A photo of Eva Burch titled secularist of the week and A photo of David Farnsworth labeled theocrat of the week

Jousting Ariz. state senators  ‘Secularist’ and ‘Theocrat of the Week’ 


FFRF Action Fund’s “Theocrat” and “Secularist” of the week jousted over religion during a heated debate ending in the welcome repeal of Arizona’s 1864 abortion ban last week.

Our “Secularist of the Week,” Arizona state Sen. Eva Burch, a longtime abortion advocate, provided courageous personal testimony during the debate, sharing her experiences about needing to terminate two pregnancies for medical reasons. Said Burch, “They were the right decisions for me. And I don’t have to follow your religion in this country.” She added that it’s wrong for one group to impose its religious beliefs onto others: “I do not fear for my soul.”

This is not the first time Burch has forthrightly talked about the personal decision of abortion. During an Arizona Senate floor session in late March, a pregnant Burch revealed to colleagues that she needed to abort a nonviable pregnancy. Burch told the chamber, “I don’t think people should have to justify their abortions. But I’m choosing to talk about why I made this decision, because I want us to be able to have meaningful conversations about the reality of how the work we do in this body impacts people in the real world.”

Burch, who is a nurse practitioner, also has related an ordeal she went through in ending a previous nonviable pregnancy. Burch knows firsthand how Arizona’s abortion law harms women. We commend her strength and efforts to ensure abortion becomes more accessible in Arizona. The repeal bill will eventually reinstate a 15-week ban in Arizona and is a crucial step toward improving abortion accessibility in the Grand Canyon State.

On the other hand, our “Theocrat of the Week” invoked his religion for strongly opposing repeal of the abortion ban. Arizona state Sen. David Farnsworth was one of 14 Republican state senators to vote “nay” to repeal the ban. Farnsworth invoked his personal religious ideology to oppose the repeal, pulling out a bible on the Senate floor and warning, “God is watching. And on judgment day we will all stand before the Lord, Jesus Christ, and we will confess that he is Christ.” Farnsworth urged his colleagues to remember the biblical story of Jehovah destroying Sodom and Gomorrah for their supposed wicked ways.

Needless to say, the compassionate and rational repeal of the 1864 abortion ban has not and will not result in Arizona being destroyed via a deity’s ire.

“Religion should not dictate our laws in this secular country,” comments Annie Laurie Gaylor, FFRF Action Fund president, “and we are thankful for every commonsense legislator who voted to pass this much-needed repeal.”

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.