Iowa Humanists and Atheists Hold “Reason on the Hill” and Call for the Inclusion of All Iowans The Humanists of Linn County, a chapter of the American Humanist Association and a member group of the Eastern Iowa Coalition of Reason, hosted a successful “Reason On the Hill” Day at the Iowa State
BigNews.Biz - Apr 17,2017 - Des Moines, Iowa, April 16, 2017 - The Humanists of Linn County, a chapter of the American Humanist Association and a member group of the Eastern Iowa Coalition of Reason, hosted a successful “Reason On the Hill” Day at the Iowa State Capitol Building on Monday, April 17, 2017, from 12:00 pm until 2:30 pm. Secular organizations and secular-friendly allies from across Iowa and as far away as Chicago, Illinois gathered in the rotunda and spoke with legislators about the importance of reason and critical thinking when serving the people of Iowa. They also sought to highlight the necessity to ensure that the “wall” that separates religion and government remains intact in the Hawkeye State.
Roxanne Gissler—President of Humanists of Linn County, and an endorsed Humanist Celebrant—gave her non-theistic invocation in the House Chambers at approximately 1:00 pm. As far as we have been able to determine, this was the first Humanist invocation given at the Iowa Capitol. “When I received the invitation to provide the invocation, we quickly noticed that this was an opportunity to show our elected government officials that secularists and secular-friendly allies are found throughout Iowa, and that there are more constituents like this than they realize,” said Gissler. “Thanks to our PR Director, Joe Stutler, we reserved the rotunda at the capitol and made other groups and organizations aware of the opportunity. We are hoping to make this an annual event and anticipate that attendance and interest will grow, just as the percentage of Iowans identifying as non-religious is also rapidly growing.”
Gissler and her colleagues from the Humanists of Linn County were joined by people from as far as Chicago, Illinois as well as within the state of Iowa. Rory Moe, the Coordinator of the Central Iowa Coalition of Reason (based in Des Moines) added his reflections to the event’s importance. “The US Constitution states that Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion. These are wise words from our Founding Figures! Yet, in 2014 the Supreme Court decided that prayer before public meetings did not violate the First Amendment’s Establishment Clause. Basing this decision on “tradition” and the supposedly “non coercive” nature of the prayer, it has nevertheless proved exclusionary to people of minority faiths or those with no religious affiliation.” Moe added, “It is therefore vital and proper that all voices be heard if the so-called tradition of prayer or invocation prior to public meetings is to be continued. The monopoly of a privileged few is past, and we now call upon our Jewish, Muslim, Sikh, Jain, Buddhist, WICCAn, Rastafarian and other religious neighbors to add their voices to the start of Iowa government assemblies, from local to state levels. Our nation is a place for everyone, not only a select few.”
With local, grassroots people coming together in celebration of the plurality and diversity of sincerely-held beliefs that makes up the United States of America. Connie Clancey, the Secretary of Humanists of Linn County, summarized the event: “Reason on