I've had it out with these guys before, but I just really had to express this view:
I will never, ever, ever join a political party called "The National ATHEIST Party"
I think that naming a political party after the word 'Atheist' and claim it's an inclusive secular party is asinine. A Christian whose primary voting concern is for his government to be Secular, is not going to want to join a party that says 'National Atheist Party'. Same with a Deist, a Buddhist, or anyone else who describes themselves as spiritual but not religious, or religious but pro-secularism.
When I suggested the name be "The National Secular Party", the response I got was:
"You don't understand the use of the term and the intent, you're making assumptions that don't stand up if you would review the charter and FAQ
We are the “Atheist” party for several reasons, and each member may have varying personal reasons for why the chosen voted upon name is or is not justified.
Atheist is the demographic of the National Atheist Party’s founders and of the voting bloc the National Atheist Party most actively seeks to engage and empower.
There is a bad connotation to the word “atheist”. We want to re-claim the word and make it a positive connotation. Much like the African-American activists of the 50s did with “negro.” They don’t use it now, but it was a necessary first step.
Humanist and Secularist are terms that the public doesn’t understand very well; there is not an immediate understanding that we share a belief that gods, do not exist. Those that will be critical or malign us don’t call Secularists, secularists. When 80% of the population calls you an atheist, you do not empower yourself by adopting what you hope to be a less castigated term, in the hopes of escaping the stigma or placating others by manipulating vague qualifiers."
The problem with his logic is as I said before: Not all Secularists are Atheists. Not all Humanists are Atheists. Not all Atheists though are Humanists, or Secularists (I know several Atheists who are 'conservative Atheists' that think religion has the right idea even if the basis for it is totally wrong and mythical). Atheist doesn't SAY anything about a political party. But anybody can be secular, even a Cardinal, or the Pope (if he were liberal enough). You don't have to be an Atheist to believe that religion has no place in government. Our founding fathers were some mix of Deist, Pantheist, or liberally religious and yet still supported Secularism.
The party makes clear in its goals that Secularism is pretty much its most important issue, and yet they use such an exclusive term. I posted a Facebook status about this issue and found that 90% of my Atheist friendlist opposed the name of the party and agreed National Secular Party was more appropriate.
What are your thoughts?
I don't vote for one issue candidates or parties, no matter how much I may share their concerns. So the Atheist Party won't be getting my vote for the same reason Green or Marijuana parties don't get my vote.
I'm looking for a National Secular Humanist Party - something that actually has a set of beliefs that can influence government on more than one issue.
That sounds like a cool party (National Secular Humanist Party) ... maybe you could set it up or something. Grassroots organizing.
When some officers of NAP came on here I asked, and received, the same response you did.
Yeah, using the word 'atheist' in the name of an organization isn't a bad idea, until it's a political party. We have organizations that spread ideas of free thought, reason, science, and atheism as social activist groups, which can stand up for just one main cause, but when you have a political party you really can't box yourself in like that.
It would be really hard for a political organization to get off of the ground on the idea of secularism or atheism regardless of what other issues you stand for, and by throwing the word atheist into the title, which would lead individuals to infer that is all you stood for, you are even further undermining your own effort. Like I said, that would be okay, if they were an activist group, and even if they associated themselves or lobbied a certain political party, but it wouldn't work on its own.
You really have to look at the main ideological standpoints and go from there. Another point to be made is that, even if everyone in your group is atheist, will they agree across the board on other issues and find a constituency that could adhere to ones similar? So when you want to organize another political party, you have to first start with all major issues (economy, education, energy, entitlements, taxes, defense, foreign affairs, social issues, environment, criminal justice, heath care, immigration, commerce, infrastructure, R&D, then religion/secularism and role of government in all of the above) and then form a name that corresponds with, and doesn't undermined your across the board political/governmental ideology.
