PRESS RELEASE: Atheists Grade Presidential Candidates: A Choice of Lesser Evils

Washington, DC—The Secular Coalition for America today released its 2012 Presidential Candidate Scorecard for the general election–a guide for secular-minded Americans on the presidential candidates in the upcoming election.

Candidates from the two major parties, as well as significant third party candidates were included and received the following grades:

  • Gary Johnson, Libertarian: B
  • Barack Obama, Democrat: C
  • Mitt Romney, Republican: F
  • Jill Stein, Green Party: Incomplete

The scorecard assigned grades of “A”, “B”, “C” and “F” to the four candidates who appear on the ballot in enough states to amass the required 270 electoral votes to be elected President of the United States. Grades were based on their public statements and actions in five areas and on 17 specific issues. The questions related to religion-government entanglement on topics of Government and Values, Health and Safety, Education, Government Funding and Government Acts.

“This scorecard shows that our current politicians still have a long way to go in protecting the secular values that America was founded on,” said Edwina Rogers, Executive Director of the Secular Coalition, and cited a recently released Pew Forum study. “Last week we learned that now nearly 20 percent of Americans are religiously unaffiliated. Too often we see lawmakers shy away from the non-religious, but the statistics show that lawmakers can no longer afford to ignore us.”

In addition to religiously unaffiliated voters, a strong majority of Americans in general want a separation between religion and government. A full 54 percent of Americans believe that churches and other houses of worship should keep out of political matters and 66 percent say that churches and houses of worship should not endorse candidates.

With the rise of the Christian Right, religion has played an increased role in recent elections. This year, the candidates have emphasized how their religious faith influences their public life. For the more than 45 million voting age non-religious Americans—and the millions more who value the separation of church and state—the scorecard provides information on where each candidate stands on issues important to them.

“While voters choose candidates for many reasons and based on many issues, we hope the Secular Coalition’s scorecard will be one more tool they use to inform their decision,” Rogers said. “We will continue to work at the federal and state level to curb legislation based on religion and to hold our politicians accountable to our nation’s core founding principle of secularism.”


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

The Secular Coalition for America is a 501(c)(4) organization that serves as the national lobby for atheists, agnostics, humanists, freethinkers, and other nontheistic Americans. Composed of 11 diverse member organizations, SCA works to protect and strengthen the secular character of our government as the best guarantee of freedom for all. For more information, please visit www.secular.org.

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