The 2010 Secular Coalition Senate Scorecard

See How Your Senator Scores on Secular ValuesStand Up!

A primary responsibility of the Secular Coalition for America is to harness the power of our community - our Secular Activists and our ten member organizations - to influence legislation and votes on Capitol Hill. Even seemingly unrelated bills can have hidden aspects that directly affect Secular Americans or touch upon issues close to our hearts (such as a recent jobs bill that hid within it an amendment to fund DC's private religious schools with taxpayer money).

With all of this activity both above and below the radar, you might be wondering how your own representatives are doing. Most of the action that concerns the secular constituency this session has taken place in the U.S. Senate, so we've put together a Senate Report Card evaluating each senator based on five key votes, directly relevant to our community and our issues, during the 111th Congress.

Here are the votes we used to make our assessments.

  • S Amdt 65 to HR 2 (RC19):  Would have reinstated the Global Gag Rule, which restricts access to basic women's health information and services.
  • S Amdt 189 to HR 1 (RC47): Would have allowed federal funds to be used for work on buildings used for religious purposes.
  • S Amdt 615 to HR 1105 (RC94): Would have extended federal funding through vouchers to religious schools in the District of Columbia-thereby subsidizing with tax dollars proselytizing and religiously-sanctioned discrimination.
  • S Amdt 828 to S.Con.Res. 13 (RC152): Attempted to impose regulations similar to President Bush's so-called "Conscience Clause" rule, permitting health care professionals to ignore their professional duty and deny necessary care to patients based on religious bias.
  • S Amdt 3456 to HR1586 (RC 53 - 2nd Session): Would have reauthorized the spending of federal tax money on private religious schools in the District of Columbia.

Much of the important "inside baseball" of our work involves opposing bills or seeking co-sponsors long before there is any roll call vote. That said, these roll call votes are the clearest way of comparing elected officials on issues important to our community. Of course, the correct vote on all of these was "No." We tallied up these votes and assigned each senator a letter grade based on their scores.* All you have to do is visit this link to see how your state's U.S. Senators fare when it comes to secular values.   

We want Secular Americans to become more involved in-and have increasing impact on-every election; it's a cornerstone of Our Secular Decade plan. To do that, we have to be an informed constituency. Knowing how your senators are voting on your issues is a key part of that. We hope you'll also visit the rest of the Election Resources at our website, which has material on getting involved in the campaigns, what it means to be a Secular Values Voter, and a candidate questionnaire you can send to would-be officeholders in your district.

What are you waiting for? The theocratic right isn't waiting for us to get informed and get involved. So let's get moving.

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* Senators such as Scott Brown, Al Franken, and George LeMieux have not served long enough to vote on a sufficient number of bills to warrant a grade. The late Robert Byrd was too ill to cast some key votes, and also is not given a grade.

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