In my opinion, being a Democrat (I'm with them on majority of the issues), I see nothing wrong with just being active as the part of a non-political atheist organization that stands for free-thought, separation of church and state, secularism, science, education and reason in general, and pushing your ideas as part of that and trying to break into politics indirectly through a major political party. The thing holding major parties back is the polls having over 90% of Americans saying that they believe in God and over 80% identifying with a specific religion (majority Christianity). With only roughly 8% of American's being atheist, it's best to attack the problem at its roots and as people get influenced, the major parties will get influenced also.
I think National Secular Party is fine because their main problem is the violation of the separation of church and state. I don't think it should be a one-party issue. I think the party should stand for the handling of government without the interference of religion, and should draft a wide range of views they can generally agree on (like being pro-choice to a point, being for the increased funding of NASA, et cetera; things that further secularist interests without excluding religious people at the same time).
I'm all for Atheist-named non political groups, like the Atheist aid groups in Texas that do charity giving and stuff, but just not for a political party. I want religion OUT of government because it makes Atheists feel excluded. I don't want Atheists to turn around and exclude religious people out of a party by using a stupid name that does it by itself.
I just looked up the National Atheist Party website. Basically, I get what they are trying to do, and with what they are trying to do, Atheist would actually be a better name than Secular.
They seem to be leaning toward the left, and anything leaning toward the left might as well be Democrat. It isn't going to survive on it's own, but hopefully they have a shot at picking up popularity, spreading atheism and hopefully become a more rational, Democrat version of the Tea Party. I can't really see them being anything more than a politically active social group, which I happen to be in favor of, as I explained in my earlier post.
I don't think exclusion of religious people will play a role, and I don't feel having the word atheist in their name will hurt their cause. If they are thinking of gaining nation wide political support, it isn't going to happen anyway, but if they want to integrate atheism into politics by making it a more widely understood and accepted then they might have a shot, and putting atheist in the title actually could help their cause more than hurting it.
The only real problem would seem to be excluding other atheist who might disagree with them politically, but given that atheism has a very strong correlation with liberal/progressive, if they take that stand politically, they won't have much of a problem. As long as they don't swing to far from the center they probably won't have a problem anyway.
Totally agree. I see what they are trying to say with their response, but they are missign the point also. In order to make a change you cannot start by offending and excluding. There are people, even Christians who know that religion is not to be mandated from the government. That is the part that sickens me. How can you mandate a religion that is not even the predominant religion of the world? The arrogance of them to believe their way is the only way because their book says so..I am sure all of them say so..anyway, I digress. I think Secular Party would be a much better name..more inclusive of all non-believers, and "smaller government" types.
Secular party would be fine. I guess my base problem with the National Atheist Party is this: When believers hear the word atheist, they seem to cringe. Since atheism is generally frowned upon by theists, I'd have to say the proper start would be to exclude the word from anything politically motivated to put members in political office. Although I don't particularly believe religion is good in even the slightest sense of the word, I also understand that it will never fully leave society. For this reason, things will never be accomplished when the general public distrusts us as a general minority. The first step is to prove them wrong on all basis' that they have established as general stereotypes. Once you can get that out of the crosshairs, you can concentrate on really pushing the secular ideals back in government. Like you stated, Ava, the main goal of this type of political party is to promote separation of church and state. In other words and simpler terms: I agree with you.
Ideology is the biggest enemy of America, not religion.
Christianity v. Atheism is a minor issue in the scheme of things. America is dying in a demographic, cultural, economic, and military ditch. On all metrics, the USA is in decline. China is becoming the superpower. Quibbling about abortion, or what we teach our kids in school is a minor issue.
What America needs is a new political party that protects America's identity and power from being lost in the demented ideology of borderless globalisation and one-worldism (which in reality will just balkanise and cripple America, leaving China to rule the world).
So if someone like Pat Buchanan (a Christian) started a party, I'd vote for it in a flash - if I was an American.
But my ideal party would not identify as Christian or Atheist, but identify as American first and foremost, and give each other the freedom to live and let live within an overarching shared identity.
I find it difficult even to belong to local Athiest groups since there really is nothing we have in common other than we don't believe in something.