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"Our desire is to...help advance God’s Kingdom"

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President Trump nominated Betsy DeVos to be the next Secretary of Education. She is a terrible choice, and the Secular Student Alliance must oppose her.

You might not have heard of Betsy DeVos before, but she has spent her life trying to dismantle the separation of church and state, advancing school vouchers, gutting public education, and forcing her religious and political ideologies onto communities.

She is a wholly unacceptable choice to be Secretary of Education. We believe we must raise our collective voice and oppose her confirmation.

Click here to take action; add your name to our efforts!

If you’ve watched any of the Senate confirmation hearings, and you should, you’ve seen her dodge questions and demonstrate a clear lack of understanding of even basic education issues. That alone should disqualify her.

As bad as that was, unfortunately it’s not the whole story. She is also a longtime advocate of merging religion and education. Or, as she put it at a 2001 meeting called ‘The Gathering’

Full quote: Our desire is to be in that Shephelah, and to confront the culture in which we all live today in ways that will continue to help advance God’s Kingdom, but not to stay in our own faith territory.

We’ve joined with the Secular Coalition of America on a write-in campaign opposing her confirmation. Join us and tell your Senators to oppose the confirmation of Betsy DeVos.

The Secretary of Education should promote evidence- and science-based curricula and a secular education system. She won’t, and that’s why we must oppose her.

Betsy DeVos’s confirmation hearing is scheduled for January 31. There is no time to waste: TAKE ACTION NOW!

Great way to end the year!

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I'm thrilled to announce we met our $30,000 end-of-year fundraising goal!

Thank you, thank you, thank you to everyone who donated. Meeting this goal means we fully unlocked the matching funds put up by Ron Verstappen.

We've got big plans for 2017...

  1. Welcome the new Secular Student Alliance Executive Director!
  2. Keep starting more groups at HBCUs
  3. Have the biggest SSA conference ever this year (we're partnering with FFRF to add a high school track); more details soon!

So thanks again for making 2016 end on a positive note. A big thank you to everyone who donated, and a huge thank you to Ron for his matching funds.

Did you forget to donate? Sneak one in here.

Don’t curse the darkness

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Last week we shared a note from August about one of his fears: namely, an onslaught of anti-science and anti-intellectual driven bigotry threatening the secular and humanistic society we’re trying to build.

But there is reason to hope, and today we want to share a few of SSA’s 2016 milestones, the ones that encourage us and make us believe that the best is yet to come.

If you didn’t give last week, take a moment and do so now, then come back and finish this message.

Campus Groups: Our campus groups are the very core of what our organization is about, and these groups are thriving!

  • 34 high school groups
  • 229 college groups
  • 44 states with groups
  • 23 grant awards for campus projects

Student Activism: Our students activists are increasingly driving our organization and the projects in which we participate.

  • 15 scholarship winners
  • 176 SSA Con attendees
  • Dozens of student-led projects on intersectional topics including: Black Lives Matter, choice and reproductive health, education and STEM, women's rights, sex positivity, social justice, and political activism

Ask an Atheist Day: One of SSA’s signatures events, designed to start conversations and educate campus communities about atheist and secular identity.

  • 58% of all SSA groups participated
  • 38 packets of outreach materials shipped
  • 20-page organizing guide, graphics and flyers

Donate now to make sure 2017 is even better than 2016!

I also wanted to share one more important fact with you. Over 95% of our funding comes from individuals like you! If people like you don’t donate, our organization will stop working.

One final point, Ron Verstappen, a very generous SSA funder, has pledged up to $30,000 in matching funds to double your donations until the end of the year. Let’s take advantage of this match. Donate as much as you are able!

Short Day; Long Year

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Last Wednesday was the winter solstice, the “shortest” day of the year – and what a year this has been. Some have called it the worst year ever...a dumpster fire of a year.

It’s not all been bad, and over the next weeks, I’m going to share some of our greatest successes with you. But on this darkest day of a dark year, I want to share one of my fears.

I’m afraid our voices, the voices of reason and secularism, are being drowned out. That we do not have the resources we need to counterbalance an increasingly hostile set of backwards worldviews.

Despite growing secularism, there is also a rise in hate, intolerance and anti-intellectualism. The so-called “alt-right” has grown, in part, by attracting disaffected youth through straw-manning women’s, racial, and social justice movements.

Students are in their crosshairs, and many are buying into the regressive rhetoric. We’ve seen and heard that hateful rhetoric in the course of our work, and we know it’s reaching them.

Are we reaching them as well? If we’re not fully funded, we may not be.

And let’s be clear: with that hateful rhetoric of the “alt-right” comes a lot of other baggage as well. It is anti-science, anti-education, and anti-secular.

That shouldn’t surprise you; it's made up of some of the same bigots that used make up the ‘religious right’.

There must be a strong, and fully funded, secular movement available to students on their high school and college campuses. Donate now and make that a reality.

Secular people, including students, have never been a wholly homogeneous group, and we don’t have to be. We don’t agree on everything, but we do have some core values, and some core enemies. The “alt-right” is a threat to our movement and our values.

There is a fight brewing for our collective future, and, as always, it is the younger generation that will become engaged on one side or the other. It is they that will win or lose the fight of ideas that will shape that future.

We will make it through this darkness together. Add your light to our cause with a donation.

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