The Datadog - Second Edition

February 9, 2012

Web version of the second edition of The Datadog, our e-update sent to Census registrants. To forward or post, use the SHARE links above. SIGN IN on the right sidebar to submit comments where invited or to access forms linked here.

February 9, 2012

American Secular Census releases second demographic analysis, now with political and philanthropy data

The registry has more than tripled, the female :: male ratio has grown, and new statistics suggest that Secular Americans are more philanthropic and more politically engaged than the overall population. Thanks to you, the Census is now in a position to introduce empirical data favoring a view of Secular Americans as active, community-minded citizens. With your continued help, we look forward to even more growth and the knowledge it will make possible. Browse the analysis.

Credit where credit is due: Alabama and Florida

The first and second place Census states will be able to offer the most influential metrics as the election year progresses -- and they are where they are because of social networking by Census supporters. We've been told that the Secular Coalition for Alabama may have been responsible for Alabama's showing. (If so, thank you, SCAlabama! and if not, please tell us who should be recognized instead.) We're positive humanist author and speaker Jen Hancock deserves the shout-out for Florida, so thanks, Jen! (And be forewarned: if we catch other activists and groups bringing in throngs of registrants, there will be more public displays of affection.)

Happy Darwin Day

Sunday, Feb. 12th is the 203rd anniversary of the birth of Charles Darwin, whose theory of evolution has become the lynchpin of biological science. The media in recent weeks has focused new context and hope in Darwin's work, from the rediscovery of forgotten artifacts from his 1830s journey to the Galapagos Islands, to a real-life demonstration of the "founder effect" in evolution by Harvard scientist Jonathan Losos, to the discovery in Africa of a sponge-like organism that may be the world's oldest animal, and ancestor of all others. Yet even as we celebrate new insights into Darwin's contributions, religiously-motivated efforts to undermine evolution education in U.S. public schools persist -- most recently in Indiana, whose state Senate has now passed a bill that would clear the way for individual teachers, schools, or districts to interject religious stories about human origins into classes where evolution is taught. (SB89 must now convince Indiana's House of Representatives and be signed by Gov. Daniels in order to become law.)

Inside dog

Each Datadog e-mail reveals a few choice Census factoids just to registrants.

Restricted content from e-mail clipped from this public page. If you are a Secular American reading this and you wish to have access to this type of information in the future, consider registering with the American Secular Census. Start here.

What do prescription co-pays have to do with religious liberty?

Everything, if you ask the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB). Ever since the White House's January 20, 2012 announcement that the Affordable Care Act's requirement of 100% coverage for birth control will apply to religious institutions with diverse staffs such as colleges and hospitals, the USCCB has cast the decision as a gross violation of Catholics' religious freedom. [From an "URGENT ACTION ALERT" on the USCCB website: "Never before has the federal government forced individuals and organizations to go out into the marketplace and buy a product that violates their conscience. This shouldn't happen in a land where free exercise of religion ranks first in the Bill of Rights."]

Here's the problem: individual Catholics in the U.S. have long been active consumers in that marketplace. Ninety-eight percent of sexually experienced Catholic women have used contraception at some point, according to the Guttmacher Institute. It is the Catholic Church as an institution whose conscience is offended by artificial methods of family planning -- even, apparently, when used by the non-Catholic employees of Catholic hospitals and universities. And although medical insurance is usually arranged by the employer, it is generally the employee who is considered the "owner" of the benefit.

Universal insurance coverage of contraception as a preventive service without co-pays or deductibles is scheduled to begin August 2012, and religious employers have been granted an extra year to comply. (Churches and schools which serve primarily co-religionists are completely exempt.) Contrary to the USCCB's position, no employee will be "forced" to procure birth control, although many will no doubt continue to exercise their freedom to ignore Catholic teachings about it.

The American Secular Census excluded birth control questions from Census forms, assuming contraception to be uncontroversial among Secular Americans. We did, however, release some related data in our Blog for Choice 2012. See: Secular Americans support abortion rights almost unanimously

Have the GOP state caucuses shifted your choice of presidential candidate or altered your opinion on some issue?

Yes or no, please sign in on the right sidebar of our homepage and confirm that your Election 2012 and Political Activism forms, in particular, show up-to-date information about your public policy positions and your voting history and preferences. Of course, we hope all your forms are current and complete -- but with the election year upon us we will be giving special attention to political data. In addition, our first Viewpoints Analysis will take place very shortly -- so please double-check that your responses reflect exactly what you want factored into the information we make public about Secular Americans' political positions. Isn't it about time you were counted?

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