FFRF denounces CDC’s orwellian language ban

1CDCThe Freedom From Religion Foundation is deeply disturbed over the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s attempt to restrict language used in budget proposals.

According to various news sources, CDC staffers compiling the budget were given a list of words to avoid, which includes “vulnerable,” “entitlement,” “diversity,” “transgender,” “fetus,” “evidence-based” and “science-based.” FFRF has sent a letter to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services harshly denouncing the ban.

In its letter, FFRF points out that the word ban was clearly not placed in the interest of brevity or clarity. For example, rather than using the terms “science-based” or “evidence-based,” the suggested replacement is: “CDC bases its recommendations on science in consideration with community standards and wishes.”

FFRF asserts that this specific suggestion is possibly far worse than the ban on words in the budget.

In its mission statement, CDC pledges to the American People to “provide an environment for intellectual and personal growth and integrity,” to “base all public health decisions on the highest quality scientific data that is derived openly and objectively” and to “place the benefits to society above the benefits to our institution.”

FFRF condemns the new language policy as counter to this promise to the American public.

“Thought control and basing science on ‘community standards’ violate CDC’s pledge,” write FFRF Co-Presidents Annie Laurie Gaylor and Dan Barker. “CDC cannot be ‘on the cutting edge of health security’ or ‘put science into action’ if it is rewriting the definition of scientific inquiry to mean propitiating the Religious Right.”

FFRF is calling the new policy misguided and anti-intellectual. Ignoring objective scientific data compromises the integrity of the entire health department and places the benefits the institution receives by pandering to the Religious Right above those to society as a whole.

“That the agency tasked with studying and controlling diseases should ban anything that is evidence- or science-based in any of its documents or policies is Orwellian,” write FFRF’s co-presidents. “Science does not comport with political ideology or ‘community standards or wishes.’ It follows the evidence. Language should, too.”

The pursuit and language of science should be free from partisan, theocratic and ideological taint. FFRF is eager to receive news that this chilling ban has been lifted.

The Freedom From Religion Foundation is the largest association of freethinkers (atheists, agnostics) in North America with more than 30,000 members nationwide. FFRF works to uphold the constitutional principle of the separation of between state and church, and educates the public on matters relating to nontheism.

The Freedom From Religion Foundation, based in Madison, Wis., a 501(c)(3) nonprofit educational charity, is the nation's largest association of freethinkers (atheists, agnostics), and has been working since 1978 to keep religion and government separate.

FFRF is a non-profit, educational organization. All dues and donations are deductible for income-tax purposes.

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