Thanks to a bipartisan initiative, a congressional bill to correct a massive historical oversight is likely to be approved during this session.
Under the leadership of Reps. Jamie Raskin, D-Md., and Victoria Spartz, R-Ind., the Thomas Paine Memorial Bill (HR 6720) has been included in the Omnibus Package (see page 2975). This package is extremely likely to pass the House and Senate and be signed into law by President Biden in the next few days. Once the bill has been signed, the Thomas Paine Memorial Association, of which the Freedom From Religion Foundation (FFRF) is a proud member, will begin working with the National Capital Memorial Advisory Commission on advancing the project.
“We are one step closer to getting Thomas Paine the recognition he deserves in our nation’s capital,” says Annie Laurie Gaylor, co-president and co-founder of the Freedom from Religion Foundation.
“I cannot thank Representatives Raskin and Spartz enough for leading this bipartisan bill through Congress,” says Margaret Downey, president of the Thomas Paine Memorial Association. “We would not be here today without them.”
Thomas Paine was one the greatest political writers and philosophers of the Revolutionary era. He was a Founder, veteran and patriot far ahead of his time. He galvanized the American public to support the Revolution with his pamphlet Common Sense, which spelled out the case for independence from Great Britain. Paine then served in the Continental Army.
A friend to humanity and a foe to tyrants, Thomas Paine championed the rights of the “common” people, and believed emphatically in the dignity and rights of humans, which drove him to challenge the divine right of kings, forever changing the course of U.S. history. Hopefully, he will finally be memorialized in a way befitting his central role in our nation’s founding.
The Freedom From Religion Foundation, a state/church watchdog, is the country’s largest freethought organization, with 38,000 nonreligious members and 23 chapters all across the country.