Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Action Alert: Volunteers Needed at Houston Planned Parenthood!

SECULAR Center Volunteers:
Please read this copied e-mail from Planned Parenthood. They really need volunteer escorts in Houston on Saturday to walk with clients who have to walk across the street from the parking lot into the building among the pro-life protesters. If you can help, please contact Anitra at Anitra.Daniel(at)

Please let us know if you volunteer so that we can keep track of all the great things we've done for our community! Also, don't forget that the Houston Church of Freethought picnic is at 1:00 this Saturday at Bear Creek Park, Pavilion #1.

Thanks for your support!


We are in desperate need of volunteer escorts this Saturday, all day at 3601 Fannin. Several of our “every Saturday” volunteers will be unavailable and that puts us in a vulnerable position.  Can you help us fill the schedule?

Last weekend, the opposition was relentless from 7:30am until we closed the doors. They know that their time to directly harass our clients is winding down and they have amped up their efforts and rhetoric.  We really need you…so if you can volunteer for a shift, please let me know as soon as possible.


We need one or two volunteers at Prevention Park, our new building located at 4600 Gulf Freeway (Cullen Exit) from 8:30-10:30am. Our board is meeting there for the first time this Saturday and we need someone to sit in the beautiful lobby to observe for opposition, greet latecomers and direct them to the 5th floor.

If you would like to be considered for this job, send me an email for additional details.

Thank you for your continued support!


April 24, 2010


Monday, April 12, 2010

Action Alert: Rally to Protest Texas State Board of Education Textbook Changes

SECULAR Center volunteers are helping to plan a rally to protest the proposed changes to Texas textbooks.  American Atheists, among others, is sponsoring the event to be held on May 16th at 11:00 am in Austin, TX.  To learn more about the changes, please visit these websites:

Texas State Board of Education (TSBE) Website
Media Stories about the Textbook Changes

The most important way that you can help right now is to help us find speakers who are teachers, have kids in Texas schools, or are directly affected by the changes in some way (ie textbook writers, etc.).  We are looking for most of the speakers to live in Texas.  The speakers will each have about 15 minutes. 

The SECULAR Center is organizing carpools/buses/shuttles from Houston, San Antonio, and Dallas.  If you're interested in participating, please e-mail us!  Think about how fun it would be to get hyped up for the rally on a bus with your fellow protesters! 

We are also looking for a great, catchy name for the rally!  To participate in the discussion, please twitter us @secularcenter or send us an e-mail. 

If you're interested in helping to plan in this important event, please contact us! 

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Godless Group Kicks Off Campaign to Save the Sick

Our latest press release!

April 6th, 2010 (Houston, TX; Newark, NJ): ’Godless for Good’ is our motto.

SECULAR Center, a godless organization devoted to mobilizing atheists through community service, launched their latest nationwide charitable campaign this past weekend. Over the next five weeks, they will partner with “Be The Match Registry®” to save the lives of patients with leukemia and other life-threatening diseases. The campaign kicked off April 2nd at the American Atheist Convention in Newark, New Jersey and will end on May 6th with the National Day of Reason in Houston, TX.

“Because this life on earth is the only one that we have, life-saving causes are especially important to us” says Noelle George, President of the SECULAR Center. “The SECULAR Center was formed to make a positive difference both in local communities and worldwide. ‘Godless for Good’ is our motto – because we believe that without being good to each other, human beings will not survive and thrive.”

Seventy percent of patients who require bone marrow or cord blood do not have a match in their family. A transplant is often the last option available to save their lives. They depend on the Be The Match Registry® to find a suitable donor as well as raise the funds to help make their transplant possible. The National Marrow Donor Program (NMDP), a project of Be the Match FoundationSM , tests volunteers DNA and tries to match them with patients in need.

