Atheists release 'report card' for Trump and Clinton. Here are their grades

Posted September 1

Atheist activists have released a presidential report card for Republican candidate Donald Trump and Democratic contender Hillary Clinton, rating both politicians based on a series of secular values.

Those ratings, which were released this week by the Secular Coalition for America — a lobbying group that represents atheists and agnostics — were based on eight issues related to the First Amendment, science and respect for atheists.

"Candidates were graded only on questions for which the Secular Coalition was able to identify the candidates’ position — either through statements or previous actions," a description reads. "For each response, the candidates were given a grade of A, B, C or F."

Then, those grades were combined, with "A" being assigned three points, "B" weighing two points and "C" coming in at just one point; an "F" earned zero points for a candidate. Then, the results were averaged together.

Among the values included in the report card were the views Trump and Clinton have of America, the separation of church and state, women's healthcare, abortion and sexual education, among other indicators.

For instance, on the question of the candidates' views of America, the organization cited one quote from Clinton and one from Trump.

The Clinton quote read, "I think we’ve gotta stick with our founding principles, separation between church and state. And remember: It was done in the beginning mostly to protect religion from the state. So we need to stick…we need to stick with what has worked."

The Trump quote, however, focused on America being a Judeo-Christian country, something he said is simply "the way it is."

While Clinton earned an "A," meaning her remarks and actions toward the Secular Coalition for America's stances have been "generally or consistently positive," Trump scored an "F."

Trump's score, according to the atheist activist group, indicates he has been "generally or consistently hostile or negative" considering the organization's stances.

"These guides will empower secular voters to hold political candidates accountable," Larry T. Decker, executive director of the Secular Coalition, said in a statement. "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."

Decker said such "divisive rhetoric" no longer has a place with the American electorate.

Ratings for Libertarian candidate Gary Johnson and Green Party candidate Dr. Jill Stein are both marked on the Secular Coalition's website as "coming soon."

The Pew Research Center found 22.8 percent of Americans are known as the "nones" — a combination of atheists (3.1 percent), agnostics (4 percent) and those unaffiliated with a faith (15.8 percent).

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