By Kevin Bogardus - 05/03/12 03:16 PM EDT
Edwina Rogers will head up the the Secular Coalition for America.
Rogers, a longtime Republican lobbyist who has worked in the George W. Bush White House and for GOP senators, will start as the atheist lobby group's executive director on May 3.
"For too long, the 50 million secular Americans have been ignored, underappreciated and undervalued — that’s what drew me to the Secular Coalition for America," Rogers said in a statement. "It’s time to change that. Secular Americans are increasingly pulling together as a voting bloc that demands attention — a constituency that is due formidable representation in Washington, D.C."
Herb Silverman, the coalition's president, said they hope Rogers will help introduce the group to conservatives.
"Edwina Rogers is an exciting addition to the organization. Her experience managing nonprofit coalitions, along with her lobbying and staffing proficiency on Capitol Hill, are the needed skills that can bring the Secular Coalition to a new level," Silverman said in a statement. "We are confident that Ms. Rogers will help to broaden the base and expand the movement beyond its traditional reach, including to the many conservatives who share our secular values and who have not previously been aware of the Secular Coalition for America."
The coalition is the lobby group for atheists, agnostics and humanists — "nontheistic Americans," as coined by the group. It advocates for more recognition by lawmakers for atheists as well as maintaining the separation of church and state.
Rogers was most recently executive director of the Patient Centered Primary Care Collaborative. She worked at the National Economic Council for President George W. Bush. Rogers was also an aide for ex-Sen. Trent Lott (R-Miss.) and was general counsel to the National Republican Senatorial Committee.