Atheist Political Action Committee Endorses First Slate of Candidates… but Will Anyone Pay Attention? December 18, 2013

Atheist Political Action Committee Endorses First Slate of Candidates… but Will Anyone Pay Attention?

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. Jared Polis

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.


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  • islandbrewer

    As of now, I’m not sure what kind of support the candidates will get, whether it’s financial (and if so, how much?)

    Well, the purpose of a PAC is to raise money, so it’s going to finanacially support candidates or fund ads that directly or indirectly support candidates.

  • LesterBallard

    Well, Fox will probably pay attention, to how these candidates are waging a war against Christians and Christianity and family values and America.

  • GubbaBumpkin

    … people serving in Congress should not use the tenants of any particular religious faith to make laws that affect all Americans.”

    “tenants of any particular religious faith” – I guess this has to do with the parsonage tax exemption.
    Or maybe it has something to do with the tenets of any particular religious faith.

  • tubi11

    Beat me to it. I went to the site and it appears to be their typo. I don’t know why that one bugs me so much. Although not as much as saying “lay” when you mean “lie.” Or using the objective case when you mean the nominative. Or qualifying the uniqueness of something.

    I’m a turd. Sorry.

  • Richard Thomas

    Hemant, I know it’s a while off, but do you plan on tracking these politicians in their respective races?

  • IAmAGuest

    I can’t quiet wrap my head around how a small government ideolog goes together with a government that deals with religious affairs? Shouldn’t republicans be seclurarists by default, or is big government only bad when it pokes around in your wallet?

  • invivoMark

    Oh thank goodness, I’m not the only one who was bugged by that!

  • The desire (and attempt) to combine them is what, lately, has caused both to be discredited as serious. It is not a coincidence that many libertarian theorists (both the serious and the popular) are in the agnostic-to-atheist range, even in times and places where that was not considered acceptable.

  • My guess is that many of the candidates, maybe even most, will not want this endorsement.

  • Kimpatsu

    “…people serving in Congress should not use the tenants of any particular religious faith…”
    “Tenets”, surely?

  • When it gets closer to election time, yes.

  • Wooo hooo, let’s hear it for the Califoria Asians: Matsui, Chu, Takano.

    But, how did that scorecard get picked??? My feeling is that being focused on issues of religion, promoting science (particularly regarding climate change), and probably abortion rights are the key issues for this movement.

    I like the whole scorecard – but still.

  • Easy – political parties are coalitions. The different groups in the coalitions have specific goals, but the ideologues in the party create propaganda to construct a unified body of thought that helps keep the coalition together.

    The Christians want something. Big business wants something. Ideologues try to get Christians to vote pro-business, and get business to fund Christian conservative politics. Simple.