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 HuffmanDemocrats call for stimulus to boost Social Security benefits by 0 a month Schiff: Remote voting would not compromise national security House Democrats eyeing much broader Phase 3 stimulus MORE (D) and Jerry McNerneyGerlad (Jerry) Mark McNerneyTop US providers pledge to help maintain Internet access during coronavirus outbreak California Rep. Costa endorses Biden Hillicon Valley: US hits Huawei with new charges | Judge orders Pentagon to halt 'war cloud' work amid Amazon challenge | IRS removes guidance on Fortnite game currency MORE (D) joined forces with Rep. Jamie RaskinJamin (Jamie) Ben Raskin20 House Dems call on Trump to issue two-week, nationwide shelter-in-place order Senators urge Congress to include election funds in coronavirus stimulus Vote at home saves our democracy and saves lives MORE (D-Md.) and Dan KildeeDaniel (Dan) Timothy KildeeLysol, disinfecting wipes and face masks mark coronavirus vote in House House passes trillion coronavirus relief bill, with Trump to sign quickly Congressional leaders downplay possibility of Capitol closing due to coronavirus 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 TrumpMilitary personnel to handle coronavirus patients at facilities in NYC, New Orleans and Dallas Navy hospital ship USNS Comfort has total of 20 patients: report Fauci says that all states should have stay-at-home orders 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.