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National Atheist Party An Irrational Organization

I don’t believe in the existence of any gods. So, call me atheist if you want to. It’s an accurate description as far as it goes… which isn’t very far. I don’t center my life around what I don’t believe.

One of the things that is very important to me, however, is the Constitution of the United States of America. I don’t think that it’s a perfect document, but I’m a big fan of many of its core concepts, including the separation of church state.

atheist political partyIt’s because I value the separation of the church and state that I can’t support the National Atheist Party.

The National Atheist Party has been in the initial stages of formation this year. It’s a genuine grassroots movement, and it’s doing all right as grassroots movements go, having secured representatives in 29 states and the District of Columbia. (If you’re interested, they’re still looking for representatives for the following states: Arkansas, Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Iowa, Maine, Maryland, Michigan, Mississippi, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Mexico, North Carolina, North Dakota, Rhode Island, South Dakota, Utah, Vermont, West Virginia, Wisconsin, Wyoming)

The creators of the National Atheist Party say that they were moved to create their alternative political party as a response to “religious fanatics” who have used their positions in government to marginalize atheists, putting atheists in a lower legal class of citizens than believers in theistic religions. I agree that the abuse of political power by religious zealots to promote their own beliefs in violation of the separation of church and state is a serious problem, but it’s for that same reason that I believe that the creation of the National Atheist Party is unwise.

The separation of church and state isn’t just a creation of the First Amendment. It also has its roots in the original body of the Constitution. In Article VI, the Constitution declares that there shall be no religious test for public office. The National Atheist Party shows disrespect for this core principle within the Constitution by creating a religious test in its own membership – for atheists, and those who support atheists, only.

I would no sooner vote for atheist candidates who asked me to vote for them because they are atheists than I would vote for Christian candidates who asked me to vote for them because they are Christians. Politicians have the right to be individually informed by their ideas about religion, and they even have the right to organize themselves into caucuses and political parties on the basis of religion. However, such efforts tend to lead to attempts to pass laws that promote the beliefs and practices of politicians’ own particular religions, and that’s unconstitutional.

I don’t want to belong to a political party that tries to spread any idea about any religion, whether accepting of religion or negating religion. I would much rather support a political party that was wise enough simply to stay out of the area of religious beliefs, and only go so far as to support the freedom from religious establishment that’s in the Constitution. A Separation of Church and State Party would be a fine idea. The National Atheist Party, however, is merely the mirror image of the theocratic politicians it opposes.

In its political platform, the National Atheist Party has a collection of great ideas. As far as I can see, they’re liberal ideas, and most of them have absolutely nothing to do with the atheist identity.

There is a need in the United States for a solid liberal political party (rather than the center-right Democrats or the Marxist-conspiracy-theorist Greens), so why couldn’t the people behind the National Atheist Party simply have joined with others to organize such an effort? My best guess is that the atheists behind the National Atheist Party would prefer not to work with Christians or members of other religions.

That distaste will be a limiting factor for the National Atheist Party. Atheists make up somewhere between 10 and 15 percent of the population of the United States, but most of these atheists are not enthusiasts about atheism. Most atheist Americans simply don’t believe in gods, and want to move on from there. They don’t want zealots to be allowed to promote religious discrimination, but neither do they want to isolate themselves from their neighbors and colleagues who happen to believe in gods. They don’t want to be primarily identified as atheists, because they’ve moved on past theistic religion to the extent that they can let go of their need to react to religious power plays. They’re principled in their support of the separation of church and state, but they’re not going to allow themselves to be provoked into anger.

This silent, nonreactive majority of atheist Americans won’t join the National Atheist Party. That leaves the National Atheist Party with a tiny portion of the population of the United States to work with. The National Atheist Party can’t succeed in putting any politicians in elected office in these conditions, and so, the National Atheist Party will succeed only in depicting atheists as an isolated, ineffective fringe.

Atheists pride themselves on rationality. So, let them be rational. Let them up come up with a smarter organization than the National Atheist Party.

39 comments to National Atheist Party An Irrational Organization

  • You are very ill-informed. There is no test for party membership you support the platform, or you don’t like any other party. We reach out to anyone who shares our values of secular humanism, strict adherence to the establishment clause, and evidence based conclusions on policies that respect individual and societal well-being. We are for the separation of church and state as outlined clearly in the constitution, other founding documents, and as is necessary for reality-based governance. We in NO way wish to restrict others in whatever non-harmful beliefs the wish to practice.

