2017 Honorees

Herb Silverman Lifetime Achievement Award

The Herb Silverman Lifetime Achievement Award is given in honor of our founder and President Emeritus, Professor Herb Silverman, to an individual who has dedicated their life to protecting the foundation of a secular government as our founders intended. Unlike other awards, this award is given to a member of the general public – not an elected official – who has worked to advocate the two tenets of the Secular Coalition for America: To work toward the separation of church and state as the greatest guarantee of freedom for all; and to increase the respectability and visibility of the nontheistic community throughout the United States.

Herb Silverman

President, Secular Coalition for America

Excellence in Journalism Award

The Excellence in Journalism Award is given to journalists and members of the media whose work conveys a respect for the secular community, an appreciation for our perspective, and a thoughtful analysis of the issues we care about. The award expresses our gratitude to those who strive to be inclusive in their media coverage and elevate the voices of nontheistic Americans into the national conversation.

Kimberly Winston

National Correspondent, Religion News Service

National Respect Award

The Respect Award is given to elected officials who have shown a deep level of respect for the nonreligious community in their words, actions, and in legislation they have sponsored or co-sponsored. The award conveys the secular community’s respect for those individuals who, religious or otherwise, have consistently included the non-religious community when talking about issues pertaining to religion. It is also awarded to individuals who have made it their personal mandate to ensure that public policy is derived from sound reason and logic, and not religious belief.

Senator Chris Coons

U.S. Senator for Delaware

Representative Jerrold Nadler

U.S. Representative for New York's 10th Congressional District

National Visibility Award

The Visibility Award given to elected officials who have gone out of their way to ensure that the nonreligious community is reflected in public life, or who – themselves – have proudly proclaimed that they are nonreligious. The recipient has inspired the secular community to recognize that people in elected office are fighting for them, regardless of the recipient’s belief system.

Senator Sheldon Whitehouse

U.S. Senator for Rhode Island

Representative Bobby Scott

U.S. Representative for Virginia's 3rd Congressional District

Representative Athena Salman

State Representative for Arizona's 26th Legislative District