With President-elect Joe Biden and Kamala Harris anticipating taking office Jan. 20, they've been busy appointing Cabinet members and preparing to impose their agenda. Behind-the-scenes, members of Secular Democrats of America, a political action committee, have been crafting a plan to "reverse the damage done" by the Trump-Pence administration and to "boldly restore a vision of constitutional secularism and respect" in America.
The 28-page plan, titled "Restoring Constitutional Secularism and Patriotic Pluralism in the White House," was prepared by PAC exclusively for use by the Biden-Harris transition team and administration. It was presented by co-chair representatives Jamie Raskin, D-Md, and Jared Huffman, D-Calif., and endorsed by PAC's founding representative Jerry McNerney, D-Calif.
In a joint statement, Raskin and Huffman say, "We've offered the new administration a roadmap to restore our basic constitutional values and protect science, reason and public health in American government."
In the plan, they say, "Biden and Harris can bring millions of Americans of all faiths and millions of nonreligious Americans together around a shared vision of government seeking the common good while defending religious pluralism and the unbridled freedom of conscience."
An example of pluralism was witnessed by all who watched the opening prayer for the 117th Congress Sunday. Igniting public opinion, Rep. Emanuel Cleaver, D-Mo., closed with: "We pray to the monotheistic god, Brahma, and 'god' known by many names by many different faiths."
View of Conservative Christians
The beginning of the plan, before addressing preferred policies, outlines the PAC's view of the "Christian nationalist movement," which is also referred to as the "religious right."
"We urge you not to underestimate the institutional strength" of the group, the PAC stated in the Preamble. "The manifestation of its extreme and sectarian agenda is on constant display under the Trump-Pence administration. It's political ideology is anti-democratic and anti-scientific. It provides constant cover for white supremacy."
The description of conservative Christians continues to depict people as those that align their agenda "on a pinched interpretation of biblical principles preached by Christian nationalist leadership and thought leaders. With their political agenda sanctioned by a higher power, their base of support is disciplined, motivated and deeply committed to a vision that does not align with our basic constitutional values and democratic principles."
The representatives who authored the plan ask Biden and Harris to "dismantle" the grip the religious right has on the government.
"We believe that now is the right time to make the case for reviving a Jeffersonian approach to governance that favors reason, science and evidence, and to disentangle government policy from the influence of sectarian religious interests that have become dangerously entrenched at all levels of government," the plan states.
Plans for Policy
In his radio program, Glenn Beck broke down some of the proposals, which include removing "In God We Trust" from currency, eliminating government support for pregnancy crisis center and appointing an attorney general who will support state governors who try to ban large gatherings at places of worship.
"Don't read the news stories about it without reading the full document yourself—there's a lot more to it than they will tell you," says Beck on his website.
Beck points out that last week when the 117th Congress convened, the House approved 45 pages of rules package, House Res 7, in a 216 to 206 vote. The package is the brainchild of speaker Nancy Pelosi and rules committee chairman James McGovern, D-Mass.
It's all a rollout of the broad sweeping areas being addressed in the PAC's plan, which are summarized in four areas:
— Government funding, with plans to transition its program to an "evidence-based, nonsectarian and nondiscriminatory" approach. The details include reversing all executive orders, rules, memoranda and other actions which exempt faith-based organizations contracting with the federal government from nondiscretionary requirements that apply to secular organizations, including employment.
— Restoring constitutional secularism and scientific integrity.
— Religious freedom abroad.
— Patriotism pluralism and inclusion: protecting the rights and dignity of nontheists.
The plan's appendix contains seven pages of programs that are targeted for change, including four White House Executive Orders and legislation active in 15 federal departments.
"We hope that you share our belief that government secularism is a core constitutional principle indistinguishable from religious freedom," the PAC says to the Biden-Harris transition team.
To learn more about where tax dollars will be funneled and where they will not, review the in detail plan here.
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