“The Be the Match® program embodies secular values such as compassion, science, and community” says George. “This partnership will allow us to work together to make a greater difference for this important cause. We are very excited about this campaign and look forward to the widespread participation of the non-theist community”

The SECULAR Center is reaching out to non-theist groups nationwide to unite by participating in this program. To get your area involved in the SECULAR Center’s Be the Match campaign, please contact the SECULAR Center at You could Be the Match that will save someone’s life!

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

SECULAR Center in the News!

Last night, I was interviewed by a Fox News reporter about the Texas Constitution, the misconception that atheists are not good people, and the SECULAR Center.  The clip ended up cutting out most of what we talked about, of course, but I wanted to share it anyway.

Hopefully next time I'll have more air time to talk about the SECULAR Center's great activities.  In the meantime, look for an update soon about our gathering with Kate last night!


Friday, February 5, 2010

Get Involved! The SECULAR Center’s Response to “Pro-Life”Protests at Planned Parenthood

Last fall, as in previous years, a local “pro-life” group organized a 40-day protest at Planned Parenthood facilities around Houston. Protesters got on their knees and prayed, carried pro-life signs, wore t-shirts with biblical phrases on them, and formed lines along the sidewalks leading to the entrances of the Planned Parenthood centers. These actions made it very difficult for potential clients, who in many cases had to walk through these protesters to enter the building due to the location of parking lots across three streets. These protests can intimidate clients who may or may not be receiving controversial treatments such as abortions and may even result in some clients not receiving the reproductive health care that they can’t get anywhere else.

Abortions are only a small part of the services that Planned Parenthood provides. They also perform wellness checkups, sexually-transmitted disease (STD) tests, free birth control (to those who qualify based on income level), sexual education, vasectomies, and many other much-needed services. Planned Parenthood “seeks a world in which all children are wanted and cared for, all women and men have equal rights and dignity, sexuality is expressed with honesty, equality, and responsibility, and the decision to bear children is private and voluntary.” The mission of Planned Parenthood of Houston and Southeast Texas is to “ensure the right and ability of all individuals to manage their sexual and reproductive health by providing health services, education, and advocacy.”

From February 17th to March 28th 2010, the same local pro-life group is organizing another 40-day protest to coincide with Lent. In order to support their clients who have to endure this emotional harassment, Planned Parenthood has organized a program in which volunteers escort the clients from parking lots to the entrances of their building. The volunteers do not interact with the protesters; they simply provide a reassuring presence to Planned Parenthood’s clients as they walk to and enter the building.

The SECULAR Center has decided to get involved with the escort program and show that our community supports Planned Parenthood. We are organizing volunteers to be trained to, and escort clients together in groups of three or four, starting on February 20th and continuing on every Saturday and select weekdays throughout the 40-day protest period. If you’d like to get involved, please e-mail us at Additional dates will be announced soon through our e-mailing list. If you haven’t signed up for our e-mailing list, please go to and enter your information in the form on the home page.

The Planned Parenthood escort program is an important way that our community can show its support for reproductive freedom that is unencumbered by religious ideology and dogma. Please consider joining us in our campaign to assist Planned Parenthood during the Lent “Pro-Life“ demonstrations.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

February and March Events, including Darrel Ray, author of "The God Virus"

The SECULAR Center has a lot going on in February and March! 

First off, we have Kate's Gathering on February 9th at a local Cafe Express in Houston. 

We have also arranged a speech and book signing with Darrel Ray, the author of "The God Virus", in conjunction with our Planned Parenthood campaign starting in February.  Darrel will be speaking at the Planned Parenthood facility in Houston TX on February 19th at 7:00 pm.  If you'd like to attend, please RSVP to our e-mail address.  The cost is $10 per person.

In March, we'll be participating in the Houston Humane Society "K9 Fun Run" to raise awareness and money for homeless animals, as well as continuing our Planned Parenthood campaign.  More about the Planned Parenthood campaign will be in an additional post. 

Look for our newsletter to be sent out early in February.  If you're not signed up for our newsletter, please visit to sign up!


Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Kate Update

To date, we have raised almost $500 for Kate and her family!  Every little bit will help, so please consider donating if you can!

