Rep. Jamie Raskin, D-Md., in his taped remarks before the recent annual national convention of the Freedom From Religion Foundation in San Antonio called out the “theocrats, the autocrats, and the kleptocrats, and all of the enemies of democracy.”
Raskin, a key figure leading the congressional investigation into the attack on the Capitol, went on to castigate “the religious cultists, would-be dictators and tyrants, all of them trying to overthrow American democracy. So, we’ve got to hang tough against the forces of white Christian nationalism that arrayed against us on Jan. 6 right alongside the Proud Boys and the Oath Keepers and the 3 Percenters and the Aryan Nations and the militia groups and the QAnon networks.”
Raskin also discussed in his remarks how the wall of the separation of state and church is critical to the functioning of our democracy.
“We’ve got to stand strong for reason,” he said. “We’ve got to stand strong for science. We’ve got to stand strong for our constitutional democracy and we’ve got to stand strong for progress.”
Raskin has been a stalwart proponent of secularism in Congress as a founding member and co-chair of the Congressional Freethought Caucus. Its mission statement is “to promote public policy formed on the basis of reason, science, and moral values; to protect the secular character of our government by adhering to the strict constitutional principle of the separation of church and state; to oppose discrimination against atheists, agnostics, humanists, seekers, religious and nonreligious persons, and to champion the value of freedom of thought and conscience worldwide; and to provide a forum for members of Congress to discuss their moral frameworks, ethical values, and personal religious journeys.”
Raskin’s work in Congress has often reflected his passionate secular stance. He has been the leading light behind the move in Congress to sanction the construction of a long overdue memorial to freethinking Founder Thomas Paine. A bill he has introduced, HR 6720, will authorize the Thomas Paine Memorial Association to establish the commemorative work in the District of Columbia. And he joined other secular-minded members of Congress last year in asking regulatory authorities to investigate health care ministries, dubious entities that don’t cover routine care or medications, can drop coverage or kick someone out for almost any reason (including a pre-existing condition), have a lifetime cap on benefits, aren’t regulated, don’t have to possess any cash reserves, and can hide information about coverage, payouts, terms and conditions.
Raskin in 2019 deservedly received the Freedom From Religion Foundation’s Clarence Darrow Award, which recognizes “those who exemplify Clarence Darrow’s commitment to the law, to freethought and to doing battle with ignorance and injustice.”
Raskin has been a good friend of FFRF and has been on its TV show a number of times. FFRF is grateful that the congressman feels so comfortable with the state/church watchdog so as to issue such an important statement to its convention attendees. Congressional Freethought Caucus Co-Chair Rep. Jared Huffman also gave a similarly affirming welcoming address via video to the San Antonio FFRF convention.
“It has never been more critical that if we want to have a thriving democracy we must maintain the wall of separation of state and church,” says FFRF Co-President Annie Laurie Gaylor. “Without it, autocrats and theocrats will have the religious justification to override our secular democracy and impose their dominant religion on the rest of us. Rep. Raskin is a valiant defender of the separation of state and church and we cannot thank him enough for his leadership and critical thinking on this vital issue.”
The Freedom From Religion Foundation is a national nonprofit organization with a current membership of more than 39,000 members. Our purposes are to protect the constitutional principle of separation between state and church, and to educate the public on matters relating to nontheism.