Jamie Raskin, Open Humanist, Wins Maryland Primary Election

Jaime Raskin (Photo by Jeffrey MacMillan)

On April 26, Jamie Raskin, a member of the American Humanist Association and humanist candidate endorsed by the Freethought Equality Fund (FEF), won a very competitive race in a crowded field of candidates in Maryland’s 8th Congressional District. In this heavily Democratic district, Raskin is expected to handily win the general election on November 8, 2016.

“If successful in the general election, Raskin will be the only open nontheist serving in the U.S. Congress, the first ever to win an open seat, and just the second humanist to serve in Congress. Raskin’s election is a significant event for the secular community and will help to dispel the baseless bias against this rapidly growing segment of America,” said FEF Executive Director Roy Speckhardt. “Raskin has earned this victory with his highly respected public service and effective grassroots campaigning.”

The American Humanist Association defines humanism as a progressive philosophy of life that, without theism and other supernatural beliefs, affirms our ability and responsibility to lead ethical lives of personal fulfillment that aspire to the greater good of humanity. Raskin received the 2008 Humanist Distinguished Service Award from the American Humanist Association (his acceptance speech was published in the November/December 2008 issue of the Humanist).

Raskin plans to advance his progressive policies in the U.S. Congress as he did as a Maryland State Senator. In Annapolis he led floor fights to recognize same-sex marriage, repeal the death penalty, ban the shackling of pregnant prisoners in labor and legalize medical marijuana.

As a renowned professor of Constitutional law and member of the American Humanist Association, Raskin is also one of the nation’s leading advocates for reason in government, science-based public policy and the separation of church and state. Raskin received national notice from the progressive and the secular community in 2006 when he testified in favor of marriage equality. State Senator Nancy Jacobs said the Bible reserved marriage for a man and a woman. Raskin responded, “When you took your oath of office, you placed your hand on the Bible and swore to uphold the Constitution. You did not place your hand on the Constitution and swear to uphold the Bible.”

The Freethought Equality Fund (FEF) is a political action committee with the goal of changing the face of American politics and to achieve equality by increasing the number of open humanist and atheists, and their allies, in public office at all levels of government. FEF supports progressive candidates who are strong advocates for the separation of religion and government and the protection of American’s civil liberties. FEF is affiliated with the Center for Freethought Equality, which is the advocacy and political arm of the American Humanist Association.

  • Toonerific

    This is inspiring!

  • The Notorious R.G.I.

    One of my fondest dreams is to see this become the norm within my lifetime.

  • Emma

    While I personally live in the southern sticks of the state, where this would never, ever happen, it still makes me proud to be a Marylander. Go District 8!

  • Sherrie Ludwig

    I expect that he will take his oath of office on the US Constitution? Seems reasonable.

  • edddoerr

    The political sites that mentioned candidates’ “religion” reported Raskin as identified as Jewish. I voted and campaigned for Raskin not because of the “Humanists for Raskin” campaign and buttons but because he was/is the best and most experienced candidate. Raskin won in a field of 9 candidates (MD does not have run-offs) because the vote was split 9 ways, with Raskin getting only a tad over 33%, and billionaire Trone (he spent $12 million in the country’s most expensive House race) getting 28% and photogenic TV personality and Chris Mathews wife (endorsed by the Wash Post) getting 22%. Any Democrat is a sure winner in this (my) district. Raskin would not have won in the South or Indiana or some such place. — Edd Doerr

    • edddoerr

      Further, the other big race in MD was the red hot Senate race between two House members (both of whom have represented me), Chris Van Hollen and Donna Edwards. Van Hollen won handily as the best candidate (I voted and campaigned for him), but Edwards ran an “identity” campaign as an angry black single mom. A Senate race, of course, is more important than a House race.. — Edd Doerr