5 Theocrats in Congress Who Care More About the Bible Than the Constitution
Photo Credit: United States Congress (D. LaMalfa); C-SPAN (C-SPAN HD) (Marco Rubio); Composite Screenshot / Wikimedia Commons
Stay up to date with the latest headlines via email.
The Secular Coalition for America has released its congressional report card for the 2013 year. Each year the Secular Coalition grades both house and senate members from a scale from A to F based on their voting records, not their personal religious beliefs, on the issues that involve the separation of church and state.
Not surprising to many that all seven A grades are awarded to democrats, Sen. Richard Blumenthal (CT), Sen. Mazie Hirono (HI), Sen. Dick Durbin (IL), Sen. Elizabeth Warren (MA), Sen. Al Franken (MN), Sen. Frank Lautenberg (NJ), and Sen. Robert Menendez (NJ), Rep. Eleanor Holmes Norton (DC), Rep. Rush Holt (NJ), and Rep. Louise Slaughter (NY).
While no Republicans received an A, for the first time three did receive a B grade: Murkowski (AK), Kirk (IL) and Collins (ME).
Yet 58 percent of the members of Congress received an F grade. That is 315 members who voted for or supported bills that granted special rights to religious organizations, discriminated against LGBT issues, women’s rights issues, contraception and sexual education and issues like prayer in federal environments.
According to the Secular Coalitions website, the grades are based on certain key bills:
In the House, some of the key votes were H.R. 592 which would have allowed for FEMA funding for churches, Amdt.169 to H.R.1960 which would have allowed for a humanist chaplain in the military, and H.R. 914, the so-called “Military Religious Freedom Protection Act.” Among the Senate bills scored were S.Amdt. 2013 to S. 815 which would have expanded the religious exemption of the Employment Non-Discrimination Act of 2013, and S.1279 the so-called “Freedom to Pray Act.”
Below is a look at the five worst offenders from the House and the Senate. Three of which tied for the lowest score of five percent approval granted by the Secular Coalition.
These five members of Congress have shown they vote with their Bibles first, regardless of what their constituents want or what is constitutional. They are openly willing to discriminate against men and women if their personal beliefs get in the way.
1. Rep. Doug LaMalfa (R-CA)
LaMalfa scored a low 5 percent from the Secular Coalition. He voted continuously against church and state separation, opposing non theistic chaplains in the military, sponsored a bill against the repeal of Don’t Ask Don’t Tell, and sponsoring a bill to restore first amendment speech rights to Churches.
He has stated he believes the Bible preaches that individuals, and not government, should take care of the poor: "We should be doing this as individuals, helping the poor.” He has endorsed the privatization of social welfare.
Like most Tea Party Republicans, LaMalfa has taken a strong stance against a women’s right to choose and same-sex marriage. He at one point said that women needed to be informed that abortion causes cancer (it doesn't): "Research has shown that there is a higher level of incidence, there is that risk and so I would want women to be fully informed of all the aspects of it before they would make a decision like that.”
He later apologized for such remarks and said his research was flawed on that matter.
In his fight for marriage inequality he has said, “Marriage has been debased. Why vote? It doesn’t stop here. Churches will be forced to do things they are against.”
Churches are not required to perform same-sex marriages—or any marriage—if they do not want to. LaMalfa loves rhetoric such as this to rile up the Tea Party troops into thinking the left is going to attack religious freedom.