The Secular Coalition for America is organizing a Maine chapter that will lobby state lawmakers in favor of a strong separation of religion and government, according to a press release from the national organization based in Washington, D.C.

The organizing call-in meeting for the Secular Coalition for Maine will be held at 1 p.m. Sept. 13. Those interested may call 530-881-1400, and enter participant access code 978895.

Participation is open to anyone who supports a strong separation of religion and government and wants to get involved, regardless of personal religious beliefs, according to the press release.

A recent Pew Forum study indicated that 41 percent of Maine residents do not express an absolute belief in God, and 58 percent disagreed that “religion is very important to their lives.” Another Pew study found that half of Americans say churches and other houses of worship should keep out of political matters, and 38 percent say there has been too much expression of religious faith and prayer from political leaders.

No specific legislative agenda has been set for the Maine chapter yet. In general, the Secular Coalition focuses on legislation that attempts to insert religion, religious privileging or religion-based discrimination into secular laws or uses taxpayer funding to support, promote or proselytize religion or religious beliefs.

The Secular Coalition for America is a lobbying organization that represents 11 member organizations, including humanist and atheist groups, and nontheistic Americans, advocates for a strong separation of religion and government at the federal level. The Secular Coalition plans to launch 50 new state chapters by the end of 2012 to lobby at the state level.