These days it feels like the only news that comes out of Congress is about discriminating against religious minorities, cutting benefits for vulnerable communities, or weakening the wall of separation between church and state. Thankfully, due to the hard work of the nontheistic community, a silver lining has emerged.
After working with Representative Jim Himes (D-CT), on January 11, 2017, the American Humanist Association was able to get the Darwin Day resolution, H. Res. 44, reintroduced for the sixth time since 2011. This resolution:
- States that evolution “provides humanity with a logical and intellectually compelling explanation for the diversity of life on Earth”;
- Demands that the “advancement of science be protected from those unconcerned with the adverse impacts of global warming and climate change”; and
- Confirms that the “teaching of creationism in some public schools compromises the scientific and academic integrity of the United States’ education systems.”
This resolution has the support of many science advocates in Congress, and has been formally co-sponsored by Representatives Matt Cartwright (D-PA), Judy Chu (D-CA), Rosa DeLauro (D-CT), Mark DeSaulnier (D-CA), Bill Foster (D-IL), Jared Huffman (D-CA), Derek Kilmer (D-WA), Raja Krishnamoorthi (D-IL), Zoe Lofgren (D-CA), Alan Lowenthal (D-CA), James McGovern (D-MA), Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-DC), Mark Pocan (D-WI), Jamie Raskin (D-MD), Janice Schakowsky (D-IL), Adam Schiff (D-CA), Louise Slaughter (D-NY), Adam Smith (D-WA), and Jackie Speier (D-CA). Many of these representatives received high marks on a congressional scorecard prepared last year by AHA sister organization the Center for Freethought Equality, and Raskin was endorsed last year by the Freethought Equality Fund as the only open humanist running for Congress.
In addition, the Secular Coalition for America, of which the American Humanist Association is a member organization, worked with Senator Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) and co-sponsor Christopher Murphy (D-CT) to introduce a Senate version of the Darwin Day resolution on February 10, 2017. This resolution, S. Res. 59, is identical to the House version and promotes the same pro-science and evolution values that are in the Himes resolution.
Congressional support for the Darwin Day resolution in the midst of one of the most anti-science presidential administrations should be encouraging to humanists who feel left out or discouraged by the political process. Hopefully, more members of Congress will allow their political philosophies to evolve and they’ll lend their support to science through resolutions like H. Res. 44 and S. Res. 59.