The Freethought Equality Fund, formed back in September, announced yesterday that they would be backing a slate of candidates in next year’s elections, all of whom voice their support for church/state separation and the atheist community at large.
“It’s long past due for our elected officials to stand up and advocate for humanistic values, and we will strongly support candidates that do,” says Freethought Equality Fund Coordinator Bishop McNeill.
The six candidates are all Democrats (no surprise there) and running for both statewide and national offices:
U.S. Rep. Jared Polis (D-CO):
Rep. Polis has also been a leader in Congress in 2013 by co-sponsoring H. Res. 41, which sought to recognize Darwin Day as a national day of observance for celebrating science and reason held on or around Feb. 12, the birthday anniversary of evolutionary biologist Charles Darwin. Congressman Polis also sponsored an amendment which advocated for Humanist chaplains in the military. “As a member of the Jewish faith and a student of Jewish history, I know what it feels like to be a minority. I am proud to stand with humanist, atheist, and agnostic Americans to defend civil liberties for everyone and protect the separation of church and state,” said Congressman Polis.
U.S. Rep. Rush Holt (D-NJ):
Congressman Holt introduced the Darwin Day Resolution on the floor of the U.S. House of Representatives and has been a leader in Congress protecting scientific integrity. Rep. Holt also scored a perfect 100 percent on the 2013 Congressional Scorecard and was a co-sponsor of the amendment to allow humanist chaplains in the military.
U.S. Rep. Bobby Scott (D-VA):
“We believe that Rep. Scott, an Episcopalian, is a model for members of Congress that shows regardless of one’s personal religious faith, they must represent all people including those who are nonreligious,” said McNeill. “Rep. Scott has been a leader for equal rights, and we commend him for that with this endorsement.”
U.S. House candidate Dr. Lee Rogers (D-CA):
“I believe that everyone deserves equal representation in Congress, regardless of the color of your skin, who you love, or if you believe in a particular religion,” said Rogers. “While it is appropriate to have your decisions be guided by your own set of family values and morals, people serving in Congress should not use the tenants of any particular religious faith to make laws that affect all Americans.”
State Rep. Carolyn Tomei (D-OR)
Rep. Tomei identifies as a Secular Humanist and has worked hard to promote secular government. She has taken an oath of office nine times over her political career and has never taken it on a Bible or said “so help me God.” Rep. Tomei was an original member of the NARAL Political Action Committee and has spent years fostering equal rights for all of the constituents she represents. The Freethought Equality Fund applauds her for her years of service and for her continued commitment to advancing humanistic values.
State Rep. Juan Mendez (D-AZ):
Arizona State Rep. Juan Mendez made headlines earlier this year for coming out as a Secular Humanist during the daily invocation before the Arizona House of Representatives. “I am honored to receive the endorsement of the Free thought Equality Fund, who represent humanists across the country that understand the importance of protecting the separation of church and state,” said Rep. Mendez. “This vital and indispensable principle will only remain if we take responsibility and get involved in the political process.”
As of now, I’m not sure what kind of support the candidates will get, whether it’s financial (and if so, how much?), and whether any Republicans will be considered for endorsement in the future (have they really done anything noteworthy on atheists’ behalf?)…
For now, the endorsements seem to be falling on deaf ears. Upon finding out about her endorsement, Tomei had a less-than-enthusiastic response:
“This is the first I’ve heard of this endorsement,” Tomei, D-Milwaukie, said Tuesday morning in a phone interview.
“As I see people all the years I’ve been here, as much as people know that I’m a secular humanist, nobody ever brings it up,” she said. “Nobody ever seems to be worried.“
Okay, so the endorsements aren’t quite making the giant splash they intended to… but give it time. It’s early and the elections are far away. Just want until their opponents use the endorsements against them. That’s when things will get fun.
I’ve sent an email to FEF inquiring about the support they’re offering these candidates and I’ll update this post once I hear more.