Presidential scorecard by religiously unaffliated yields no ‘clear-cut option’

In October, the Secular Coalition for America released the 2012 Presidential Candidate Scorecard, which rates each of the presidential candidates on issues important to the secular community. Included in the scorecard were the Republican and Democratic candidates, as well as two third-party candidates that are on the ballot in enough states to amass the required 270 electoral votes to be elected president.

Libertarian Gary Johnson received a “B” grade, Democrat and incumbent President Obama received a “C,” Republican Mitt Romney received an “F,” and Green Party candidate Jill Stein received an “incomplete.” An “A” grade indicated that the candidate consistently supported the secular position.

Needless to say, there is no clear-cut option in this election for voters who make their decision based on secular values. While most people are not one-issue voters, the scorecard is another tool to use in their decision-making process.

Recently, the Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life released a new study that found nearly 20 percent of Americans do not affiliate with any religion. The religiously unaffiliated comprise the largest “religious” bloc in the Democratic Party, accounting for 24 percent of registered Democrats. Yet despite the large constituency of religiously unaffiliated Americans in the Democratic Party, the Democratic candidate received a “C” when it comes to secular issues.

President Obama received positive marks for supporting science-based public school curriculums and his refusal to use religious beliefs in setting American public health care policy. However, he received failing grades for expanding taxpayer funding of religiously-affiliated organizations through the Office of Faith-based Initiatives and Neighborhood Partnerships while allowing those organizations to continue policies of hiring discrimination based on religious beliefs.

For example, data shows that during the Bush administration religious charities received 10.8 percent of the $20.4 billion in federal dollars available in 2007—experts believe the numbers to be similarly high during the Obama administration. Not only has President Obama continued faith-based initiatives, but he failed to make good on a 2008 campaign promise to end hiring discrimination among the organizations, which received taxpayer-funding.

Read the remainder of the article at the Washington Post.

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