About the American Secular Mainstream
The American Secular Mainstream℠ is a non-partisan, volunteer network of organizers, activists, and voters with the mission of identifying, supporting, and electing candidates committed to secular government and civic equality for Secular Americans. The American Secular Mainstream mobilizes secular voters and their secular-friendly religious allies to exploit the power of the ballot to reaffirm secular government as our nation's most effective vanguard of freedom of conscience.
Platform and strategy
The American Secular Mainstream Platform is based on information collected by the American Secular Census℠, the independent national registry of demographic and viewpoint data recorded by Secular Americans. We believe it represents the most evidence-based consensus of Secular American opinion currently available. The Secular Mainstream's 2012 strategy is to provide resources about candidates for President, Vice President, Congress, and state legislatures and to endorse those whose positions best reflect the values in the Platform.
91% of American Secular Census registrants who provided voter registration data are registered to vote, compared with the 71% overall figure reported by the U.S. Census for the latest year available (2008). Despite these statistics suggesting voter registration rates to be 128% higher among Secular Americans than in the general population, the secular constituency has never, to our knowledge, been provided with targeted campaign information and candidate endorsements based on a specific platform of issues. In launching this new venue for the secular electorate's campaign advocacy, we hope to expand the influence of Secular Americans and their secular-friendly religious allies to create an American Renewal Through Reason and Democracy.
Secular as the new mainstream
As we navigate the start of the 2012 election year, religious special interests and their extremist agenda have shifted political discourse dramatically to the right. In recent decades, bills introducing public school prayer and anti-evolution measures have become commonplace, and those problems are still with us. Now, draconian new attempts to control citizens' most intimate decisions are taking center stage: "state rape" bills requiring invasive ultrasounds of women seeking abortion; "personhood" bills that would criminalize abortion entirely; demands that sectarian groups be given the "religious freedom" to circumvent birth control coverage required of similarly situated secular employers; legislation that would criminalize single parenthood.
Faced with the threat of an ultraconservative Christian theocracy, moderate Americans are joining liberals and progressives in calling for government that honors individual liberty above religious special interests, personal conscience over sectarian coercion, and the U.S. Constitution over the bible. Secular Americans have always held that only secularism can offer this level of religious neutrality and freedom to our diverse American society; the 2012 election has now created the opportunity for us to be heard and joined.
The American Secular Mainstream is a project of Secular Innovations LLC, a limited liability company which also operates the American Secular Census. Both sites were conceived and created by Mary Ellen Sikes, a Web developer with more than twenty years' experience in systems analysis, programming, and technology education for government, private industry, public schools, and the nonprofit sector. Mary Ellen became involved in the secular movement in the early 1990s, went on to found and lead a local humanist group, and served in various staff, officer, advisory, and board positions for regional and national organizations. Prior to launching the American Secular Census in November, 2011 and the American Secular Mainstream in March, 2012, Mary Ellen donated thousands of hours of technology services and other forms of assistance to secular identity organizations.