One week from today we'll be having Kate's Gathering at Cafe Express at 1101 Uptown Park Boulevard in Houston.  Please join us if you can from 7-9pm to meet Kate and show her the support of the Houston secular community.

Thanks for everything!

Sunday, January 31, 2010

UPDATE on Cancer Patient Kate

Within hours of sending out the e-mail about Kate today, we had five responses with offers of a place to stay for Kate.  I ran the offers by Kate and she was able to choose the option that best fits her needs. 

We have also had an outpouring of support with transportation offers and other offers of donations to help Kate and her family.  If you can make a donation to help Kate, please e-mail us and let us know!

We'll be having a gathering on Wednesday, February 10th from 7-9pm so that Kate can meet the Houston secular community and so that we can meet her!  If you're in Houston, please come on by!  Details will be up on our website calendar within the week.

Thanks for all you do, and thanks to the Houston community for their generosity!

Saturday, January 30, 2010

Freethinking Cancer Patient Needs Help!

This information will also be sent out shortly to the SECULAR Center's mailing list. 

Yesterday I received an e-mail message from Megan, a member of Iowa Atheists and Freethinkers. Megan's best friend, Kate, is battling a brain tumor and will be evaluated for an experimental treatment at MD Anderson's Brain and Spine Center from February 7th to the 11th. The Lance Armstrong Foundation is sponsoring her plane fare, but Kate needs a place to stay and transportation while she's here. Kate and her husband are also atheists. Today I spoke with Megan on the phone at length about Kate's situation.

In Megan's words, "Kate is a marvelous woman who volunteers tirelessly to help others in her community. She is witty, smart, and fantastically creative. Her medical care has exhausted her family’s savings, so a hotel room is not affordable. She will be traveling alone, as her husband and three young children will be staying in Iowa. Kate is able-bodied and needs no special assistance. Most people have no idea she has a brain tumor. But after five spinal surgeries, spinal radiation and gamma-knife radiation to her brain (the tumors started in her spinal cord and climbed to her brain), she is running out of treatment options. We are crossing our fingers for MD Anderson’s treatment."

The SECULAR Center is working to find Kate somewhere to stay from February 7th to 11th while she's in Houston. She will be evaluated for the treatment at 1515 Holcombe Blvd, near the Medical Center and it would be great if she could stay somewhere close to there. If not, perhaps someone would be willing to drive Kate to and from her evaluations? We're also hoping to find someone who can pick Kate up at the airport on Sunday and drop her off again on Thursday. If you can't help with lodging or driving, perhaps you would be willing to make a donation towards Kate's medical expenses or toward her travel/food expenses while she's here in Houston? If you're willing to help in any of these ways, please e-mail us!

I have personally checked this out and verified that Kate is a real person, a member of the Freethought community, who needs our help. I would offer my own guest room, but I will be out of town for work that week. Kate's situation is one of the reasons that I founded the SECULAR Center - to help people in need. Kate is in need of our support. Please help us help Kate.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

SECULAR Center Volunteer Discussion

We had a great time at our volunteer discussion event in Houston last Sunday!  About 20 people showed up to learn more about the SECULAR Center and discuss secular volunteering.  People had some great ideas and contributions and we spent about two hours chatting before everyone headed home.

One of our Houston volunteers, Sally, made a great poster board with information about the SECULAR Center: 

One item discussed during the event is a special campaign for Planned Parenthood.  Pro-lifers are planning a 40-day protest at a Planned Parenthood location in Houston this February and March.  The SECULAR Center is going to organize volunteers to escort patients into and out of this Planned Parenthood location.  The first day we'll volunteer is February 20th with a number of follow-up events.  Optional training will occur on February 18th, so mark your calendars for these dates!

Thanks for your support!

