Local action is the heart of the secular political movement. The values of the secular community are reason and evidence-based decision making. Although these values are not widely represented in Texas, they are the same Enlightenment values upon which our nation was founded. The voice of the secular community in Texas has long been drowned out by calls for government based on the faiths and superstitions of some of Texas' citizens. Our voices, the voices of the secular community, must be raised from the ground level. We must let our government know that we are here, that we are politically active, and that we care deeply about how our state is governed. The laws of Texas should be based on reason and evidence and in accordance with the First Amendment. The laws of Texas should also represent and treat all of its citizens equally in accordance with the Fourteenth Amendment.
One of the most important actions you can take to further the cause of the secular community in Texas is to visit your Legislators in their home offices. These kinds of visits are what let Legislators know how their constituents feel and what they want to see accomplished in the Legislature. The best time to visit your Legislator in their home office is in the off-season, even numbered years, especially toward the end of the year as they turn their attentions to the upcoming legislative session.
While not everybody can find time to visit their Legislator, everybody can find an hour to write a letter to their Legislator. Not only does it take less time, it is a much less intimidating process since you can do it from the comfort of your home or office. Like personal visits, Legislators keep records of the letters they receive and use this information when making voting decisions.
During a legislative session, especially when a bill is set to be voted on, the best way to contact your Legislator quickly is to call their office. The key to calling your Legislator to express your opinion on an issue or bill is to be clear about why you are calling and to be clear about your stance. If you are calling regarding a bill, especially if the bill is up for vote, make sure you know the correct bill number, the author of the bill and to what committee the bill was assigned.
Writing a letter to the editor of your local newspaper or other publication is a decent venue to present the secular views on current topics of interest to a broader public. The secular viewpoint is currently so underrepresented in Texas that it has become easy to vilify and dehumanize. The more the general public is exposed to the secular view point and the more normalized this view point becomes, the easier it will be to influence our government.
If you are interested in getting involved in the Secular political movement and want to target your activism at the local level, we encourage you to start a local action group. Group action at the local level, such as reaching out to your city council, school board, and local representatives, can be incredibly powerful agents of change. Local governments are the most easily accessible level of government, and the ones that make the decisions that affect us the most on a daily level.
The secular community is currently vastly underrepresented in our state government, local governments, and school boards. Real political change is not made from the top down, but from the bottom up. The key to changing Texas is in having not only politically active citizens, but office holders as well. Running for a spot on the local school board, or even getting involved in your PTA, may seem trivial; but our local governments are the most accessible. They also make most of the decisions that affect us on a day-to-day basis. It is important that our local governments make decisions based on reason and evidence.