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Dem lawmakers launch 'Freethought' congressional caucus

Dem lawmakers launch 'Freethought' congressional caucus
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Four Democratic congressmen on Monday launched a congressional caucus they said would center on fostering "science and reason-based solutions" and "defending the secular character of our government."

California Reps. Jared HuffmanJared William HuffmanCongress can’t give ranchers a pass when they abuse national park access How the Trump tax law passed: GOP adds sweeteners McCarthy joins push asking Trump for more wildfire aid in California MORE (D) and Jerry McNerneyGerlad (Jerry) Mark McNerneyTrump’s clean power plan replacement is exactly what the coal industry needs House Dems press FCC chairman for answers on false cyberattack claim Overnight Energy: Poll finds majority oppose Trump offshore drilling plan | Senators say Trump endorsed ethanol deal | Automaker group wants to keep increasing efficiency standards MORE (D) joined forces with Rep. Jamie RaskinJamin (Jamie) Ben RaskinClinical trials are a lifeline for women with gynecologic cancers Reporter tops lawmakers to win charity spelling bee Dems seek probe into EPA head’s meetings with former clients MORE (D-Md.) and Dan KildeeDaniel (Dan) Timothy KildeeBlue wave poses governing risks for Dems Dems gain momentum 50 days before midterms Dems' confidence swells with midterms fast approaching MORE (D-Mich.) to launch the Congressional Freethought Caucus. 

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According to a release, the goals of the caucus include pushing “public policy formed on the basis of reason, science, and moral values,” to promote “secular character of our government by adhering to the strict Constitutional principle of the separation of church and state,” as well as opposing “discrimination against atheists, agnostics, humanists, seekers, religious and nonreligious persons” and giving “a forum for members of Congress to discuss their moral frameworks, ethical values, and personal religious journeys.”

Huffman and Raskin will co-chair the caucus. 

“This is historic," Raskin said in a statement. “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."

Secular organizations, such as the Center for Freethought Equality and the American Humanist Association, said they were involved in the in caucus's conception, according to The Washington Times.

The launch of the caucus stands in stark contrast to the Trump administration, which has worked closely with various evangelical leaders in President TrumpDonald John TrumpKey takeaways from the Arizona Senate debate Major Hollywood talent firm considering rejecting Saudi investment money: report Mattis says he thought 'nothing at all' about Trump saying he may leave administration MORE's faith advisory team. 

“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," Huffman said in a statement.