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.
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CFI Meets with White House Officials on Discrimination in EducationOffice 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 …
Center for Inquiry Calls for Reinstatement of White House Vaccine ExpertOffice of Public Policy
April 23, 2020
The Trump Administration’s removal of the federal government’s leading expert on vaccines, in apparent retaliation for disagreement with the president, exemplifies how the White House is placing the ego of President Trump over the safety and lives of Americans, said the Center for Inquiry today. STAT News reported that Dr. Rick Bright, formerly the director …
It’s time to stop giving snake oil salesmen the benefit of the doubt.Office of Public Policy
April 13, 2020
The makers of homeopathic medicine want it both ways. They want their “drugs” to be treated like real medicine, to be able claim they can treat all kinds of ailments, and sell them right alongside evidence-based medicines on pharmacy shelves. They also don’t want their products to be held to the same rigorous standards of …
Resolution Opposing Global Blasphemy Laws Passes House CommitteeOffice of Public Policy
March 4, 2020
A bipartisan resolution calling for the worldwide repeal of blasphemy laws unanimously passed the House Foreign Affairs Committee today, which the Center for Inquiry heralded as a powerful statement in support of free expression and true religious freedom. H.Res. 512 calls upon the Department of State to work toward the global repeal of criminal laws …
Center for Inquiry Congratulates Maine for Overwhelming Rejection of Anti-Vaccine Ballot MeasureOffice of Public Policy
March 4, 2020
On Super Tuesday, the voters of Maine overwhelmingly rejected a misguided attempt to overturn the state’s new vaccination requirements, which the Center for Inquiry heralded as a decisive victory for reason and science over misinformation and pseudoscience. Question 1, a referendum on Tuesday’s ballot in Maine, would have repealed the state’s recent legislation which eliminated …