11:57am

Thu July 12, 2012
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Atheist Lobbying Group to Open Tennessee Chapter

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP/WMOT) — A national atheist lobbying group is preparing to open a state chapter in Tennessee.

The Secular Coalition for America announced its intention earlier this week to organize a Tennessee chapter aimed at lobbying state lawmakers on issues involving the separation of church and state.

Edwina Rogers, the executive director of the Washington, D.C.-based coalition, says there’s been a lot of interest from Tennesseans in organizing a state chapter.

“There aren’t any states where there aren’t some issues. But Tennessee is much higher on the list, because there is quite the co-mingling of religion and government happening in Tennessee.”

In comments to the Tennessean, Franklin resident Kevin Pierce - who described himself as a secular humanist - says the group faces an uphill fight in Tennessee. An American Religious Identification Survey suggests fewer than 2 percent of of state residents say they are atheists or agnostics.

The Secular Coalition will conduct a conference call this coming Tuesday to talk with Tennesseans interested in launching a state chapter.