In 2012, Dr Meredith Doig and Rod Bower of the Rationalist Society of Australia contacted me about speaking in Australia and New Zealand. Initially, I was uncertain about making such a trip – after all, my book, Attack of the Theocrats: How the Religious Right Harms Us All and What We Can Do About It!, is about a strategic plan to rid American society of theocratic policies. My book is based largely on my experience as an American politician, lobbyist and political organizer. Also, I thought that since I work for the Richard Dawkins Foundation for Reason & Science, people really would want Richard Dawkins himself – not me. Finally, I assumed that a secular speaking tour of Australia was redundant because it is perfect – they have no such problems Down Under. Right?
Nevertheless, Meredith Doig – perhaps the single most determined and well-organized volunteer secular activist I have met – kept answering questions and educating me. I continued on with my schedule, speaking and organizing on other issues, but, bit by bit, I came to recognize serious problems of church-state separation in Australia and New Zealand.
So, a trip was planned that led to my meeting a remarkable group of activists with a new focus for Australian and New Zealand secular events (after all, they’d already hosted wonderfully successful conferences). Our focus (I did feel I became at least an honorary Australian and New Zealander) was on public policy and the issues and laws unique to these countries that require a clear, strong secular response.