    Much of this information is directly accessible on the info tab of the page, and with the current charter being ratified you have even less of an excuse for the glaring misrepresentations you present here.

    Most atheists and most journalists (amateur or otherwise) should care aboute getting their facts straight. This quality is markedly absent in this article.

    I politely request you evaluate and correct the distortions presented here

    • Tim Obester

      You characterize Atheists (And I say with a capital “A”; just like “L”utheran, “C”atholic, etc.) as not wanting to be zealots? Have you ever considered the backlash if they come out of the closet? I am an avowed Agnostic, and if my Atheist cousins here in Hastings, Nebraska ever…ever considered of coming out, they’d think a fifth time! With Governor Perry’s attempts to make prayer part of government decision making process to score political points for a Presidential run, and Michelle Bachman’s Gay bashing husband (aside from Gay & Lesbians & Bisexuals behavior in the bedroom, which is *none of your business*, why the inexplicable, pure, barbaric hatred?), have you considered giving “an opening” to these assaults on our public citizens justifies without a response? The establishment clause of the First Amendment makes it clear that government cannot choose one religion over another, or even at all! It is this clause that religious groups have challenged for decades. Get ready for opposition until the reality is faced that basing your morals on Bronze Age folk tales is dangerous and outdated. If you’re worth your pillar of salt, I suggested you reply. And for the audience:http://www.madmanorsomethingworse.com/

      • Tim Obester

        Thank You for your tour of an Internet echo chamber, signed, Tim Obester, (non-fictional entity), current Proaqaurium Critical Thinker professor, “Truthiness University,” specializing in “no longer suffering fools on tipsy-topsy soapboxes.”

  • Demosthenes

    As a journalist, you are guilty of either plain error or a deliberate distortion of the facts. The mission statement and charter of the National Atheist Party both clearly welcome all people of all races, bacgrounds and creeds. All that is required is the same thing required of any political party supporter – that you choose to support them.

    You should be ashamed of your failure to report on this important and emerging party accurately. How many people read this and will be misinformed by your failure?

    Try actually reading the charter instead of prejudicial assumptions:http://www.facebook.com/National.Atheist.Party#!/note.php?note_id=247788885235800

    • Tim Obester

      This “opening” to be inclusive by the NAP to religious groups is a little ludicrous. It just gives people like J Clifford a point to rhetorically exploit, while he plays a know-nothing of religion’s rebuke to one of the fastest growing minorities in America

      • Tim Obester

        As “J Clifford”, a byline beknownst only as figment of this “blog’s” imagination, needs a good, frank quote to better his know-nothingness on Atheism, by an article in AlterNet, by Greta Christina:
        “And the reality, in the United States and most of the rest of the world, is that atheists are the targets of significant bigotry and discrimination. Most Americans wouldn’t trust an atheist. Most Americans wouldn’t vote for an atheist. Atheist veterans get booed when they march in a Memorial Day Parade. Atheist groups get targeted with hysterical venom when they play “Jingle Bells” in a Christmas parade. Atheist bus ads and billboards — even the ones simply saying that atheists exist and are good people — routinely get protested, vandalized, and even flatly rejected or removed. Atheist high schoolers trying to organize student groups routinely get stonewalled by school administrations. Atheist teenagers get threatened and ostracized by their communities and kicked out of their homes. Atheist soldiers — in the U.S. armed forces — get prayer ceremonies pressured on them, get atheist meetings and events broken up, get judged for their fitness as soldiers based on their “spiritual fitness”… and get harassed and even threatened with death when they complain about it. Atheists lose custody of their children, explicitly because of their atheism. Bigoted myths about atheists abound — myths that we’re amoral, selfish, hateful, despairing, close-minded, nihilistic, arrogant, intolerant, forcing our lack of belief on others, etc. — and many of us experience real discrimination as a result.” – Greta Christina with AlterNet ; “5 Faulty Arguments Religious People Use Against Atheists (Debunked)” ; July 6th, 2011

        • Know-nothingness on Atheism? Tim, in this article, I’m criticizing the National Atheist Party, not criticizing atheism.

          By the way, I do exist. The first initial on my birth certificate is J. The middle name on my birth certificate is Clifford. In what sense do I not exist?

          Then you’re placing “blog” in quotes, as if, somehow, the blog on Irregular Times is not genuinely a blog. You may disagree with me about the National Atheist Party, but please calm down and think about why, rather than engaging in these ridiculous attacks.

