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 274 Result(s)

CFI Applauds Virginia for Rejecting Religious “Get Out of COVID Vaccine Free” Card
Office of Public Policy
August 25, 2020

Today, lawmakers in Virginia acted to protect public health and uphold secular principles by rejecting legislation that would have created a dangerous and medically unjustifiable religious exemption to emergency immunization orders issued during a public health emergency.  Alerted to the bill’s introduction during a special emergency session of the Virginia State Legislature to address the …


CFI Fights to Keep Religious Schools from Raking in Billions from Pandemic Relief
Office of Public Policy
August 6, 2020

If you’re a parent of school-age kids, you already know how hard the next few months are going to be.  Our public education system is facing unprecedented challenges as teachers, administrators, students, and parents prepare to reopen schools during a global pandemic. Public schools are already hurting for resources, but even at this time when …


Secular Groups to Congress: Reserve Relief Funds for Public Education, Not Religious Schools
Office of Public Policy
August 6, 2020

American public schools are facing unprecedented challenges during the COVID-19 pandemic, but opponents of public education, led by Education Secretary Betsy DeVos, seek to use the crisis to funnel taxpayer dollars to unaccountable private religious schools. A coalition of the country’s largest freethought organizations is urging Congress not to sacrifice public education for the benefit …


Pompeo’s ‘Unalienable Rights’ Report a Vehicle for Christian Nationalism, Says Center for Inquiry
Office of Public Policy
July 16, 2020

In announcing a draft report by his Commission on Unalienable Rights, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo pushed the false narrative that “faith in god” is necessary for morality and human rights. The draft report doubles down on Pompeo’s previous ahistorical claims that the United States was built on an explicitly Christian foundation. “This deceitful claim erases the …


CFI Meets with White House Officials on Discrimination in Education
Office of Public Policy
July 1, 2020

On June 30, CFI’s Director of Government Affairs, Jason Lemieux, organized a joint meeting with the White House Office of Management and Budget (OMB) to discuss a proposal that would allow religious organizations to discriminate against nonbelievers in federally funded education services. This is CFI’s second such meeting with White House officials on this and …