Atheist Group Releases Scorecard for U.S. House; Many Members Earned Top Scores August 24, 2020

Atheist Group Releases Scorecard for U.S. House; Many Members Earned Top Scores

The Center for Freethought Equality (the advocacy wing of the American Humanist Association) has publicly released its scorecard for the 116th Congress, grading House members for how they voted on a variety of resolutions and bills dealing with issues like church/state separation, blasphemy laws, faith-based discrimination, science, and more. (They shared the list with members earlier this month.)

You can see everyone’s scores by going here and clicking on “US House.”

Here are some highlights for me:

  • While being a member of the Congressional Freethought Caucus was necessary to achieve a perfect score, all 13 members (included the latest one, Rep. Rashida Tlaib) earned that score, meaning they also voted “correctly” on all the pieces of legislation in question. All of them are Democrats.
  • “Independent” Libertarian Rep. Justin Amash, who left the GOP and has been critical of Donald Trump, received a score of… 0. (You can take the member out of the GOP, but you can’t take the GOP out of the member, apparently.)
  • In order to receive a score of 0, you also had to vote against (or at least not vote for) the “Emmett Till Antilynching Act” — literally a resolution opposing racist lynchings. Even the majority of right-wing Republicans supported that one! And yet a handful of GOP members earned a score of 0, including Rep. Bradley Byrne, Rep. Louie Gohmert, Rep. George Holding, Rep. Mike Johnson, Rep. Barry Loudermilk, Rep. Thomas Massie, Rep. Mark Meadows, Rep. Markwayne Mullin, and Rep. Ted Yoho.

There are a few names on the scorecard who didn’t or couldn’t vote on these issues for a variety of reasons. They were either not seated in Congress when these votes took place or they’re non-voting delegates, so I’m not including their names on this list! (The software being used doesn’t allow those names to be left off the scorecard.)

Roy Speckhardt, executive director of the CFE, said in a statement:

The Center for Freethought Equality scores members of congress on the legislative actions that our community cares about. For the 116th Congress, we were able to expand our scoring system to include more bills and more nuanced actions, such as caucus membership, which gives us a better assessment of where our elected officials stand on the issues. We hope this year’s scorecard will be a useful resource to those who support the rights of freethinkers, civil rights and liberties, climate protections, and a secular government.

If you follow politics closely, maybe these scores aren’t very surprising to you. But for anyone who’s not yet decided about a local congressional race but may take these issues seriously, it’s definitely a helpful guide. It’s also worth looking up your own representative to see if there are any surprises. If there are, an email or phone call to that member’s office may be in order.

(Image via Shutterstock)


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