          The rather thin skin that fans of the National Atheist Party are demonstrating in reaction to this article cannot be sustained.

          I disagree with the strategy of creating a National Atheist Party as a political party. Guess what, guys – in politics, people disagree, and lots of people, many atheists included, will disagree with the politics of the National Atheist Party. My advice is to stop being so defensive, and instead focus on proving your detractors wrong, by being successful.

  • Sterile Fingers

    Your best guess? Do you actually know whether or not they are willing to work with religious groups? Is this whole article based on your unfounded assumptions? That is not very firm ground on which to stand. Did you do any serious research into this party before you wrote this article or did you simple glance briefly over their platform? Furthermore, your knowledge of the principals and history of the Constitution seems to be surface level at best. It is true that the Constitution prohibits religious tests for the holding of public office, but it prohibits the federal government (and also now the states) from issuing such a test. It is done prohibit private citizens or political organizations from doing so, and that fact was quite clearly established in the election of 1800, during which Thomas Jefferson’s opponents not only accused him of being an atheist, but also publicly called for a religious test of the voters, meaning people should not vote for Jefferson because he did not share their religious beliefs. This is not to suggest that we should be allowing ourselves to overtly implement religious tests of any kind, even of the atheist kind. But on the other hand, do you really expect anyone, whether atheist or theist, to divorce their values and deeply held convictions from their choices of political candidate? I doubt that even you do that…

  • Demosthenes

    From the Charter: FIRST paragraph: “”The National Atheist Party is open to all faiths, if they share our goals. We are not, as a Party, attacking the evidentiary basis of religion and recognize that would be impossible and counter-productive.”

    This is in direct opposition to the drivel you have posted here.

    • I can tell that the people at the National Atheist Party are upset about this article, and I can understand why they feel that way, but please take a second to try to think clearly about the subject.

      Whether what I’ve written is “drivel or not”, Demosthenes, you must know that you can’t expect members of theistic religions to join the “National Atheist Party”.

      ” We demand emancipation from the religious dogma that has infiltrated our government and has unfairly influenced political decisions and policy making,” you say (Facebook account). How many theists do you expect to share that goal?

      Do really expect people who are not atheists to feel welcome in a political party called the National Atheist Party? It’s as ridiculous to suggest you’re open to non-theists as it would be to suggest that a National Christian Party would be open to atheists.

      Captain Pants neatly encapsulates the problem when he states of the National Atheist Party, “There is no test for party membership you support the platform, or you don’t like any other party. We reach out to anyone who shares our values of secular humanism…” That’s a clear contradiction right there. You reach out to anyone, so long as they share your secular humanist ideas about religion.

      I notice that none of you care to counter the fundamental point that the National Atheist Party is an irrational choice for atheists because it has a small chance of succeeding and thus is likely to contribute to the image of atheists as an ineffectual fringe.

      Demosthenes, if you actually read this article, you’ll see that I did read platform before writing this article. As I said, the platform has loads of great ideas, but the organization of the National Atheist Party is more than just this charter document. It is also represented by the web site SupportAtheism.com, which currently hosts the main National Atheist Party presence online. Taking a look at that web site how can you reasonably argue that the National Atheist Party expects to get anyone other than atheists for members?

      Your National Atheist Party is for… atheists. It seeks to represent… atheists. It’s not hard to figure out.

      Is your National Atheist Party going to nominate any theists for public office? Of course not. Can you even point to a single theist member of your political party? I doubt it.

      If you named the party the National Secular Party, you could make a reasonable claim to be open to people of all creeds. Your claims of openness under the name National Atheist Party aren’t credible.

      You’ve got a political organization that’s dedicated to promoting control of government for people who have just one small set of ideas about religion. As I said in the article, to have a political party with this purpose does not in itself violate the separation of church and state, but if the political party became successful, it would likely lead to violations of the separation of church and state, in a pathetic mirror image of what’s currently in place.

      • Sterile Fingers

        “You reach out to anyone, so long as they share your secular humanist ideas about religion.”

