Washington, D.C. – Today, the Congressional Freethought Caucus hosted its first annual Thomas Paine Breakfast. This event intends to honor the very ideals of reason, freethought, science, and ethics, that were championed by its Founding Father namesake.
In a time when theocratic and anti-science rhetoric is finding receptive ears at all levels of civic society, this breakfast will serve as a counterweight, bringing together Members of Congress with secular and religious champions of reason and science. It is the hope of the Caucus that this annual event will grow to be a large impactful tradition.
The inaugural keynote speakers were Dr. Michael Mann and Dr. Daniell.
Dr. Michael E. Mann is Distinguished Professor of Atmospheric Science at Penn State, with joint appointments in the Department of Geosciences and the Earth and Environmental Systems Institute. He has received many honors and awards, including NOAA’s outstanding publication award in 2002 and selection by Scientific American as one of the fifty leading visionaries in science and technology in 2002. Additionally, he contributed, with other IPCC authors, to the award of the 2007 Nobel Peace Prize. His most recent book, The New Climate War:The Fight to Take Back Our Planet, published in 2021, shows how fossil fuel companies have waged a thirty-year campaign to deflect blame and responsibility and delay action on climate change, and offers a plan to save the planet.
Dr. Danielle Allen, James Bryant Conant University Professor at Harvard University and Director of Harvard’s Edmond J. Safra Center for Ethics, has published broadly in democratic theory, political sociology, and the history of political thought. Widely known for her work on justice and citizenship in modern America and ancient Athens, Allen’s recent publications include Our Declaration: A Reading of the Declaration of Independence in Defense of Equality (2014), Education and Equality (2016), and Cuz: The Life and Times of Michael A. (2017). She is the co-editor of the award-winning Education, Justice, and Democracy and From Voice to Influence: Understanding Citizenship in the Digital Age. Allen is also the principal investigator
Each spoke about the pressing need for robust societal investment of time and resources into creating and maintaining infrastructure that upholds a culture of reason, facts, and truthfulness. Through the examples of disinformation (and misinformation) on social media and climate change, they demonstrated that while there is great urgency to address these crises, there is also great agency that lies with our current institutions.
The Secular Coalition for America was proud to join the Congressional Freethought Caucus for their Inaugural Thomas Paine Breakfast, and looks forward to many more in the future and the promotion of reason and science in our nation’s capital.