Democratic memo declares ‘rise of white Christian nationalism is a national security threat’
A Political Action Committee and a group of Democratic lawmakers want Joe Biden to pursue a ‘secular agenda’ that pushes back religious liberty gains made under Trump.
By Nicholas Ballasy – December 20, 2020
The Secular Democrats of America PAC prepared a report for Joe Biden and his transition team that outlines a roadmap to “boldly restore a vision of constitutional secularism and respect in the land for religious and intellectual pluralism.”
The federal political action committee “represents secular Democratic individuals and organizations” and advocates for “secular governance, promote respect and inclusion of nonreligious Americans, and mobilize nonreligious voters.”
The proposal was formally presented by Democratic Reps. Jamie Raskin and Jared Huffman, co-chairs of the Congressional Freethought Caucus, and endorsed by Democratic Rep. Jerry McNerney.
“We’ve offered the new administration a roadmap to restore our basic constitutional values and protect science, reason and public health in American government,” Raskin and Huffman said in a joint statement.
The proposal calls for Biden’s team to work with Congress and governors to “advance a secular agenda at all levels of government, taking into account the current makeup of the federal courts and new, unfavorable precedents that your administration will have to contend with.”
In the document, the group argues that Trump has “empowered the religious right in ways no other administration has before, making significant advances in enacting their Christian nationalist agenda.”
The proposal outlines recommendations for reversing certain policies and “proactively” implementing new rules that would “restore secularism to federal governance and disentangle entrenched religious interests from federal policy.”
Some of the recommendations in the document are related to Homeland Security policy.
“The rise of white Christian nationalism is a national security threat,” read the document. “We recommend you: encourage the Department of Homeland Security and Department of Justice to dedicate resources to de-radicalization programs aimed at hate groups, including, but not limited to, white nationalists; increase monitoring of such groups, including the online environment, and take action to address increased hate crimes toward minority faith communities; and shift rhetoric to label violent white nationalist extremists as terrorists.”
In the area of education policy, the document suggested that the U.S. Attorney General “confer with the Department Office of Legal Counsel to issue a memorandum regarding enforcement of the Establishment Clause in public schools, including students’ protection from school-sponsored proselytizing and teaching accurate, evidence-based, secular curriculum rather than creationism in the schools.”
The organization advocates for Biden to change adoption-related policies as well.
“Reverse the Trump administration policies that have allowed faith-based government-funded contractors to provide adoption and foster care services to discriminate on the basis of religion and work with Congress to pass the Every Child Deserves a Family Act,” the report urged.
In the report, the group also argues that “taxpayer dollars should not be funneled either to contractors or grantees that discriminate on the basis of religion, or to programs that promote a sectarian agenda, such as private religious schools, crisis pregnancy centers, and abstinence-only sex education.”
According to the document, the government “should not do business with organizations or contractors that will use government funds to advance a sectarian agenda, or discriminate against its employees or program beneficiaries on the basis of religion.”
The proposal advises Biden that “if performing the duties of a government contract comes into conflict with the requesting grantee or contractor’s sincerely held religious beliefs, it can and should seek funding elsewhere.”