        Again, this is no different from any other political. Political parties embrace those who share their political, social, and cultural values. The NAP is no different from, we just happen to have a particular focus on issues of separation of church and state. Having a particular focus is also not unusual, especially for minority (third) parties. It seems that what you mainly take issue with is the parties name. Maybe the name will keep some people away. I doubt any party expects that it is going to attract everyone, and if religious people are turned off by the name so be. One of the reasons the party chose the name it did is to confront the bias and fear that is associated in this country with the term “atheism.” If you are fine with people recoiling at the thought of who you are, that is fine. We are trying change that. The history of minority group struggles has fairly clearly shown that embracing the terms that are feared, making them common, deflating them in a sense, does more for the cause of acceptance than hiding.

        • Sterile, if you took a look at Irregular Times, you’d see that we are in sense hiding our opinions about religion. We’re not a political party, though. For a political party to organize itself primarily in terms of religious identity is quite a different step than for a political party to organize itself according to political issues. In my opinion, this move is, although legal, profoundly unwise.

      • Tim Obester

        J. Clifford: You make no mentioning of an optional group, namely Americans United for the Separation of Church and State, http://www.au.org/ that unites people of all faiths to keep The Wall up between government and wrongs by church organizations. (perhaps like tax free church institutions that support infrastructure more than charity work?). Are you worried your readers might join just such a group? Your breadth on matters of religious intransigence is appalling.

        • My breadth is appalling? I’m sorry, but I’m confused, Tim. What does that mean?

          Americans United for Separation of Church and State is a non-profit advocacy organization, not a political party. That’s an important difference.

  • Demosthenes

    It doesn’t matter whether or not you philosphically oppose the party. That’s fine. Go ahead. You mention that you are an atheist or at least unaffiliated – so it occurs to me that you must be comfortable with being excluded from representation as the rest of the freethinkers in the U.S. have been for 253 years. Well, we’re not comfortable with that.

    Second, your understanding of theism is limited indeed to make such broad statements. We count among our supporters: atheists, humanists, pantheists, secular pagans, secular buddhists, and even agnostics and agnostic Christians. There is even one Christian Atheist that I’ve enjoyed speaking with.

    All of the above notwithstanding, your article is factually inaccurate. FACTUALLY inaccurate. I’d be embarrassed it I were you. Truly.

    • Demosthenes, I am certainly not comfortable with being excluded from equal participation in the Democratic and Republican parties. That’s why I’m an independent voter. I do not see how the National Atheist Party will bring me representation in government, as its political base is limited to only a certain sort of atheist – a very small portion of the population.

      You claim that the National Atheist Party is open to theists – though the very name of your party and its goals seem designed to drive theists away. In defense of this claim, you cite members who are all non-theists, except for the “pantheists” – hardly a large portion of the population. How many of these pantheists do you have in your party? Two? Three?

      You can’t claim to have any Christians in your political party, so you say that you have “enjoyed speaking with” a Christian Atheist – a term that most people would describe as an oxymoron.

      I don’t want to be represented in government in terms of religious identity. The National Atheist Party is defined according to a stance on religious identity, and so even if it could be effective, I wouldn’t join.

      As for FACTUAL inaccuracy (does the capitalization of each letter make me more wrong?), you haven’t really demonstrated any factual inaccuracy on the article’s part – just a difference in the way that you interpret the facts.

      “Captain Pants” – If there are “a number of outright lies and distortions” in this article, could you count them for me? I can’t find any.

  • I have been a registerd democrat, but have voted republican. I am an atheist married in a church. I spend money that has “In God We Trust on it”. I have donated to politicians who openly pronounce a supernatural faith. I voted for a president who says “May god bless America. Theist politicians support secular humanist ideals all the time.

    If you are afraid of the word atheist or secular as being exclusionary boogeyman terms- then this party isn’t for you. This party exists in part to counter such illogical and inaccurate assumptions.

    If I can be reasonable and open-minded enough to make all the exceptions listed above, I don’t find it unreasonable for others to do the same. Dominating the political field may not be a reasonable expectation at this or any point, but being a voice for atheists in the political sphere and correcting inaccurate prejudices, while making local inroads is not.

    And as Demosthenes points out, you have your FACTS wrong. You can think it is not a worthwhile venture- that is fine. But you presented a number of outright lies and distortions here. That is problematic. Integrity would dictate you correct that. Opine on how you think people will react to the party name or platform statements all you want, but don’t make your fellow atheists look like theocrats by distorting what is in plain sight.

  • Troy Boyle - President, National Atheist Party

    Sir,

    I must protest the curious errors that I’ve found in your article. “Curious” because no one who is truly familiar with or party or what it stands for can have made the strange, stumbling errors that you have in failing to define our goals, outlook and consensus.

