Rep. Don Beyer (D-Virginia) Has Joined the Congressional Freethought Caucus November 20, 2020

Rep. Don Beyer (D-Virginia) Has Joined the Congressional Freethought Caucus

The Congressional Freethought Caucus has just grown one member larger: Democratic Rep. Don Beyer, a former Lieutenant Governor of Virginia and congressional representative since 2015, announced this afternoon that he would join the group at the urging of Reps. Jared Huffman and Jamie Raskin (who founded the Caucus).

Given that we’re in a transition period and Beyer just won re-election with 75% of the votes, this is the perfect time to join the Caucus — or do anything that might be perceived as “controversial” by critics. Though let’s be honest: Look at his tweet. There’s nothing controversial about this group!

Like most of his colleagues in the Caucus, Beyer is religious. The Pew Research Center listed him as “Anglican/Episcopal” in their 2018 roundup. However, he’s long been a supporter of (actual) religious freedom. In 2017, in response to Donald Trump‘s Muslim ban, Beyer even introduced a bill — the Freedom of Religion Act — that would have prohibited “barring immigrants, refugees, and international visitors from entry on the basis of religion.”

Beyer has also shown signs of frustration in the past whenever government officials used God to promote bad policy or bad ideas — or twisted the Bible to make a bad point:

Beyer received a generous reception online after his announcement:

In case you need a refresher, the CFC was announced in 2018 by Rep. Huffman, a Humanist and currently the only openly non-religious member of Congress.

It now has a total of 14 members, including co-chair Huffman. The others are:

Rep. Jamie Raskin (D-MD) (Also a co-chair)
Rep. Jerry McNerney (D-CA) (Also a co-chair)
Rep. Dan Kildee (D-MI)
Rep. Mark Pocan (D-WI)
Rep. Rashida Tlaib (D-MI)
Rep. Pramila Jayapal (D-WA)
Rep. Steve Cohen (D-TN)
Rep. Hank Johnson (D-GA)
Rep. Zoe Lofgren (D-CA)
Rep. Susan Wild (D-PA)
Rep. Sean Casten (D-IL)
Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-D.C.)

Every single member won re-election earlier this month.

To be clear, this isn’t an “atheist club” for Congress, as some critics have suggested. This is just a group of lawmakers dedicated to promoting reason-based public policy, keeping church and state separate, opposing discrimination against non-religious people, and championing freedom of thought around the world. There’s really no reason anyone should be against this, including religious politicians.

The hope is that the membership continues growing — making the Caucus more influential — while the stigma of being an atheist (or even being associated with non-religiosity) decreases across the country. Those two things are more closely linked than we might imagine.

(Screenshot via YouTube. Portions of this article were published earlier)

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