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.