    Among a forest of other generalizations and assumptions, these three stood out to me as being the worst offenders. In fact they seem drawn from whole cloth. It is as though simply looked at the Facebook summary page and wrote your entire article based upon it.

    1) ” by creating a religious test in its own membership – for atheists, and those who support atheists, only” Plainly and factually wrong. There is no religious test for membership. The party is open to anyone who applies. We do not reject anyone, for any reason whatsoever.

    2) “The National Atheist Party, however, is merely the mirror image of the theocratic politicians it opposes.” Factually wrong and assumptive. Theocratic politicians want to include their specific religion in the government arena – a place where it doesn’t belong. Our party seeks to apply a strict observation of laws that are already in place, albeit poorly enforced. We agree with the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment and call foul upon those who would violate it. The difference between the law as it is and the theocratic version is vast. The difference between the law as it is and the National Atheist Party’s version is no difference at all, save that the law must be enforced and not allowed to be chipped away.

    Also, theocrats would force ONE vision of religion on the nation. The NAP doesn’t care what religion you are. We support the free exercise of any religion, provided that it doesn’t violate those common spaces where people of multiple faiths, or no faiths at all, must congregate. These places are the halls of government, the school room, the workplace and the courthouse. All people should be free to worship in their homes, their places of worship, or in public spaces not otherwise regulated. Doesn’t sound like the “mirror image” to me. Unless by mirror image you mean tolerant and ethically correct.

    3) ” they’re liberal ideas, and most of them have absolutely nothing to do with the atheist identity.” This is the worst of your egregious mistakes. Not only does it strip atheists of the right to have a political voice, it reprobates them for trying. Our platform was generated by the membership through majority vote. You do not see in it the ideas of a few people. You see there the distilled ideas of hundreds of atheists. If our platform is liberal, what of it? It’s still OURS.

    This article is not reporting. It is the article of a lazy writer that did not take the time to familiarize himself with the subject. Only cursory attention was paid to our organization, which deserves better, and the author is guilty of exactly the kind of assumptions and suppositions that have always plagued good and decent atheists throughout time. It’s a shame that these comments come from a nominal atheist.

    Troy Boyle, President – National Atheist Party

    • Troy, you’ve got a funny concept of the realm of the factual. You don’t leave room for interpretation of a text and the surrounding metatexts. In your view, and the view of the other zealous defenders of the National Atheist Party here, the National Atheist Party is what the charter of the National Atheist Party says it is, and nothing more, and the charter must be understood literally. It’s an approach to understanding that is remarkably like that of the Biblical literalists.

      In politics, it’s never enough to just SAY something. For Barack Obama to SAY that he supports the equality of gays and lesbians is nice, but gays and lesbians are paying more attention these days to what Obama actually does – refusing to support marriage equality.

      So, you and your followers can come on Irregular Times and get all huffy about what I’ve written, protesting that it’s “factually wrong” and so on, but you’re missing the point that I’m not just literally reading what you SAY the National Atheist Party is. I’m looking at the larger sphere of what the National Atheist Party is doing, what it can do in the future, the larger texts in which the National Atheist Party is based, and interpreting those to get a larger idea of what the National Atheist Party stands for than what can be found in reading any particular clause of your founding document.

      In every organization, there are normative rules and less formal codes. There are subtexts. There are multiple, competing messages that run simultaneously. In your accusations of this article being “factually wrong”, you’re only looking at your charter document, and none of the other manifestations of the National Atheist Party. You’re treating politics as if it’s a simple logic puzzle, and it’s not.

      The NAME of your organization sends a message that’s quite contradictory to what your charter states. You may not like it that voters are going to interpret you according to your party name, but that’s tough. Politics isn’t about what’s fair or “factual” in a legalistic interpretation of language. It’s about the message you send. I don’t think that most atheists would consider a National Christian Party to be open to atheists, and if you’re honest, you’ll recognize why.

      Then there’s the context of SupportAtheism.com, the larger web site that surrounds the National Atheist Party. You’ve got articles on there attacking agnostics for not being pure enough in their thinking, for goodness sakes. “Jesus is bologna.” “Preying on the vulnerable is what religions do.” “Emasculating religion in general would be far more fun and worthwhile than teasing zealots. That’s the real work. And once emasculated, they’ll dwindle away. Religious types are really only in the game for the temporal power it affords them.”

