If you were disappointed by last week’s Supreme Court decision in Fulton v. City of Philadelphia, we hope you will join us for a virtual Lobby Day on July 26th, part of our 80th Annual Conference.
When we thought through all the possible and likely outcomes of Fulton—and there were many—a 9-0 decision for Catholic Social Services wasn’t seriously considered. The good news there is that it means the decision was tempered, the bad news is that it is still an unwelcome erosion of our First Amendment rights.
As news outlets and organizations around the country analyze the harm this decision will do, one call is repeated: Congress must pass the Do No Harm Act.
In the years since the enactment of the Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA), we have seen individuals and organizations weaponize the law for their benefit, using religion as a sword against others rather than a shield as intended. The law was used by the previous president to exempt federally funded foster care agencies from federal regulations barring discrimination on the basis of religion, to allow for-profit companies exemptions from providing employees insurance coverage that includes contraception, to justify blatant pay discrimination against female employees, and so much more.
The solution is the Do No Harm Act.
While the bill won’t fix everything overnight, it would finally ensure that federal nondiscrimination protections don’t play second fiddle to religion. This crucial bill would restore RFRA to its original intent and make it perfectly clear that no one in this country can use their religious beliefs to sidestep long-established civil rights protections in employment, healthcare, public services, and more.
And while lobbyists in Washington, DC, like myself, can get a lot done, we know that our advocacy is only as strong as the people we represent. That’s why the American Humanist Association has decided to close our upcoming 80th Annual Conference with our first virtual lobby day to connect humanists around the country with their elected officials in Congress to defend our rights. This is a huge opportunity, not only to increase support for the Do No Harm Act but to increase the visibility of humanists with a wide variety of members of Congress and to identify new champions in government with whom we can build stronger relationships.
So, on Monday, July 26th, we will hit the virtual halls of Congress as a virtual group. But we won’t ask humanists to take this on with no assistance. On Sunday afternoon, prior to Lobby Day and as part of the Conference schedule, I will lead a session for all attendees about the ins-and-outs of the Do No Harm Act and provide a crash course in lobbying so that all our advocates have everything they need for a successful Lobby Day.
We ask that anyone interested in Lobby Day also attend the conference so they can participate in the educational session on Sunday afternoon. If you haven’t registered for our Annual Conference, now is the time. Register today on the conference website.
If you’re already registered for the Conference, thank you. Now join Lobby Day by registering here.
The deadline to join Lobby Day is July 8th and participation is limited, so sign up today! Don’t miss this opportunity to take action for a progressive future that ensures the rights of all people.
Humanists have an important part to play in shaping our nation’s politics, and now more than ever our voices need to be heard. We hope you can join us.