Earlier this week, as the new Congress was sworn into office, the Congressional Freethought Caucus hosted a reception for members. There are currently 10 members of the House in the CFC, though hopefully more will join soon.
Rep. Jamie Raskin, one of the co-chairs of the CFC along with Rep. Jared Huffman and Rep. Jerry McNerney, gave an informal speech at the event reminding us that there are reasonable people in Congress. (Just not enough of them.) He also longed for a day when we have a more robust, more influential secular movement — certainly when it comes to politics.
.@RepRaskin, a co-chair of the Congressional Freethought Caucus, addresses attendees at a reception on Capitol Hill; "We need a secular movement that is big, and strong, and aggressive — and we consider ourselves the parliamentary arm of it." pic.twitter.com/iKuczDAVHz
— Secular Coalition for America (@seculardotorg) January 11, 2019
… Thanks for being with us. Thanks for standing with us. I wanted to call it the Freethinkers Caucus because I thought that was more provocative, but [Rep.] Jared [Huffman] wanted to tone it down a little bit.
But everything that’s going on in the United States of America today is a testament to the power of irrationality and unreason, and the destruction of science and critical thinking. And the shutdown of the government, which affects 88,000 federal workers in my district, and tens of thousands more private contractors and small business people, is a tribute to an administration which doesn’t care about science or data or even basic logic.And the shocking thing is that you have an entire political party now operating like a religious cult. Whatever the leader says, they will go with it. It could be black one day, white the next day, makes no difference to them…
Anyway, so this is important what we’re doing here. And we’re gonna have a very strong legislative agenda. And I’m going to be pushing real hard for the resolution I worked with the American Humanist [Association] on — for anti-blasphemy and anti-apostasy and heresy and witchcraft and sorcery resolution… because there’s hundreds of people around the world who are rotting in prison tonight because they’ve been convicted of imaginary medieval offenses that we were able to get rid of, mostly, 100-150 years ago. So we’ll be doing that.
We need a secular movement that is big and strong and aggressive. And we’d like to consider ourselves the parliamentary arm of it.
It’s almost disappointing to realize a resolution may be all they can do for now, at least until Republicans lose control of the Senate and White House in 2020 at the earliest.
It’s also disappointing that this kind of rhetoric — calling a spade a spade when it comes to the GOP’s obsequiousness and celebrating reason and rationality — is a minority view within the government. When the reasonable people have to meet in a small room while the crazy people run everything else, the government is almost better off not functioning. (If only so many lives and livelihoods weren’t at stake…)
But I’m thrilled these members of Congress are willing to stand for reason. May many, many others join their caucus of common sense.