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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 HuffmanLawmakers react to guilty verdict in Chauvin murder trial: 'Our work is far from done' Race debate grips Congress Democrats ask Biden to reverse employee policy on past marijuana use MORE (D) and Jerry McNerneyGerlad (Jerry) Mark McNerneyIn defense of misinformation House Democrats want to silence opposing views, not 'fake news' Hillicon Valley: Biden signs order on chips | Hearing on media misinformation | Facebook's deal with Australia | CIA nominee on SolarWinds MORE (D) joined forces with Rep. Jamie RaskinJamin (Jamie) Ben RaskinSix House Democrats ask Garland to review case of lawyer placed under house arrest over Chevron suit Democrats seek to keep spotlight on Capitol siege Congress and the administration cannot play games with the Congressional Review Act MORE (D-Md.) and Dan KildeeDaniel (Dan) Timothy KildeeNC House ending remote voting for lawmakers House GOP campaign arm adds to target list Michigan Democrat says he sought treatment for PTSD after Jan. 6 riot 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 TrumpDemocrats, activists blast reported Trump DOJ effort to get journalists' phone records Arizona secretary of state gets security detail over death threats surrounding election audit Trump admin got phone records of WaPo reporters covering Russia probe: report 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.