-Representatives Jamie Raskin and Jared Huffman
“We’ve offered the new administration a roadmap to restore our basic constitutional values and protect science, reason and public health in American government.”
WASHINGTON, D.C. (Nov. 30, 2020)—As President-elect Biden works to solidify an agenda for his first term in office, secular Americans today weighed in, urging the incoming administration to prioritize the separation of church and state. A new report from Secular Democrats for America (SDA)— supported by Representatives Jared Huffman and Jamie Raskin, co-chairs of the Congressional Freethought Caucus, as well as caucus member Rep. Jerry McNerney—calls out President Trump for advancing a right-wing Christian nationalist agenda and offers a path for the Biden-Harris administration to restore the secular government envisioned by our nation’s founders.
Among a number of areas of concern highlighted by the report are the unconstitutional government funding of sectarian programs and religion-based discrimination, the marginalization of science in addressing the COVID-19 pandemic and opioid epidemic, public servants using their positions to proselytize, and the failure to protect religious minorities abroad from persecution and discrimination at home.
In turn, the group offered a detailed set of policy initiatives and programs the Biden administration can adopt, along with a list of Trump-era executive orders, programs, regulations, and guidance that need direct repeal or intervention.
said Huffman and Raskin –
“Since our founding, the essential guarantee for individual religious freedom and popular secular government has been the separation of church and state. President-elect Biden and Vice President-elect Harris should quickly reverse the dangerous theocratic power plays Donald Trump brought to Washington.”
continued the two Congressmen –
“We advise obvious moves to renew our Constitutional values, like centering science in our decision-making, protecting reproductive freedom and ensuring that the government doesn’t promote or subsidize religious discrimination. We’ve offered the new administration basic steps for reasserting constitutional freedom and secular government.”
According to Pew Research, nonreligious Americans represent a huge chunk of the electorate—30 percent of 2018 voters—and are overwhelmingly pro-Biden. The demographic is the youngest, fastest growing religious group in the nation that has been recognized by the Democratic Party as a core element of their constituency now and in the future.
Sarah Levin, program director for the Secular Democrats of America
“Tens of millions of secular Americans stood with Joe Biden and Kamala Harris on Election Day because they want a government that reflects their values. President Trump placed religious privilege above both individual freedom and our democratic way of life. Our community voted to displace his discriminatory, anti-science, sectarian ideology and rebuild a government that protects and supports all Americans.”
continued Levin –
“It’s discouraging that only one party nominated candidates who respect expertise and make decisions based on reason, science, and evidence. That should be the baseline for every public official and for the policies of our constitutionally secular government. Secular Americans overwhelmingly value evidence-based decision making and we’re tired of watching our government miss the mark—we expect the new administration to take the critical steps necessary to restore and protect our Constitutional norms, and more.”
The Secular Democrats report mirrors a nonpartisan legislative and policy agenda released today by the Secular Coalition for America and their 19 member organizations. It is clear that the entire secular community, regardless of party affiliation, hopes that 2021 will see a flurry of government actions that restore the separation of church and state and more.
The full report from Secular Democrats of America –
All current Secular Democrats of America members caucus with the Democratic Party. The 116th Congress has 14 declared members.
Jared Huffman (CA-2, San Rafael) – co-chair Zoe Lofgren (CA-19, San Jose) Jerry McNerney (CA-9, Stockton)
Hank Johnson (GA-4, Decatur)
Sean Casten (IL-6, Chicago)
Jamie Raskin (MD-8, Takoma Park) – co-chair
Dan Kildee (MI-5, Flint Township) Rashida Tlaib (MI-13, Detroit)
Susan Wild (PA-07)
Steve Cohen (TN-9, Memphis)
Don Beyer (VA-8, Arlington)
Pramila Jayapal (WA-7, Seattle)
Eleanor Holmes Norton (Delegate, Washington, D.C.)
Mark Pocan (WI-2, Madison)