Council for Secular Humanism

Get Active!

Sign up to receive CSH emails and Action Alerts

Donate online
to support CSH

Free Inquiry

Subscribe for the
Internet price of
only $19.97

Renew your

back issues

Visit our
online library

Shop Online

What's New?


Introduction to
Secular Humanism

Council for
Secular Humanism

CSH Organizations

The Center for Inquiry

Paul Kurtz

Speaker's Bureau

Humanist Hall of Fame

Web Columns
and Feedback

Find a Secular Humanist
Group Near You

Field Notes:
Council Activities
Around the Nation

Worldwide Index of
Humanist Groups

Humanism on TV

Freethought Alliance


for Humanism

International Academy
of Humanism

Secular Organizations
for Sobriety



Contact Info

Site Map




CSH Goes into Action to Defend Religious Liberty 
in the South

by John Gaeddert

The following article is from the Secular Humanist Bulletin, Volume 19, Number 4.

After Alabama Chief Justice Roy Moore lost his court fight last fall to keep his 5,300-pound graven granite image of the Ten Commandments in the Alabama Justice Building, some of his supporters staged an eight-day, five-state rally, allegedly in support of “religious liberty.” In actuality, the “Save the Commandments Caravan” supported government endorsement of their own religion, thereby threatening religious liberty for all.

The “caravan,” complete with a full-sized model of the monument (dubbed “Roy’s Rock” by local critics), staged Ten Commandments rallies in a number of cities, including one (organized by Sadie Fields, leader of the Georgia Christian Coalition) in front of the gold-domed Georgia Capitol in Atlanta. That rally got widespread media coverage and included pandering remarks from a number of politicians, including Georgia Governor Sonny Perdue.

But they did not go unchallenged. Immediately afterward, thirty or so lovers of religious liberty gathered around the same microphone for a counterprotest, organized and led by the Council for Secular Humanism Southern Director (and former executive director) Dr. Ed Buckner.

As Buckner noted in a press release, written and circulated in advance of the rally by John Gaeddert and Kevin Christopher for the Council, the second rally was “not a protest against religion”; it was “a polite, civil protest by all who cherish religious freedom, whether as religious or as nonreligious people.”

The rally was sponsored by the Council in collaboration with the Atlanta Freethought Society, Citizens for First Freedoms, the Georgia Chapter of Americans United for Separation of Church and State, and the Alabama Freethought Association (a chapter of the Freedom from Religion Foundation). The protestors included Buckner, his son, Michael, at least a few Christians and Jews, and secular humanists and freethinkers from Georgia and Alabama. 

Buckner led off the speakers and moderated the program. Other speakers included Ray Knisely, Bill Burton, and Sue Garland of the Atlanta Freethought Society; John Elliott of the Greater Atlanta Interfaith Alliance; Patricia Cleveland, Hank Shiver, and Alice Shiver of the Alabama Freethought Association; Jeff Selman of Cobb County, Georgia (defender of science and evolutionary theories from creationist attacks); and Larry Darby, Alabama state director for American Atheists. 

The media showed up in force, including five or six television crews (from local affiliates of all the major networks, as well as CNN) and print reporters from the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, the Associated Press (Dick Pettys), and the Macon Telegraph. At least three local channels ran footage, as did Fox News. Many newspapers ran the Associated Press write-up, which quoted Buckner and named the Council, including the Kansas City Star, the Augusta Chronicle (Georgia), the Gwinnett Daily Post (Georgia), and Newsday, as well as papers in North Carolina, Texas, Ohio, Minnesota, and Pennsylvania. All the publicity focused on the Council as a leading defender of religious liberty for all.

John Gaeddert is assistant director of communications at the Center for Inquiry–International. Ed Buckner contributed to this report.

[*] Secular Humanism Online Library

house.gif (1274 bytes) Council for Secular Humanism Web Site



This page was last updated 03/19/2004

Copyright notice:  The copyright for the contents of this web site rests with the Council for Secular Humanism.  
You may download and read the documents.  Without permission, you may not alter this information, repost it, or sell it. 
If you use a document, you are encouraged to make a donation to the Council for Secular Humanism.