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Lori Lipman Brown

Washington, DCLori Lipman Brown ca. 2006
Lori Lipman Brown is a lawyer, an educator, and a former Nevada State Senator. Since 2005 she has been the director of the Secular Coalition for America, the first Congressional lobbying organization explicitly representing nontheistic Americans. Brown's awards include the Freethought Backbone Award of the Secular Student Alliance, Civil Libertarian of the Year from the Southern Nevada chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union, Legislator of the Year from the Nevada chapter of the National Association of Social Workers, Friend of the Center award from the Gay and Lesbian Community Center of Southern Nevada, the Mark DeWolfe Award from Interweave Continental and an award from Valley Outreach Synagogue.

J.D. Southwestern University School of Law, 1983 (law licenses obtained in California, Nevada, and Arizona).

B.A. in communications, University of Nevada, Las Vegas, 1981.

Served in the Nevada State Senate, 1992-1994.
Speaking Topics:

A Place at the Table: How the nation's first lobbyist for nontheists is being received on Capitol Hill

Description: In September of 2005, the nation's first Congressional lobbyist explicitly representing nontheistic American (humanists, atheists, agnostics, etc.) began meeting with elected officials. Lori Lipman Brown, director of the Secular Coalition for America, reports on how this unique lobby is being received on the Hill, in the media and by our theistic church/state separation allies.

Now Hiring: Pastor in Chief?

Description: The 2007-2008 election cycle saw candidates from every party jumping at the chance to discuss their personal religious beliefs. From favorite bible verses to beliefs about creation, candidates pandered to the notion that personal theology should be a requirement for public office. Brown challenges the idea that a candidate's religious beliefs can determine his/her fitness for elected office. Moreover, she has a challenge for candidates to … just say "no" to religious debates and stick to issues and qualifications.

[For talks in 2009, Brown can address the impact of changes in the makeup of the new Congress.]

One Nation Indivisible: A Call for Allies

Description: Brown posits that every struggle for minority rights has relied on allies from the majority. With nontheistic Americans representing an estimated 10-16% of the population, humanists, atheists, agnostics and other nontheists in our society are encouraging our theistic allies to join the fight for fair treatment for all. Together we can fight to protect our government's secular character, which has served to protect both theists and nontheists for over 200 years. For the past three years, the Secular Coalition has encouraged making the alliance between nontheists and our theistic allies more vocal and more powerful.

Issue-focused talks could cover:

Science Under Fire: stem cell research, access to birth control, fact-based sex education versus theology based abstinence-only until legal marriage "health" ed, creationism in science curriculum, AIDS prevention funding, conscience clause, gag rule, etc.

LGBT interest areas: Federal marriage amendments: coming out as a gay atheist?; transgender rights (possibly the only minority group which would fare worse than atheists on surveys about public perception and voting prejudices - but the surveys don't even ask about trans people); imposition of gender roles generally based on theology; discrimination in hiring with federal dollars (affects anyone not of the religion of the organization receiving the funds - many also exclude LGBT individuals from being hired for these government-funded social services).

Military issues: Proselytizing unwilling soldiers; discrimination against non-born-agains (Christian and other - especially horrific instances involving nontheists, Wiccans and Jews)

Follow-the-money: The funneling of public funds into religious education and churches; easing rules against employment discrimination based on religion with federal funds; the use of earmarks to fund constitutionally suspect projects, Faith-based initiatives and charitable choice language in Federal programs

Lori Lipman Brown can also present on "how to lobby", or on religion in politics generally including more historical information about Lori's own political experiences. If the sponsoring organization has other ideas after viewing the Secular Coalition for America's website, www.secular.org, Lori is open to other topics as well.

Lori gives a presentation for Minnesota Atheists.

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