Rhode Island’s own Senator Sheldon Whitehouse will be addressing an audience made up of atheists, agnostics, Humanists, freethinkers and other nontheistic Americans at high noon on Friday, June 13th in Washington DC for the 2014 Secular Summit & Lobby Day, according to the Secular Coalition for America (SCA), the group holding the event. The SCA was founded to “increase the visibility of and respect for nontheistic viewpoints in the United States, and to protect and strengthen the secular character of our government as the best guarantee of freedom for all,” according to its mission statement. Locally, the organization is endorsed by the Humanists of Rhode Island.
Senator Whitehouse is an excellent choice for speaker at an event where the participants will be more concerned with science and facts than with religion and theology. Whitehouse has taken a strong stand on the dangers of climate change (as should be expected of a Senator from the “Ocean” State) and has maintained a pro-science stance on the issue. He famously rebuked Republican lawmakers who believe that Climate Change is unimportant because “God won’t allow us to ruin our planet” just over a year ago in one of his “Time to Wake Up” speeches, asking,
We are to continue to pollute our Earth, with literally megatons each year of carbon, heating up our atmosphere, acidifying our seas, knowing full well by His natural laws what the consequences are, and instead of correcting our own behavior, we’re going to bet on a miracle? That’s the plan?
Sheldon Whitehouse is not an atheist. He identifies as an Episcopalian, and speaking before an audience of Humanists and atheists is bound to get some people inappropriately riled up. The local chapter of the SCA, the Secular Coalition of Rhode Island, as well as the Humanists of Rhode Island and many more unaffiliated atheists, agnostics, Humanists and freethinkers appreciate the Senator’s appearance at the event.
Note: I am the president of the Humanists of Rhode Island and on the board of the Secular Coalition for Rhode Island.