CFI Advocacy Update — March 2017

March 31, 2017

Welcome to the Office of Public Policy’s monthly Advocacy Update. The Office of Public Policy (OPP) is the Washington, D.C.-based advocacy arm of the Center for Inquiry (CFI). Our mandate is to advocate for reason, science, and humanist values at all levels of government — statehouses, Congress, the Administration, and the United Nations.

This newsletter will update you on some of our activity over the past month.

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FEDERAL 

- On March 8, we joined 85 religious and secular groups in writing a letter to President Donald Trump and members of Congress urging them to preserve the Johnson Amendment and keep partisan politics out of 501(c)(3) organizations. 

- On March 8, we wrote a letter to the Food and Drug Administration, following up on previous communications, asking how the FDA plans to address the sale and marketing of over-the-counter homeopathic products.

- On March 13, we joined reproductive health care organizations for a grassroots call-in day to new Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price to voice support for no-cost birth control coverage.

- On March 14, we joined nearly 100 organizations in writing letters to members in both chambers of Congress, urging them to fund programs that advance youth health, and to eliminate funding for harmful abstinence-only education.  

- On March 16, we were amongst 19 religious and secular organizations to write a letter to leadership on the Senate Committee on the Judiciary expressing serious concerns regarding the nomination of Judge Neil Gorsuch to the U.S. Supreme Court. This letter was entered into the Congressional record by Sen. Chris Coons (D-DE).

- On March 21, we issued an action alert urging people to tell their U.S. Representative to oppose reauthorization of the the school voucher program in Washington, D.C. 

STATE

- On March 27, we issued an action alert urging Florida residents to tell their state representatives and senators to reject bills that that would grant special privileges to religious beliefs in public schools.

- Recently constituents have been packing town hall meetings with Congress to discuss pressing issues. If you are interested in attending a town hall near you, we suggest the Town Hall Project website as a resource.

INTERNATIONAL 

- Our main representative to the UN, Michael De Dora, represented CFI at the 34th regular session of the UN Human Rights Council, held February 27 to March 24 in Geneva, Switzerland. You can read about all of our efforts at the Council, incuding statements and lobbying, here.

- On March 21, we issued a press release ahead of a reported visit to Pakistan by Facebook representatives, urging the social media company to make clear to Pakistan that its aggressive attempts to police online speech critical of religion are wrong and harmful.

- We have continued to work with various advocacy organizations and government officials and agencies on behalf of non-religious individuals, secularists, and religious dissidents who face threats on their lives or else government charges in their home countries regarding freedom of religion, belief, and expression. You can support our efforts by donating to Secular Rescue.

MEDIA

- On March 24, CFI’s Michael De Dora was quoted in an Associated Press article regarding Pakistan’s crackdown on freedom of religion, belief, and expression.

- On March 29, the editorial board of the Los Angeles Newspaper Group cited the Center for Inquiry in its piece on Pakistan’s blasphemy crackdown.

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Want more? Don’t forget to visit our website.