      You say you welcome people of all creeds – so long as they support the goals of secular humanism, which contradict the ideals of many creeds.

      In all of your embarrassed defensiveness, not one of you has come up with a plan for how the National Atheist Party can succeed. This is the article’s most important critique of your organization, and you won’t address it. You don’t have a realistic strategy, and so you’re creating a image of atheists as marginal and ineffective.

      How many members have you got in this political party, really? You don’t even speak for the majority of atheists, much less for the majority of the voting public. How on earth are you going to win one election, or even get enough signatures to get a candidate on a ballot for an office in the national government?

      I want effective representation. Tilting at windmills is not effective representation.

  • Franck Legrain

    J, you are missing a crucial point about the NAP: it is not that the unique theme is atheism, it is that religion should not be involved in politics in the first place so that we want decisions to be rationally made and in the best interest of the people. We do not reject believers, in fact we have Christian members who joined because they are also tired of too much religiosity in the government. Although they pray to a god, they think that a governor who holds a prayer meeting for rain should not do so. Not because it is Christian, but rather because it i a waste of time and he should instead concentrate on water policies based on rational thinking or maybe create jobs by launching water collection and distribution projects. (this is just an example).
    As a party, we want to do what is best for the country and we would work with people of any belief system as long as they do not try to force irrational religious-based solution to existing problems. If a politician wants to pry on his or her own time, it is fine but if they are trying to pass off religious views as scientific material for the classroom, we will oppose it. Is it really THAT bad ? Check us out, check out the party’s constitution and see that we are no different to other parties when it comes to the way we work. We don’t wan you to join because we are atheists, we want you to join because we have good ideas.

  • theotherjimmyolson

    I’m with you on this issue JClifford. There appears to be a large amount of “magical thinking going on.I’m a militant radical atheist and even I can see how off- putting this could be to mere secularists, let alone nominal religious people.

    • Yup. I’m fine with people engaging in strong criticism of religions. I think it’s valuable. I do it myself. To be a free society, we need to have skepticism of everything, vigorously applied. Question everything!

      But, when you form a political party, it needs to bring people together in order to create the ability to make real change. A political party that can’t work isn’t worth a thing. A political party needs to be smart, and socially adroit. Creating a National Atheist Party is neither.

  • Spartacus

    Damn, J. Clifford, why such a harsh attack against your own people? You should be suporting these guys, because nobody else wants you. Your’e going to Hell anyway, you may as well do good by your own. This is why Christians will always win. Not only is it God’s will – but atheists bicker among themselsves like grannies. LMAO

    • Spartacus, Christians do a fine job fighting amongst themselves as well, arguing non-stop about which Christian sects get to go to Heaven, and which are being sent to Hell for having the incorrect theology.

      Atheists are not a “people”. They’re people. I’m not attacking atheists in general. I’m criticizing an atheist organization that is doing a poor job of representing atheists.

      For those of us who don’t belong to a controlling theocratic organization, it’s okay to have disagreements. It’s part of life in a free democracy to have differences of opinions about political parties. It’s not a problem.

  • Dan

    J,
    I love the fact that you completely ignore all the things you got wrong. But that would be an admittance, wouldn’t it?

    • Dan, I’ve addressed the specific points made by members of the National Atheist Party. Can you identify a thing I got wrong that I’ve completely ignored?

      If the National Atheist Party is going to be so thin-skinned about criticisms, it’s going to have a very hard time as a political party.

      You know what would be the best way for the National Atheist Party to prove me wrong? They could go ahead and win a seat in Congress with a National Atheist Party, through a collaboration with Christian voters. If they could do that, I would have to admit that my description of problems in the National Atheist Party was wrong.

      Do you think that’s going to happen, Dan?

      NOTE: Melanie Marie Adkins of the National Atheist Party says that there are an estimated 3 million non-Christians in Texas. Only 40 of these 3 million have joined the National Atheist Party.

      • whats in a name?

        “NOTE: Melanie Marie Adkins of the National Atheist Party says that there are an estimated 3 million non-Christians in Texas. Only 40 of these 3 million have joined the National Atheist Party.”

        How long has your page been around? since 2002? maybe it was 2004 i forget because it is pretty irrelevant as to how old you site is because from what I gathered, you aren’t fairing very will in the hits per month, maybe a few loyal readers, but not to bash you.

