This Monday, four Democratic congressmen launched a congressional caucus designed to promote “science and reason-based solutions” and “defending the secular character of our government,” The Hill reports.
The Congressional Freethought Caucus was launched by Reps. Jared Huffman (D-CA), Jerry McNerney (D-CA), Rep. Jamie Raskin (D-MD) and Dan Kildee (D-MI).
According to a press release published by the lawmakers, the caucus seeks to promote “public policy formed on the basis of reason, science, and moral values,” along with the “secular character of our government by adhering to the strict Constitutional principle of the separation of church and state.”
The caucus also seeks to combat “discrimination against atheists, agnostics, humanists, seekers, religious and nonreligious persons” and to give “a forum for members of Congress to discuss their moral frameworks, ethical values, and personal religious journeys.”
“This is historic,” Raskin, who will co-chair the caucus, said in the release.
“Two-and-a-half centuries after the Founders of our country separated church and state and guaranteed the individual freedoms of thought, conscience, speech and worship, it is a high honor to be a co-founder and member of the Congressional Freethought Caucus, which is organizing to defend these principles and values against continuing attack,” he said.
“We face a constant undertow in Congress of dangerous efforts to stifle science and promote official religious dogma and orthodoxy,” Raskin continued. “Our job is to remind Congress of the kind of Enlightenment Republic that Thomas Jefferson, James Madison, John Adams, Tom Paine, Ben Franklin, Abraham Lincoln, Susan B. Anthony, Franklin D. Roosevelt and John F. Kennedy were fighting for and to seek a democracy that protects both the rights of individual conscience and worship and the central role of reason, science and morality in the making of public policy.”
As The Hill points out, other secular organizations, such as the Center for Freethought Equality and the American Humanist Association, took part in the genesis of caucus.
In a separate statement, Rep. Jared Huffman said that the caucus is a response to the growing influence evangelicals have in the White House.
“There currently is no forum focused on these important issues, and with this Administration and certain members of Congress constantly working to erode the separation of church and state, this new caucus is both important and timely,” he said.
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