"Rep. Jared Huffman" by JD Lasica / CC BY 2.0

During coronavirus crisis, Congress’s first caucus for nonreligious belief seeks a larger role in promoting science

Apr 10, 2020

By Julie Zauzmer

When Rep. Jared Huffman (D-Calif.) found out that a Trump administration rule that restricts research using fetal tissue from elective abortions was hampering scientists seeking treatments for the novel coronavirus, he had a coterie of like-minded members of Congress ready to help him protest.

The group is called the Congressional Freethought Caucus — the first caucus for nonreligious members of Congress and those who advocate for keeping religion out of government. Huffman, the only avowed non-theist in Congress, and Rep. Jamie B. Raskin (D-Md.) founded the group in 2018.

The coronavirus struck just as the caucus’s dozen members were having discussions early this year about how they could play a more active role in policymaking. The crisis has provided an opportunity for them to loudly proclaim the importance of science as the grounding for laws.

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