        Nor will i use big fancy words to try to push my views forward because it makes me sound like i have “smarts ” and there fore i must be right

        You mentioned that only 40 members of Texas has Joined so far, if you read anything about the NAP, you would have noticed that the NAP was founded only in March of this year (2011) it is a very young party, sure, there are some issues that are being worked out but, to sit there and peck away on your keyboard, and tell your what 400 readers a month? that the NAP is wrong because you view it as so is kind of..whats a good word, stupid ( fits nicely). you will also take note that the very thing the NAP is trying to do is remove the stink tied to the term “atheist”.

        Sadly “Atheist” still has a bad rap so many people are reluctant to show their faces as of yet, ( kind oh like putting a big clock over ones face to hide their identities…but thankfully the atheist movement is starting to gain ground and as you know is the fastest moving organization in the country
        your Article is very well written, it was a nice read, but you seem to be stuck on the term “Atheist” yourself.
        Maybe it is a good thing that some people are turned off by the name, because if a name really bothers you or anyone then they clearly do not share the same views as the NAP

        just like clearly im not a writer and i cant dazzle your readers with a very well organized highly intelligent wordy response, but im willing to bet that even your big worded mind can understand what im saying , even in simple mans terms

        please do not get me wrong, i see your concerns and respect that most of the posters can use the big words, im merely a working class, high school graduate, but i am also a very strong atheist my wife which i also married in a church is a very strong christian, and agrees with the NAP an which is also a member of the NAP, you have the gift of gab my friend, maybe you should use it to promote the movement, and voice your concerns to the party it’s self about the name if it bugs you that much, you seem to agree with the movement, just not the name…it is reckoned to me not naming my first born child Foster after my beautiful hard working christian wife’s grand father, because i didnt like the name…but I do love my wife and her views, and my Son Foster, is completely fine with his name

        Have a great day

  • Rachel M. Shierling

    W-O-R-D. (<3's J. Clifford)

  • Is this satirical? Its a joke article right? LOL

    I have pantheistic friends that also support our effort and are even gearing up to pimp our products and labels to further the cause. However the monotheistic folks seem only angered by our attempt to be heard and seen. We do not plan on legislating against the freedom of choice we plan on demanding to be heard as well and as loudly and clearly as the ‘religious right’. You can be a Myther if you want and STILL support our cause. Our efforts are those of rational and logical outworking due to the current degradation of our political structure, nothing more nothing less.

    Have you bothered at all to even LOOK at our platform? It appears you forgot to do that before writing this lovely rant. Please take the time to do so now. ;-D

    • Ralph

      “Myther” sounds like a derogatory comment for a religious person. It sounds a little like a black person calling white people “crackers” or “honkies.” As a minority, there’s some power to be gained in ridiculing a majority that’s clearly prejudiced. But I think that approach has its limitations.

      It may be a good time for an atheist power movement. Atheists are discriminated against in serious ways, and it’s good for us to claim power to overcome that discrimination.

      But I’m not sure how well a minority power movement–which is great as a social thing–translates into a political party with serious ambitions of attaining office in order to govern everyone.

    • Melissa, I’ve addressed these points before – have you bothered to look? What you’ve said about a “Myther” joining your National Atheist Party is like saying “You can be a woman if you want and STILL support the National Men’s Party.”

  • My feeling is that the National Atheist Party is within its rights to exist. Exactly how inclusive or exclusive it is, is to be seen. I got banned from their Facebook discussion page for not agreeing with the NAP ‘President’, Troy Boyle. I don’t have anything nice to say about Mr. Boyle. Bow to him, or be banned.
    As christian dogma has effectively taken over the USA – putting ‘God’ on the currency, limiting who can run for office, requiring the use of ‘God’ in the court room, before Congressional sessions and the pledge of allegiance – there’s a need to course correct. There’s room for the NAP, it just needs to mind its manners and take heed of the timeless line, ‘Power corrupts’.

  • Nils R. B. Young

    The contradictory nature of the party’s raisin d’eatery (pointed out in J. Clifford’s quote of 7/5/2011 at 3:52 pm) is what willied me out. A demand for emancipation from dogma &c while welcoming superstitionists is an impossible situation for me and for most superstitionists. Which I ain’t. A superstitionist.

    Thus I don’t see myself joining a party that claims superstitionist multiculturalism while demanding an end to superstitionism. Don’t work that way in my highly fracked brain. Pretty damn sure it won’t work in the deeply factionalized superstitionist brain neither.

