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 HuffmanDem tensions snag defense bill O'Rourke's defends his 'war tax' amid criticism Dems eye repeal of Justice rule barring presidential indictments MORE (D) and Jerry McNerneyGerlad (Jerry) Mark McNerneyLawmakers grow impatient for FDA cannabis rules Trump’s clean power plan replacement is exactly what the coal industry needs House Dems press FCC chairman for answers on false cyberattack claim MORE (D) joined forces with Rep. Jamie RaskinJamin (Jamie) Ben RaskinDemocrats erupt over Trump attacks Schumer plans Senate resolution condemning Trump tweets Trump accuses Pelosi of 'racist statement' for saying MAGA means 'make America white again' MORE (D-Md.) and Dan KildeeDaniel (Dan) Timothy KildeeTrump threatens veto on defense bill that targets 'forever chemicals' Democrats already jockeying for House leadership posts Cracks form in Democratic dam against impeachment 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 TrumpEsper sidesteps question on whether he aligns more with Mattis or Trump Warren embraces Thiel label: 'Good' As tensions escalate, US must intensify pressure on Iran and the IAEA 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.