Colorado’s 1 in 4 secular legislators honored, Rep. Turner censured by FFRF AF


For a change of pace, the FFRF Action Fund is naming the entire group of 24 nonreligious Colorado state legislators as its “Secularists of the Week” while censuring a member of Congress who is seeking to suppress actions to remedy state/church violations in the military.

Colorado Politics recently announced that its first-of-its-kind survey has found nearly one in four Colorado state legislators identifies as nonreligious. Of 100 state lawmakers, 24 think of themselves as nonreligious, including atheists, agnostics, humanists and more. While that sounds like a lot, in fact 34 percent of the Colorado population has no religion, so by right a third of the Legislature ought to be nonreligious. Concludes Colorado Politics: “Colorado’s Christian, Jewish and Muslim populations are all proportionately represented or overrepresented among lawmakers,” while the “Nones” are underrepresented.

Growing numbers of Colorado legislators wait in the hall to avoid the prayer opening the session each morning, Colorado Politics note. Among those identified as nonreligious is Rep. Judy Amabile, an atheist. Most nonreligious lawmakers are Democrats, with the sole nonreligious Republican identified as Rep. Ryan Armagost, an agnostic.

Truly earning the “Theocrat of the Week” billing is U.S. Rep. Mike Turner, R-Ohio, who placed a stealth amendment to bar defense officials and troops from communicating with the Military Religious Freedom Foundation into the House draft of the annual defense authorization bill last week. MRFF, run by Mikey Weinstein, works to keep religion out of the military, advocating on behalf of military members. FFRF Action Fund is the lobbying arm of the Freedom From Religion Foundation, which has more than 41,000 members nationwide, and which roundly condemned the action.

Shockingly, Turner’s amendment was adopted with unanimous, bipartisan support by the members of the House Armed Services Committee. The overreaching amendment would bar any military personnel from making “any decision as a result of any claim, objection, or protest made by MRFF without the authority of the secretary of defense.”

“We applaud the growing numbers of state legislators who openly identify as having no religion and are ensuring that we ‘Nones’ finally have representation,” says Annie Laurie Gaylor, FFRF Action Fund president. “But Rep. Turner’s autocratic move to target a state/church group in the defense bill shows the alarming power of Christian nationalism in Congress.”

FFRF Action Fund is a 501(c)(4) organization that develops and advocates for legislation, regulations and government programs to preserve the constitutional principle of separation between state and church. It also advocates for the rights and views of nonbelievers, endorses candidates for political office, and publicizes the views of elected officials concerning religious liberty issues.