Saturday, January 23, 2010

SECULAR Center Volunteer Discussion & Other Events

Tomorrow at 2:30 pm the SECULAR Center will be gathering together volunteers in the Houston area to discuss our events calendar for this year and encourage people to get involved in volunteerism.  The event will be from 2:30-4:00 at the Cafe Express in Uptown Park.  We will have information about the SECULAR Center, show our 'About SECULAR Center' Video, and have SECULAR Center personnel on hand to answer questions and hear feedback. 

In February we're sponsoring Darrel Ray, the author of The God Virus, as well as holding a volunteer event at Planned Parenthood.  Look for our monthly e-mail on February 1st with more details.  If you're not signed up for our e-mails, please go to our website and sign up!

Please join us at these exciting and fun events if you can!  Feel free to e-mail us for more information!


Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Jesus Saves and Table Manners in Mississippi

So, I just got back to Houston from traveling for two days through Mississippi for my new engineering job.  I went to some pretty rural places, including Lumberton, Tylertown (population about 2000), and Liberty.  I stayed overnight in Hattiesburg (population 45,000).  You might think over a two day trip for work that religion didn't come up, but you'd be sadly mistaken.  First of all, we couldn't drive a mile without seeing a church or a sign saying 'Praise Jesus!'  or 'Jesus saves!'  and so on. 

Last night when I was at the hotel, I went down to the lounge for a free drink and ended up talking to some really nice folks.  Of course, religion came up - it is the south after all!  So, I gritted my teeth and said that I am an Atheist.  Oh my goodness did I regret that!  One guy got so mad he had to get up and leave the table.  He kept saying, 'How can you believe that nothing happens after you die!  You've never known nothingness!'  I kept starting to say things back to him, but then he would interrupt me and say the same thing again.  Then he said, 'That just pisses me off' and he left for a while.  At least I didn't get the 'How can you be a moral person without God?'  That one is really annoying.  Other than during the religion talk, I really enjoyed talking with these two guys, but I hope someday that telling someone I'm an Atheist will not scare them or make them so mad that they have to leave the table.

Today at lunch, we ate at a home cooking place that has big tables with a lazy susan in the middle.  The tables seat about 15 people and you sit with whoever comes into the restaurant at the same time as you.  There are large dishes of food, and everyone turns the lazy susan to the dish they want and serves themselves.  This was at McComb, MS, population about 13,500.  I guess it's not so strange in a small town where everyone knows each other, but can you imagine eating at a big table with a bunch of strangers in New York, Los Angeles or even Houston?  Needless to say, it was a little uncomfortable for this big city girl.  It didn't help that as we all sat down, one older gentleman asked who was going to 'thank the Lord' for our meal.  At least no one offered to do so, and thus I avoided an even more uncomfortable situation than eating at a table with strangers. 

Monday, January 18, 2010

"About SECULAR Center" Video Up!

The "About SECULAR Center" video is now up on our YouTube account and on the front page of our website!  We made the video for people who are wondering why they should volunteer with the SECULAR Center, and to let you know how you can get involved!  Please check it out and let us know your thoughts!

Friday, January 15, 2010

SCUSA Submits its First Grant!

Last night at 10:30 pm CST, the SECULAR Center submitted its first federal grant on behalf of SMART Recovery, a secular addiction recovery program, and Atheist Alliance International (AAI).  The grant proposal is titled: The SMART Recovery/AAI Substance Abuse Treatment (SASAT) Project.

The grant was almost 75 pages long and detailed the SASAT Project's plan to expand SMART Recovery meetings into 15 areas in the United States over three years, reaching an additional 500 participants per year.  The non-religious community has offered its overwhelming support of this program through letters of assistance from SCUSA, AAI, and the American Humanist Association.  Year one target expansion areas are Los Angeles, Houston, Washington DC, Kansas City, and Madison, WI. 

As part of the SASAT Project, SCUSA has agreed to help recruit volunteer Meeting Facilitators and several paid positions including Program Facilitators for each year one target area, as well as a Project Manager based out of one of the five target areas.  So, if you're interested in learning more about this exciting project, please e-mail