The Secular Coalition for America, in conjunction with 19 member organizations, has released its “Secular Agenda for the 117th Congress and Biden Administration,” which includes the repeal of the Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA), the passage of the controversial Equality Act, and the restoration of Title X funds to Planned Parenthood.
“The comprehensive plan includes strengthening and supporting the Congressional Freethought Caucus (CFC), repealing harmful executive orders, supporting the nomination and appointments of judges and other government officials who adhere to and actively promote and prioritize the separation of religion and government, bringing further visibility and respect to nontheists, and a slew of legislative priorities,” the organization said in a press release.
A document delineating the agenda outlines that the organizations would like Biden to issue a new executive order within the first 100 days of taking office that rescinds Trump’s Executive Order 13798, “Promoting Free Speech and Religious Liberty,” signed on the National Day of Prayer in 2017, as well as Executive Order 13831, “Establishment of a White House Faith and Opportunity Initiative,” signed on the following year’s National Day of Prayer.
They also name 11 legislative priorities, which includes passage of the “Women’s Health Protection Act” and the “EACH Woman Act,” the latter of which would require both private and public insurance companies to provide coverage for abortion.
The coalition would also like to see the repeal of the federal Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA), which mirrors legal precedent established by the US Supreme Court in requiring any burdens on religious freedom to be narrowly tailored and the least restrictive means of achieving a government interest.
Instead, they wish for the statute to be replaced by the Do No Harm Act, proposed by Massachusetts Rep. Joseph Kennedy III, which would remove religious exemptions from federal “non-discrimination” law and also require religious entities to “provide for access to, information about, referrals for, provision of, or coverage for, any health care item or service.”
The groups additionally seek the passage and enactment of the Every Child Deserves a Family Act, introduced by New York Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, which would prohibit foster and adoption agencies from declining to place children in same-sex households or with a “transgender” parent.
Biden has already made known his intention to urge the passage of the Equality Act, which would officially add “sexual orientation” and “gender identity” to the reading of the 1964 Civil Rights Act.
It would thereby prohibit discrimination in employment and housing, meaning that faith-based employers, Christian schools and churches cannot fire an individual for engaging in same-sex behavior, nor can landlords with convictions about marriage decline to rent to two men or women. Women’s shelters would also not be permitted to turn away men who identify as women.
The measure would also outlaw “conversion therapy,” which faith groups say would prohibit licensed Christian therapists and counselors from sharing with homosexuals or those struggling with transgenderism that Jesus Christ offers hope and change to every man via the good news of salvation and regeneration.
The Secular Agenda further outlines that the coalition would like vows to God removed from congressional oaths, the reversal of Title X requirements that resulted in the exclusion of Planned Parenthood, and the modification or repeal of federal rules that allowed religious exemptions from the “contraceptive mandate” in the Affordable Care Act.
Member organizations on board with the agenda include American Atheists, the American Humanist Association, the Center for Inquiry, the Freedom From Religion Foundation, the Secular Student Alliance, the Society for Humanistic Judaism, the Atheist Alliance of America, and the Unitarian Universalist Humanists.
“The assault on secular values reached an unprecedented level during the Trump administration,” Jason Lemieux, director of government affairs at the Center for Inquiry, said in a statement. “Trump and his religious extremist allies used every trick in the book to impose Christian nationalism upon every aspect of public life. The secular agenda we’ve presented here is the first step toward true separation of church and state, where the rights of nonbelievers receive equal weight and consideration.”
2 Corinthians 4:4 outlines that “the god of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them.”
Ephesians 6:12 also reminds Christians that “we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.”