Rep. Jamie Raskin, from Maryland’s 8th District, has received a 100/100 score on FFRF Action Fund’s Dynamic Scorecard, which evaluates members of the House on their commitment to the separation of state and church. Throughout his formidable career, Raskin has relentlessly protected the rights of nonbelievers and fought against the growing threat of Christian nationalism.
Raskin co-founded the Congressional Freethought Caucus, with Reps. Jared Huffman and Jerry McNerney, and currently co-chairs the caucus with Huffman. The caucus works in part to preserve the fundamental secular character of the U.S. government by “adhering to the strict constitutional principle of the separation of church and state” and has acted as a reliable way to pinpoint the freethought champions we can rely on within Congress since 2018.
Raskin received FFRF’s “Clarence Darrow” Award in 2019, an award that recognizes “deserving supporters of freethought or the separation of church and state,” and accepted it via an appreciative video speech. During his remarks, Raskin acknowledged the secular values integral to the founding of the United States, noting that the Framers of the Constitution wanted “to put government on a secular and rational basis” — protecting both the “freedom of religion” and “freedom from religion.” Raskin also appeared on FFRF’s “Freethought Matters” TV show in 2022, where he spoke about his book Unthinkable, detailing his experience during the Jan. 6 insurrection and his work as House manager of former President Trump’s second impeachment trial. Raskin discussed Christian nationalism’s role in the attack on the Capitol and his admiration for Thomas Paine, a regrettably forgotten Founder and renowned freethinker.
Raskin’s commitment to freethought and Paine’s legacy was demonstrated by his introduction of legislation last year that authorized the construction of a Thomas Paine memorial in the nation’s capital. Raskin asserted the necessity of this memorial by pointing to the long-overdue need for recognition of Paine’s contributions to the launching of “a nation founded on principles of democratic self-government, the rights of men and women, and reason and science.” The bill was signed into law by President Biden on Dec. 29, 2022, and the goal is to complete construction by July 4, 2026, honoring the 250th anniversary of the Declaration of Independence.
The preservation of secular values in the U.S. government has been significantly aided by Raskin’s commendable career, and we are thankful to have him on our side while fighting for the future of secular government and freedom of conscience.