A photo of Kate Cohen with the title Secularist of the week, and a photo of Kandiss Taylor with the title Theocrat of the week

‘Secularist’ keynotes first congressional Reason Reception; ‘theocrat’ expounds violence 

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FFRF Action Fund celebrates the inaugural congressional Reason Reception by naming as our “Secularist of the Week” its keynote speaker, a Washington Post columnist, author and stellar ally of FFRF. Conversely, our “Theocrat of the Week” is an alt-right Georgia GOP district chair and former gubernatorial candidate, bestowed the title for her threats of extreme violence while appearing on a white nationalist and conspiracy theorist’s program. 

Georgia GOP District Chair Kandiss Taylor claimed on “The Stew Peters Show” last week that “we are the church and we run the state,” followed by violent insinuations stemming from Peters’ well-documented history of sermonizing violence. Peters is an alt-right internet personality who is also known for being a white nationalist, Holocaust denier and virulent conspiracy theorist. Taylor has her own show on the Stew Peters Network titled “Jesus, Guns, and Babies.”

In a conversation with Peters, Taylor called back to Peters’ claims that medical professionals who perform gender-affirming care for minors will receive the death penalty. At a 2023 ReAwaken event in Las Vegas, Peters professed to a cheering crowd: “Child mutilation will be a capital offense. And those who commit it will receive the death penalty without exception. … We are going to see extreme accountability. We are going to have permanent accountability, with extreme prejudice!” 

Taylor referenced Peters’ “extreme accountability” demands while detailing the Christian nationalist efforts to position the church in an authoritative role over the government. Following Taylor and Peters denouncing Democratic legislators defending abortion rights, Peters said, “We need to make church the state’s business again. We need to bring Jesus Christ to the state.” 

Taylor responded to Peters with: “We are the church and we run the state. Even if they don’t believe it to be so, it is a fact. And if they keep pushing around with American people, and they keep playing all these games, they’re gonna find!” After Peters asked Taylor how non-Christian nationalists are going to “find out,” Taylor answered: “Extreme accountability.” In response, Peters appeared ecstatic and enthused, “I love it. You’re speaking my language.” 

Taylor is highly familiar with Peters and his hateful rhetoric. Peters endorsed Taylor’s candidacy in the 2022 Georgia gubernatorial election and initiated her program “Jesus, Guns, and Babies” on Peters’ network in 2023. Taylor came a distant third in the Republican gubernatorial primary, receiving a little bit over 3 percent of the votes. After the primary results, Taylor suggested she would have won the primary if the election was not rigged against her. She is well known for outrageous claims and conspiracy theories. During her gubernatorial campaigning, Taylor made baseless accusations that GOP leaders were secret communists and Democrats were satanic pedophiles, and last May, Taylor promoted the outlandish Flat Earth conspiracy theory

FFRF Action Fund will continue to call out the extreme and violent nature of alt-right Christian nationalists. 

On a much more pleasant note, we celebrate our “Secularist of the Week” for her work protecting the separation of church and state and her keynote speech at the inaugural congressional Reason Reception, co-sponsored by FFRF.

The reception took place this Wednesday on Capitol Hill after Rep. Jamie Raskin introduced the annual resolution declaring May 4 the “National Day of Reason,” in response to the National Day of Prayer, which has occurred on every first Thursday in May since 1952. Kate Cohen appeared as the reception’s keynote speaker. 

Cohen is a Washington Post contributing columnist, Emmy-winning documentary scriptwriter and author of We of Little Faith, which urges nonbelievers to be honest with themselves and their families about their lack of belief. This week, Cohen’s column is titled “A National Day of Prayer? James Madison would be horrified.” In it, she explains the unconstitutionality of the seemingly countless governmental endorsements of religion in the United States. She urges Americans to abolish the so-called National Day of Prayer, which Madison would have been vehemently against. 

Cohen writes, “I’m happy to state that the nation’s Founders were believers — and also that their belief strengthened their resolve to do a most remarkable thing: create a Constitution that leaves out God altogether. … It’s kind of beautiful, this radical thing, this first-in-the-world separation of church and state.”

Cohen also received FFRF’s Freethought Heroine award at its 2023 annual convention, where she spoke about telling the truth as a nonbeliever. She has appeared on FFRF’s TV show, “Freethought Matters,” multiple times. Cohen is an exemplary ally to FFRF and the separation of church and state, and we profusely thank her for her influential work — sorely needed to combat the alt-right Christian nationalists of our time. 

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.