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 HuffmanOvernight Energy: Court rules for Trump in environmental case over border wall | House bill would stop Alaska refuge drilling | Ads target Dems over Green New Deal Lawmakers introduce bill to ban drilling in Alaska wildlife refuge Overnight Energy: EPA enforcement numbers at historic low | Dems push resolution to back Paris climate agreement | Top lawmaker demands Interior nominee's schedules 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 RaskinGaming executive calls Justice Department's opinion on Wire Act 'perplexing' Trump's acting attorney general tells Democrat his time is up in testy hearing Dems accused of MeToo hypocrisy in Virginia MORE (D-Md.) and Dan KildeeDaniel (Dan) Timothy KildeeTrump, Dems have reasons to work together, but tensions are boiling over The Hill's 12:30 Report: Funding talks, round two | Trump says another shutdown 'certainly' possible | Trump mocks Starbucks CEO over 2020 talk Top Dem to fellow lawmakers: 'Ignore the president' on wall 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 TrumpTrump nominates Jeffrey Rosen to replace Rosenstein at DOJ McCabe says ‘it’s possible’ Trump is a Russian asset McCabe: Trump ‘undermining the role of law enforcement’ 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.