Washington, DCÔÇöAt last, many of the worldÔÇÖs most highly regarded thinkers will work together to compile and disseminate the latest research in support of a secular society. Upholding the viewpoints of a diverse global community, the Secular Policy Institute (SPI) will serve as an advocate for scientific and rational principles in U.S. Congress and in governments abroad.

Edwina Rogers, a 20-year public policy expert and former Presidential Economic Advisor, will serve as CEO for a coalition of 30 fellows, including well-known authors and speakers such as Stephen Pinker, Carolyn Porco, Richard Dawkins, Lawrence Krauss, Rebecca Goldstein, Taslima Nasrin, Daniel Dennett, Amatzia Baram, Sam Harris, and Elizabeth Loftus. All Fellows hold doctorates or other qualified degrees in areas including Law and Public Health, International Studies, Sociology and Moral Philosophy, History and Logic, Cultural and Biological Evolution, Cognitive Psychology and Neuroscience, Ecology and Geology, Physics and Education. Their mission is a to promote comprehensive and unbiased dialogues on topics of political import (i.e. the separation of church and state) that will help to inform and influence decision makers.

ÔÇ£The resources we can now provide will be invaluable to legislators,ÔÇØ Ms. Rogers commented, ÔÇ£And also to secular and nonreligious people around the globe. Many feel that their governments are not looking out for them, and some even live in fear of persecution for their beliefs. We have long been needing to give these people a voice, in a big way.ÔÇØ

ÔÇ£This has been a project in the making for quite some time,ÔÇØ echoed Steve Rade, the Chairman and Founder of SPI. ÔÇ£The reality is that secular projects encounter much more resistance than those that are faith-based. We finally have a strong infrastructure here, and weÔÇÖre excited about our team, and the possibility of changing the game in Washington.ÔÇØ

Among its many initiatives, the Institute will host Congressional briefings in the U.S. Capitol Building and will plan an annual conference of the Fellows, open to both policymakers and the public. On the international front, SPI will actively seek UN Observer Status. Throughout the year, the tank will fund original studies and compile peer-reviewed reports on global trends in religiosity and belief.

ÔÇ£Polling data already indicates that the number of nonreligious Americans has increased fourfold since the 1960s, but weÔÇÖre still fighting for a seat at the tableÔÇØ Rogers added. ÔÇ£With the Institute up and running, we can hope to carry more clout with both our politicians and our compatriots.ÔÇØ

The Institute hosts a virtual platform at http://secularpolicyinstitute.net. Publically available there are various resources tapped into a worldwide poolÔÇöfrom articles, surveys, academic papers, and books, to secular group and event listingsÔÇöas well as an informal forum (Blog) for the Fellows. As a nonprofit, SPI also accepts donations on the website in any amount.

CONTACT: Madeline Schussel, SPI Policy Director, at madeline.schussel@secularpolicyinstitute.net.