An atheist-affiliated political action committee has made its first endorsements since the group formed in September, throwing its support behind six candidates.
The Freethought Equality Fund
has said it wants to back candidates who support the doctrine of separation of church and state in an effort to increase the number of secular political figures in government.
The candidates backed by the atheist PAC are all Democrats and include three incumbent U.S. House members, one new challenger for Congress, and two state legislators seeking re-election.
The four federal candidates are Reps. Jared Polis of Colorado, Rush Holt of New Jersey, Bobby Scott of Virginia, and Dr. Lee Rogers, who is challenging Republican Rep. Buck McKeon of California.
Polis and Holt co-authored a measure to observe the birthday of evolutionary biologist Charles Darwin, the group notes. Holt also co-authored an amendment that would allow humanist chaplains in the military.
Not all the candidates are atheists; Polis is a Jew and Scott is an Episcopalian. They are being endorsed by the PAC because they support secular government in spite of their religious views.
"We believe that Rep. Scott, an Episcopalian, is a model for members of Congress that shows regardless of one's personal religious faith, they must represent all people, including those who are nonreligious," said Bishop McNeil, coordinator of the Freethought Equality Fund.
The group is also supporting Oregon state Rep. Carolyn Tomei and Arizona state Rep. Juan Mendez.
Mendez made headlines in May
after leading the Arizona state House in an invocation with a reading from Carl Sagan.
When the Freethought group formed in September, it claimed that there were at least two dozen House members who were "closet" atheists
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