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Democrats Launch Non-Religious ‘Freethought Caucus’

The US Capitol
The US Capitol (Photo: PAUL J. RICHARDS / AFP / Getty Images)

Four House Democrats have established a ‘“Freethought Caucus” dedicated to those of no religious affiliation. The Freethought Caucus aims to represent agnostics, atheists and humanists and to promote science and reason in government.

The caucus was founded by Representatives Jared Huffman (D-CA), Jamie Raskin (D-MD), Jerry McNerney (D-CA), and Dan Kildee (D-MI).

According to a statement put out by the newly formed Freethought Caucus, it has four main goals:

  1. To promote public policy formed on the basis of reason, science and moral values
  2. To protect the secular character of the government by adhering to the strict constitutional principle of the separation of church and state
  3. To oppose discrimination against atheists, agnostics, humanists, seekers, religious and nonreligious persons, and to champion the value of freedom of thought and conscience worldwide
  4. To provide a forum for members of Congress to discuss their moral frameworks, ethical values and personal religious journeys.

“I’m thrilled to be a co-founder of the new Congressional Freethought Caucus, which will help spark an open dialogue about science and reason-based policy solutions, and the importance of defending the secular character of our government,” Rep. Huffman said in a press release launching the caucus. “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.”

The number of non-religious and non-affiliated people has risen dramatically in recent years. In 2007, just 16% of the country identified as atheist, compared to 23% in 2014, according to one PEW poll.

“We are delighted at the formation of a freethought caucus in Congress,” Freedom From Religion Foundation Co-President Annie Laurie Gaylor said in a statement. “Finally, the significant portion of Americans who are not religious will have representation in Congress.”

It remains to be seen, in our politically correct world,  if the caucus will stand up for the rights of Muslims who leave the fold and are threatened with death (or their groups removed from Facebook). Or those who Islamists try to shut down for merely exercising their right to free speech.

Let’s hope the caucus upholds the Constitution for all citizens.

 

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Elliot Friedland
Elliot Friedland is a research fellow at Clarion Project.

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