The Secular Coalition for America (SCA) released its 2016 Presidential Voter Guides on Thursday August 18th. It consisted of eight areas of concern for the secular community and what each candidate said about those values, if available. The first two guides were for Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump and, as no surprise, Clinton was given an ‘A’ rating while Trump got an ‘F’.
The Secular Coalition for America has released its 2016 Presidential Voter Guides for the general election. Candidates from the two major parties received a grade of “A” through “F” based on public statements regarding eight issues related to the separation of church and state, science-based policy, and respect for nontheists.
Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton earned an “A” while Republican nominee Donald Trump earned an “F”.
“The nonreligious are now the largest voting bloc in the country and it is essential that they know where the candidates stand on these critical issues,” said Larry T. Decker, Executive Director of the Secular Coalition for America. “These guides will empower secular voters to hold political candidates accountable. Donald Trump’s flunking grade should serve as a wake up call to his campaign about the political peril of pandering to the religious right. This divisive rhetoric no longer resonates with an American electorate that increasingly accepts science, embraces religious pluralism, and values the separation of church and state ”
A poll conducted in July by the Pew Research Center confirms that nonreligious voters are overwhelmingly supporting Hillary Clinton (67%) over Donald Trump (23%).
An example from the guides:
2. Do you support a mutual separation between religion and government?
“I am very supportive of the separation of church and state… I think the separation of church and state has served us very well, and I will certainly defend it.”
“An amendment, pushed by Lyndon Johnson, many years ago, threatens religious institutions with a loss of their tax-exempt status if they openly advocate their political views. I am going to work very hard to repeal that language and protect free speech for all Americans.”
All questions asked are based on the secular values that the SCA supports. In addition to the question about church and state, other questions included sex education in the public schools, religious influence in healthcare policy, and climate change.
Personally I would like to see these questions asked and answered in person but looking for public statements is okay to get the general idea of the person’s views. The one problem I saw was in Hillary Clinton’s guide where they used a statement she made in 2007 that was positive for the view on supporting sex education in the public schools. It might be better to either get her to make another statement or find a public statement she made in the last couple of years.
The Secular Values Voter website only had the Democratic and Republican candidate guides with the Libertarian and Green Party candidate guides listed as “coming soon”. I hope they do create the other ones so we get all the information we need to make an informed choice.
In the meantime you can compare your political views, on many issues, with all the candidates on the isidewith website. It is also based on the public statements of the candidates.