    Thus I abstain. At least until the One True Frank shows up sets up the G-hawd and refills the oil wells & natural gas deposits so my brain won’t get fracked any more.

  • DJ Nash

    I have been thinking along the same lines, J. These many political parties just divide us all. While I do understand the frustrations with the democratic party, it’s obvious that weakening it by syphoning off disgruntled segments of it only can make things worse. It does seem to me that an atheist caucus of the main lib party would be much more effective.

    You are being intellectually dishonest with yourself -members or founders/organizers of NAP- if you truly believe you can attract a wide coalition under the atheist named umbrella. Worse, you’re being intellectually dishonest with the rest of us as well. Kinda hard to respect that. I have read somewhere in the material or public postings that you chose the name because you figured naming it anything else would be a cowardly copout. I understand that, I do, and made the same decision for myself. But I am an atheist. You cannot claim to not be a group for atheists, when you call yourself the atheist party. It’s a bullshit line that you feel secular christians will flock to your cause.

    If the aim is to promote the more favorable public opinion of atheists, I can think of much more effective ways to go about that rather than creating another exclusive political fringe group. Yes it is exclusive. You are atheists, it says it right there in your name and whatever else your rules, bylaws and missions statements might say, it can never override the prominent fact that you’re atheists, a group designed for atheists, with atheistic aims and agendas. Again, it’s right there in your title- National Atheist Party. It doesn’t say atheists and friends, it says atheist. Period.

    I would not join any political party that shared your exact same platform but called itself the national christian party, and you wouldn’t either. Duh.

    I wish you guys luck, I’m interested in atheists organizing politically, but I think this way won’t be very effective. And that is what the public will see, an ineffective fringe group, so I don’t think your repeated goal of making the atheist name more reputable will be well-served.

    Again a caucus within the liberal party would be much more effective. In fact, I’d also like to see a republican atheist caucus, these things make sense. ANOTHER DIVISIVE AND EXCLUSIVE THIRD PARTY doesn’t.

    You can pretend that’s not what you are, and I’m sure it isn’t what you intend to be, but it is in fact for all practical purposes in reality what it is.

  • ColinL

    Thanks for a well written article that not only captured my initial reactions of uneasiness when I stumbled across the NAP, but also provoked strong reaction from NAP members whose comments only increased my uneasiness.

    I am an atheist who has a personal bone to pick with religion, and who is definitely concerned with the infiltration of religion into our political and public space. I happily support bus ads and other efforts to fight discrimination against atheists. However, I don’t buy the concept of a political party as currently defined by the NAP. Atheism isn’t sufficient as a policy making ideology. It’s not socialism, liberalism, conservatism etc. In a way, it makes even less sense to have an atheist party than it is to have a Christian or Islamic one.

    In my opinion, and I suspect those of many atheists, atheism should be an implicit characteristic of how we go about establishing policy, rather than an end-goal. It would be absurd to decide that the most “atheistic” solution to problems is, by definition, the best one.

    (I am reminded of a Saturday Night Live skit involving John McCain and Sarah Palin. Tina Fey said, ‘Well we’re a bunch of mavericks! We’ll look at issues, ask ourselves, “What would a maverick do?” and do that.”)

    To folks from the NAP, I suggest to you that much of your party’s image is garishly off-putting in precisely that way. The defensive and angry responses you’ve posted here aren’t helping.

  • G Sterpka

    I am a member of the Arkansas Society of Freethinkers, and I recently joined the NAP, but after reading this article I will withdraw from the party. For one thing, I am never completely happy with any organization that has the word Atheist or Atheism in it, because the word carries negative connotations and immediately raises the defenses of the religious.
    .
    Also, by using Atheist in any name, it ensures that it will have a narrow field of appeal. In other words religious people who might believe in the separation of church and state, will be unlikely to join a group with Atheist in the name. How would members of their congregation feel towards a person if they found out that person had joined such a group?

    I am also aware of atheists who do not feel the need to press the atheist issue, so they don’t join any atheist groups, but these people might be more inclined to press the secular issue.

    I would be happier if there was a Secular Party of the Americas – SPA.
    I searched the internet and found only Secular Party of Australia.
    I think the name has much more general appeal.
    Peace
    G Sterpka

  • MSlone

    I am a state member of NAP, and I disagree with you. While I don’t expect to see any believers as members, the party WILL support candidates that support their common goals. Mostly progressive, and a strong separation of church and state. It’s that simple.

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