‘Happily Atheist’ couple star on Philly kiosks, July 4 ‘secular vote’ ads lauryn@ffrf.org (Lauryn Seering) News Release Archives – Freedom From Religion Foundation – Freedom From Religion Foundation

Read More News Release Archives – Freedom From Religion Foundation – Freedom From Religion Foundation A local couple proudly proclaiming “We’re Atheist and We Vote” will be appearing on six prominent kiosks in downtown Philadelphia as part of a national multimedia secular voter campaign launched by the Freedom From Religion Foundation in this critical election year.
The kiosks will be up by the end of the week. (For locations, scroll to the end.)
Margaret Downey and Tom Schottmiller are representing the state of Pennsylvania in FFRF’s campaign, and will also appear in a full-page ad in the Philadelphia Inquirer running on Sunday, July 3, in which they are pictured in front of Independence Hall. The ad identifies them as “proud Pennsylvanians, married 48 years, parents, grandparents, advocates of science, reason, critical thinking, and happily Atheist.”
Downey is a well known atheist activist who even rated a shoutout in Dan Brown’s novel Origin, which mentioned her as “a powerhouse intellectual.” She is founder of the Freethought Society, has been a state/church plaintiff and brought human rights complaints against Boy Scouts of America for discriminating against atheist boys and families. She is currently president of the Thomas Paine Memorial Association, working with Rep. Jamie Raskin to erect a monument to Thomas Paine in Washington, D.C. Schottmiller, a retired corporate vice president, is his wife’s biggest booster. They both serve on FFRF’s board as state representatives.
FFRF points out that the couple are two of 75 million nonreligious Americans who want Congress, state legislatures, public officials and courts to listen to “secular values voters” by keeping religion out of government and social policy — and that includes on the urgent question of abortion rights.
In the print ad, Margaret and Tom note: “The ‘Nones’ (those of us unaffiliated with religion) are now 29 percent of the U.S. population. We are the largest ‘denomination’ by religious identification!”
FFRF Co-President Annie Laurie Gaylor adds, “FFRF is putting public candidates and officials on notice that the nonreligious now represent nearly a third of all adult Americans. We are the true ‘values voters’ and it’s critical that our secular viewpoint be heard and represented.”
Saying they “trust in reason, science and America’s secular Constitution,” the couple list a compelling number of secular voter demands: To keep religion out of government and social policy, out of public schools, and out of bedrooms, personal lives and health care decisions — including when or whether to have children, and whom to love or marry. “Use my tax dollars only for evidence-based, not faith-based, purposes,” they emphasize.
FFRF is running the billboards and newspaper ads in time for the July 3-4 weekend in about half of the United States, with the rest appearing around Sept. 17, Constitution Day.
The campaign is particularly timely coming on the heels of the Supreme Court decision to overturn Roe v. Wade. Gaylor observes that 98.8 percent of FFRF’s membership supports Roe, which is consistent with a YouGov analysis showing that atheists, at 91 percent overall, are the most likely to identify as pro-choice.
Gaylor called the Supreme Court’s ruling against abortion rights “an alarming wake up call,” and part of the Supreme Court trend to privilege religion at the expense of individual liberties. “That’s why our secular voices must be heard and why it’s essential to keep religious dogma out of our laws.”
The Freedom From Religion Foundation serves as the largest association of freethinkers in North America, with more than 36,000 members including more than 1,100 in Pennsylvania, and works as a state/church watchdog to safeguard the constitutional principle of separation between state and church. To learn more, visit: ffrf.org.
Locations of kiosks:
8th Street: Chestnut & Market, facing north
Chestnut Street: 7th and 8th St facing west
8th Street: Locust & Walnut, inside building facing east
7th Street: Chestnut & Market, inside building facing west
7th Street: Chestnut & Market, inside building facing east
8th Street: Chestnut & Market, facing north