Legislative Update – October 16, 2018

Brett Kavanaugh’s Confirmation

Although we did not get the outcome we hoped for, Judge Kavanaugh’s confirmation made us much stronger as a movement, and that is no small feat. Here is how we have grown:

    • The Secular Coalition for America (SCA) engaged our member organizations, allies on Capitol Hill, supporters and allied organizations to analyze Judge Kavanaugh’s judicial record. Our Member Organizations engaged the Senate Judiciary Committee to explain why we ultimately decided to oppose his confirmation, a decision based not on partisan politics, but on an in-depth analysis of his judicial record, which revealed a disturbing lack of respect for the separation of church and state. The Members of the Congressional Freethought Caucus also came outagainst Judge Kavanaugh, and held member-to-member discussions with senators on the Judiciary Committee.
    • SCA became a greater force on the Hill. We met with the offices of Senators Hirono (HI), Blumenthal (CT), Coons (DE), Whitehouse (RI), Tester (MT), Donnelly (IN), Jones (AL) and Klobuchar (MN). We spoke directly with Senators Manchin (WV), Klobuchar (MN), Reed (RI), Tester (MT), Heitkamp (ND), Van Hollen (MD), Hassan (NH), Blumenthal (CT), Peters (MI), Smith (MN), Menendez (NJ) and Leahy (VT) about the nomination. We will continue to meet with Members of Congress to raise the voices of secular Americans like you.

    • Our grassroots supporters sent an unprecedented 4,599 emails and made almost 500 phone calls to their Senators. We are so lucky to have supporters like you who show up and won’t back down when our fundamental freedoms are threatened.

    • We worked closely with our allies at the Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, which allowed us to coordinate efforts with the broader “No on Judge Kavanaugh Community.” Legal experts from American Atheists, American Humanist Association, Center for Inquiry, Freedom From Religion Foundation helped the broader coalition by going over thousands of Judge Kavanaugh’s records and educated lawmakers and the public on why Judge Kavanaugh is a threat to the separation of church and state.

Congressional Briefing On Blasphemy Laws

Blasphemy laws continue to harm religious and non-religious minorities across the world. The Secular Coalition for America, the Center for Inquiry and the American Humanist Association held two briefings on Capitol Hill to raise awareness of the people around the world who are suffering under Blasphemy laws and to advance Senate Resolution 647 andHouse Resolution 349. These resolutions call for a global repeal of blasphemy, heresy, and apostasy laws. We are proud that Republican and Democratic Members alike are leading on this issue. Speakers at the briefings included:

      • Representative Jamie Raskin (MD), co-founder of the Congressional Freethought Caucus;
      • Larry Decker, Executive Director of the Secular Coalition for America;

      • Knox Thames, Special Advisor for Religious Minorities in the Near East and South/Central Asia, Department of State;

      • Robyn Blumner, President and CEO, Center for Inquiry;

      • Matthew Bulger, Legislative Director, American Humanist Association;

      • Elizabeth K. Cassidy, Director of International Law and Policy, United States Commission on International Religious Freedom;

      • Sarah Haider, Executive Director, Ex-Muslims of North America;

      • Jennifer Hawks, Associate General Counsel, Baptist Joint Committee for Religious Liberty;

      • Jay Kansara, Director of Government Relations at the Hindu American Foundation;

      • Amjad Mahmood Khan, Esq., National Director of Public Affairs, Ahmadiyya Muslim Community USA; and

      • Matias Perttula, Advocacy Director, International Christian Concern.

Election Update

All 10 members of the Congressional Freethought Caucus are up for election. Please check out their profiles and the other secular candidates at the Freethought Equality Fund PAC website.

Remember, the secular community makes up 29% of the population but only 15% of the electorate. Get out and vote!