Atheists Grade NJ Gubernatorial and Senatorial Candidates

Washington, DC-- The Secular Coalition for America today released its 2013 New Jersey Senate Candidate Scorecard and its 2013 New Jersey Gubernatorial Candidate Scorecard for the upcoming elections -guide for secular-minded New Jerseyans on the candidates.

The scorecards grade the Republican and Democratic candidates vying for the U.S. Senate seat on October 16, and the state's top spot on November 5:

On the Gubernatorial Scorecard:

  • Democrat, Barbara Buono, received an "A"
  • Republican, Chris Christie, received an "F"

On the Senatorial Candidate Scorecard:

  • Democrat, Cory Booker, received an "A"
  • Republican, Steve Lonegan, received an "F"

The candidates were scored on their public answers to four topics relating to separation of church and state issues: 

  • What role would religion play in the candidate's decision making in his or her role as a U.S. Representative?  Does the candidate support a mutual separation between religion and government?
  • Does the candidate support a science based curriculum in public schools and reject the use of public funding of religious schools or religiously-based curriculums?
  • Does the candidate support social policies that do not discriminate based on religion, such as marriage equality?
  • Does the candidate support scientifically based regulations including science surrounding reproduction?

"We have several strong candidates in New Jersey, some with a better shot than others," said Edwina Rogers, executive director of the Secular Coalition for America. "But no matter who is elected the Secular Coalition and our state chapter in New Jersey will work to educate and unify lawmakers on both sides of the aisle behind our country's core secular founding principles."

A recent Pew Forum study indicated that 34 percent of New Jersey residents do not express an absolute belief in God, and 48 percent disagreed that "religion is very important to their lives."  Another Pew study found that the majority of Americans (54%) say that churches and other houses of worship should keep out of political matters, and 38% says that there has been too much expression of religious faith and prayer from political leaders.

"The separation of religion and government affects all of us in a positive way--including protecting the religious from having another's brand of religion imposed on them," Rogers said.  "These secular values are particularly important to remember and protect at the state level, where we're seeing some of the most egregious legislation in state capitals across the country."

The Secular Coalition for America published the scorecards in conjunction with the Secular Coalition for New Jersey, an established state chapter of the Secular Coalition, which lobbies state lawmakers on behalf of secular Americans in New Jersey.

CONTACT: Lauren Anderson Youngblood, SCA Communications Manager at [email protected] or (202)299-1091 ext. 205, cell (202)630-9725

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