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 and some postmodernists 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 254 Result(s)

Congressional Freethought Caucus Tells Senate Judiciary Committee to Reject Kavanaugh Nomination
Office of Public Policy
September 7, 2018

On Thursday, the Congressional Freethought Caucus urged the Senate Committee on the Judiciary to reject the nomination of Judge Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court. Jason Lemieux, CFI’s Director of Government Affairs, played a key role in informing the Caucus about the danger to church-state separation posed by Kavanaugh’s nomination. Lemieux has met with offices in both chambers of Congress to make clear the vital importance of the secular principles put at risk by Kavanaugh’s nomination.


August 2018 Office of Public Policy Update
Office of Public Policy
September 1, 2018

In August 2018, CFI’s Office of Public Policy engaged policymakers on the following issues:


CFI Cheers FDA Action Against Deceptive ‘Vaginal Rejuvenation’ Marketers
Office of Public Policy
July 31, 2018

The Center for Inquiry applauded the actions taken by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to stop the deceptive marketing of pseudoscientific “vaginal rejuvenation” products. On Monday, the FDA published a Safety Communication warning the public that radio-based “vaginal rejuvenation” products are not proven safe or effective. Rather than improving patient health, these products may cause …


More Countries Exhibiting Aggression Toward Atheists
Office of Public Policy
June 21, 2018

Center for Inquiry Spotlights Hostility Toward Nonreligious in Pew Report Hostility and harassment toward atheists and the religiously unaffiliated around the world is growing at a frightening rate, according to new data released by the Pew Research Center. While there is a rise in hostility toward religious groups overall in recent years, the Center for …


DOJ Initiative Tells Religious Right: The Law Does Not Apply to You
Office of Public Policy
June 14, 2018

The Center for Inquiry condemned a new initiative announced by Attorney General Jeff Sessions to encourage religious institutions to seek special exemptions from local zoning laws, sending the signal that the U.S. government sees religious belief as above the law. “This announcement makes it unmistakably clear that Attorney General Sessions views the Justice Department as …