Office of Public Policy


The methods of the sciences are being challenged culturally in the United States today as never before. Despite the success of scientific naturalism in providing us with unparalleled benefits, religious fundamentalists seek to inhibit free inquiry and to misrepresent the tested conclusions of scientific naturalism. This is a highly charged political issue — both science and secularism are under attack. While a number of organizations lobby and work to defend science politically, only one organization works to defend scientific naturalism in all important areas of human endeavor: the Center for Inquiry.

Because the Center for Inquiry is the only organization broadly advocating for science, reason, and secular values, with an agenda entirely built upon the success of scientific naturalism, we are well positioned to enter the public policy arena. We are the world’s foremost think tank of scientific naturalism and must address its defense where attacks have been most destructive and visible: U.S. law and public policy. We have been leading advocates in these areas, and have assembled a wide network of experts who can address the public-policy issues related to our agenda. We bring that network and expertise to the nation’s capital.

The Center for Inquiry’s Office of Public Policy serves as liaison to our nation’s government, to see that every available means is used to defend and promote science, reason, and secular values. We work with lawmakers to effect legislative responses to attacks on science and reason. We submit white papers, solicited from our network of fellows and scientists. We provide rapid response via public statements and action alerts directed at public policy. We bring experts to testify in legislative hearings. We also delve into upcoming legislation, undertake appropriate research on bills that relate to our agenda, and coordinate press, legal, and scholarly responses to legislation.

Our goals are to:

  • Inform our members about pending legislation and policy decisions;
  • Publish position papers to clarify our shared views on major issues;
  • Work with coalitions to lobby lawmakers and policy makers;
  • Identify sympathetic legislators and forge relationships with them;
  • Provide experts to give testimony in Congress;
  • Submit amicus briefs in relevant Supreme Court cases.

One of CFI’s areas of concern is the promotion and expansion of state Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA) legislation. State RFRA laws are typically used to enshrine religious privilege by allowing religious exceptions to federal and state anti-discrimination laws. For more information about state RFRA legislation, the National Conference of State Legislatures maintains a state RFRA tracker on their website.

Updates


Found 261 Result(s)

We Did It! CFI Met with Every New Member of Congress
Office of Public Policy
April 22, 2019

When a new and more diverse freshman class of Congress came to Washington earlier this year, forming a new Democratic majority, we told you that we intended to hit the ground running, and meet with each newly elected representative in the first 100 days of the 116th Congress. I’m happy to report to you that our goal …


Statement on “Religious Freedom” Remarks by Acting Attorney General Matthew Whitaker
Office of Public Policy
January 17, 2019

Yesterday, acting U.S. Attorney General Matthew Whitaker gave remarks to a Heritage Foundation audience in which he claimed that secular Americans have “changed their minds” about supporting religious freedom and the Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA). RFRA, passed in 1993, prevents the government from substantially burdening an individual’s exercise of religion unless there is a …


A Bad Stumble in the First Step Act: Taxpayer-Funded Religious Programming
Office of Public Policy
January 7, 2019

The First Step Act, signed into law by President Trump just before Christmas, brings modest but meaningful reforms to the federal criminal justice system, basing many of its reforms on solid evidence, including the implementation of educational programs shown to reduce recidivism. But the new law also violates the Constitution with a provision that allows …


D.C. Government Backs Down from Privileging Churches After Warning Letter from CFI
Office of Public Policy
December 12, 2018

Today, CFI is pleased to announce that the District of Columbia government reversed a recent proposal that would have privileged religious institutions by charging them a lower water services fee than other nonprofit organizations. The Center for Inquiry sent a letter on December 4 warning the D.C. Water and Sewer Authority that special treatment for …


Our future depends on your vote.
Office of Public Policy
November 6, 2018

Please vote on November 6.