For Immediate Release
Matthew Bulger, Legislative Associate, 202-238-9088 ext. 104, email@example.com
(Washington, DC, Aug. 24, 2016)—Today the Center for Freethought Equality released its scorecard of the members of the US House of Representatives of the 114th Congress.
“It’s time for our US Representatives to listen to the concerns of the nonreligious community, especially now that the Pew Research Center is reporting that nearly a quarter of Americans do not identify as religious” said Roy Speckhardt, executive director of the Center for Freethought Equality. “This scorecard will hold legislators accountable to all of their constituents and ensure that voters know where they stand on key issues such as church/state separation, LGBTQ rights and reproductive choice."
Representatives were scored based on their voting records on legislation that either bolstered or weakened the separation of church and state. The scorecard included legislators’ co-sponsorship for the Darwin Day Resolution (H.Res. 548), which would recognize February 12 as a celebration of the accomplishments of naturalist Charles Darwin while opposing the teaching of creationism and intelligent design in public schools. The scorecard also included legislators’ co-sponsorship for the National Day of Reason Resolution (H.Res. 670), a secular, inclusive alternative to the National Day of Prayer, recognizing reason as an American value.
Additionally, the Center for Freethought Equality ranked representatives based on their votes on legislation dealing with: exemptions for federal contractors from anti-LGBTQ discrimination policies; vouchers for private, religious schools; exemptions for religious employers who wish to discriminate against employees who use birth control; exemptions for individuals who wish to discriminate against LGBTQ Americans because of their views on marriage equality; and religious hospitals, insurance providers and other healthcare professionals who wish to discriminate against women seeking abortion or contraceptives.
Of all the legislators ranked, Rep. Judy Chu (CA-27) and Rep. Mike Honda (CA-17) had the highest scores, demonstrating their commitment to church/state separation and equal rights for all Americans. Rep. Jim Himes (CT-4) was also ranked highly for his support for science, demonstrated by his introduction of the Darwin Day Resolution in Congress. Of all House members, 19 Democrats were rated as A+, demonstrating their unyielding support for church/state separation, LGBTQ equality and reproductive rights. One hundred and thirty-three Democratic representatives received A ratings, also demonstrating strong support for church/state separation. Thirty-one Democrats were given B’s and 2 were given C’s, indicating a moderate support for church/state separation. Two Democrats and 7 Republicans were given D’s, while 2 Democrats and 240 Republicans were given F’s, indicating weak support for church/state separation.
The Center for Freethought Equality is a 501(c)4 sister organization of the American Humanist Association dedicated to lobbying and political advocacy. The Center for Freethought Equality will significantly increase humanist activity in key Washington coalitions, and has established a permanent lobbyist on the Hill that will fight for issues secular Americans care about like the separation of church and state and protecting civil liberties.