Nonbelievers Grade Candidates in First District House Race

Washington, DC-- The Secular Coalition for America today released its 2013 South Carolina First Congressional District Election Scorecard-a guide for secular-minded South Carolinians on the House candidates.

The scorecard grades the three candidates vying for the first district seat on May 7:

  • Democrat, Elizabeth Colbert Busch, received an "A"
  • Green Party candidate, Eugene Platt, received a "B"
  • Republican, Mark Sanford, received an "F"

The candidates were scored on their public answers to three questions relating to separation of church and state issues: What role would religion play in the candidate's decision making in his or her role as a U.S. Representative?  Does the candidate support a science based curriculum in public schools and reject the use of public funding of religious schools or religiously-based curriculums?  Does the candidate support social policies that do not discriminate based on religion, such as marriage equality?

Herb Silverman, a Charleston resident and president emeritus of the Secular Coalition for America, lives in the first congressional district and said there are both believers and nonbelievers in the district that are tired of religion being inserted into the local politics.

"Candidates like Mark Sanford would like to promote alternatives to the theory of evolution in public schools and it's up to those of us who respect science to promote alternatives to Sanford and politicians who push this type of ignorant faith-based legislation," Silverman said. "There are rational people in my district who are tired of politicians playing the God card."

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.

"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," said Edwina Rogers, executive director of the Secular Coalition for America. "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."

The Secular Coalition recently established a state chapter in South Carolina that will lobby state lawmakers on separation of religion and government issues. For more information on the Secular Coalition for South Carolina and for chapter co-chair contact information, visit


CONTACT: Shayne Chesire, SCA Program Assistant, [email protected],  [o] 202.299.1091 ext. 203, [c] 954-649-5489

Contact the Secular Coalition for South Carolina:
Reach Chapter Co-Chair, Matthew Facciani (Columbia, SC) at 803-250-6456
Reach Chapter Co-Chair, Amy Monsky (Summerville, SC) at 843-291-8248

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