Last spring, it came to my attention that a bunch of atheists were getting together to form a National Atheist Party. I had some interest, given that I am not a theist, but I soon became concerned about the concept of the new political party. The idea of the National Atheist Party was to organize people to vote according to their beliefs about religion. In this case, the political party was devoted to opposition to theist religions. That was a different religious angle than the Democratic and Republican parties, which promote Christian theism over other religions, but it’s still mixing religion into secular politics, against the spirit of the Constitution, which declares that there shall be no religious tests for public office.
“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,” I wrote at the time. The activists over at the National Atheist Party were not pleased. Realizing the inherent contradiction of forming a political party on the basis of religious identity that claims to stand against religious discrimination, NAP enthusiasts began to insist that their political party would be for everybody, including theists, even though its name clearly indicated otherwise.
A few months later, I checked in on the National Atheist Party again. I noted that the party wasn’t making much progress toward having any actual campaigns for public office, but in response, activist Jim Rael asserted that he was seeing “exponential growth of membership and interest in the party”.
That was a little bit over a year ago. Tonight, with just a month left in the 2012 election season, I decided to check in on the National Atheist Party again, to see if they’ve made any progress.
What I found is that it’s ironic that the acronym for the National Atheist Party is NAP. Almost the entire political party seems to have fallen asleep. The party doesn’t have a single candidate for public office anywhere – not even for a local school board or highway superintendent. The last politically-themed comment on the National Atheist Party forum was back in April. The last event endorsed by the party was a book raffle in early June.
Since that time, a small number of people have continued to try to create the appearance of activity at the National Atheist Party. Someone’s still manning the Twitter feed, creating tweets, almost none of which have anything to do with the National Atheist Party. Half the states still don’t even have one person who’s stepped forward to volunteer as a state representative for the party.
It seems that the exponents in the “exponential growth” of the National Atheist Party have turned south.