerful military on the face of the earth does not need to grow more powerful every year. And we should be paying military contractors for products that don’t live up to the contractor’s promises.

      Chaney Haliburton Industries made billions off of an illegal “no bid” contract pushed through by Bush because of the non-existent emergency of responding to 9/11.

  • Grace Kim Kwon

    The Mormons need to read all of the Holy Scripture and take it as it is.

    • john Johnson

      Trinitarianism isn’t biblical
      And to take everything in the bible as correct is impossible. You cannot believe two statements which are opposed to one another.
      Genesis I and II area perfect example.
      Adam cannot have been created before the animals and after them. And Eve cannot have been created from Adam’s rib yet created at the same time as Adam.

      • Grace Kim Kwon

        The doctrine of the Holy Trinity is the only honest conclusion that the entire Holy Bible makes. Any other conclusion omits Bible statements massively one or another. Genesis chapter 1 is a bigger, overall description of God’s creation work, and chapter 2 is a detailed one including the explanation of chapter 1. Such literary technique has been adopted and seen everywhere. The Christian West invented public schools for all children to read and interpret the Holy Bible correctly. Education is for reading the Word of God by mankind.

        • john Johnson

          In Genesis Yahweh is referring to his wife Ashera.
          And no. They are contradictory.
          Genesis 1:24-27 states that humans were created after the other animals, and the first man and woman were created simultaneously. While Genesis 2:18-22 states that man was created first, then the animals and only then the woman from the man’s rib. After no suitable help meet was found among the animals.
          2:20 And Adam gave names to all cattle, and to the fowl of the air, and to every beast of the field; but for Adam there was not found an help meet for him.

          Then there is
          And on the 7th day he rested verses
          God neither tires nor rests.

          And no to public education as well.

          • Grace Kim Kwon

            You are talking about filthy pagan myths. God does not marry and nor angels do. Marriage to Israel is a figurative language for worship of God alone instead of polytheism. The creation order is animals, man, and then woman. God brought the animals which He had created to Adam. God ceased from His creation works on the 7th day. He does not rest in the way He cannot work to save Israel. Read every context.

          • john Johnson

            1) The Bible says you are not to rely on your own understand. You cannot reconcile the two accounts without adding interpretation to one or both passages.
            I’m talking about early Judaism.
            And I didn’t misquote Genesis 2:20.
            “… But for Adam there was not found an help meet for him.” Only when none of the animals proved suitable was Eve created.

            And, again… early civilizations had public education. In Greece it was in the gymnasia.

          • Grace Kim Kwon

            Just read the accounts. To know early Judaism, just read the Old Testament Bible and nothing else. Yes, animals existed before Adam was made. No, no other civilization had public education. Professional education belonged to elites alone and favored males alone on the pagan Planet Earth; Bible-literate Christendom alone made every child educated so everyone could read the Holy Bible.

          • john Johnson

            To know early Judaism look at the temples, tablets, etc.

          • Grace Kim Kwon

            It all points towards Jesus of Nazareth, the Divine Messiah and the Saviour of the world.

            Jesus said to the Jews: “You search the Scriptures, for in them you think you have eternal life; and these are they which testify of Me. But you are not willing to come to Me that you may have life. I do not receive honor from men. But I know you, that you do not have the love of God in you. I have come in My Father’s name, and you do not receive Me;

            if another comes in his own name, him you will receive. How can you believe, who receive honor from one another, and do not seek the honor that comes from the only God? Do not think that I shall accuse you to the Father; there is one who accuses you—Moses, in whom you trust. For if you believed Moses, you would believe Me; for he wrote about Me. But if you do not believe his writings, how will you believe My words?” ( John chapter 5)

          • john Johnson

            The majority of Jews didn’t accept him as the Christos because he didn’t fulfill most of the prophesies.
            And John didn’t write the book that bears his name.

          • Grace Kim Kwon

            You are wrong. The Jews rejected Jesus because then-Jews were evil and was not their time yet. John did write the Gospels and three epistles. There are both internal and external evidences for His authorship. Lord Jesus perfected the Law of Moses. The Law is eternal because Jesus fulfilled it and the application continues forever. Christians take the spiritual application for ritual and ethnic laws and keep all the moral laws as His people. We are not to do what Christ has done and are not under the Law’s curse from being short-coming. OT has 600+ laws but NT has over 1000+ commands for Christians to live out. The moral laws overlap. You need to read into the Holy Bible for correct theology.

          • john Johnson

            WOW!
            That you are saved by grace does not mean that God doesn’t expect you to obey his eternal laws. God does not change his mind. So he did not change it 2,000 years ago.
            ” I am not as the shifting Shadows. I do not change. Therefore o Israel thou are not swept away”.

          • David Cromie

            Your last sentence is patently untrue, if you know anything about Roman Catholicism, which you seem not to. Get an education!

          • Grace Kim Kwon

            Although I meant mostly Protestant Christian missionaries, Roman Catholic priests did establish orphanages, schools, and hospitals everywhere on Planet Earth. Secular Westerners are too ignorant on Christian West’s contribution for all mankind. They think schools for all children just popped up like a big bang. Wrong. It’s the creation of American Puritans.

          • john Johnson

            Non-religious charities contribute as much as 90% of donated monies to needy causes. If churches donated just 20% we could wipe out world hunger.
            We’ve already established that Greece had the equivalent of public schools. Boys and Girls learned reading, writing, and philosophy in the gymnasia.
            And one of the first things the Puritans did upon arriving in the new land was to raid Indian villages and burial sites for supplies. This was followed shortly by hanging one of their own for idolatry. A small crucifix was discovered among her belongings, and she would not repudiate it.

          • Grace Kim Kwon

            You are wrong. Puritans did only good, and schools were created for children to learn the Holy Bible. The raiders were greedy merchants just like today. If a man cannot keep the land properly, bigger tribes take it. God punished the world for barbarism using the West, and the proud West was punished by two great wars but it seems they refused to get a lesson because now they persecute the Christians for not-supporting Sodomy. Unthinkable. You guys have no sanity apart from Christianity. Outside of USA, people already suffered and know atheism’s brutal reign. You guys are 100 years behind in understanding humanity.

          • john Johnson

            The Puritans arrived in America late in the growing season and most of their crops died with little yield. So they stole from the Indians.
            What happened to “Thou shalt not steal”? And “Thou shalt not kill”?
            And the BIBLE … REQUIRES that you obey civil Authority.

            And we understand Christian Theocracies all too well. That’s why the United States was founded as a secular nation.

          • TheKingOfRhye

            “The Puritans arrived in America late in the growing season and most of their crops died with little yield. So they stole from the Indians. ”

            Those must have been not true Scotsm…er, I mean Puritans.