Monday, January 2, 2012

2012 and the National Atheist Party

While this is not a political blog and site per se, as part of free speech, being able to connect people and ideas is critically important as we move into the 2012 U.S. presidential race.  In a previous post, I provided a link to the Secular Coalition for America's (SCA) candidate review.   The SCA, being a non-profit organization, cannot endorse any candidate for president or support any political party. However, it can lobby Congress, share information, and can organize those who may be without faith and/or those who see secularism as vital to Constitutional democracy.  

However, what the atheist movement in the United States has lacked, and what has finally come into being, is an organized political party of non-theists which is untangled from the rules governing indirect political action. Enter if you will allow, the National Atheist Party or NAP.  The NAP, like all political parties is organized to endorse and run candidates, has developed a platform, is chartered and is now working in all fifty states to bring non-theist issues to the forefront of political thought and action.  Here is their raison d'ĂȘtre:

We are an American political party, uniquely formed as a true, constitutional movement, reaching out to all who seek a secular government as outlined in the First Amendment to our United States Constitution. Our mission: To politically represent U.S. atheists and all who are drawn to our mandate, in a political process that has thus far marginalized and ignored one of the largest and growing segments of the U.S. population.

The National Atheist Party is a diverse, all inclusive, progressive, secular political movement and a response to the lack of representation for all free thinking people who are legal, law abiding citizens of the United States. We demand emancipation from the religious dogma that has infiltrated our government and has unfairly influenced political decisions and policy making. We are for the people, by the people, and therefore incorporate the right to use the power of  the people to restore equality to our Democracy using reasonable, rational and non-violent means.

The National Atheist Party is open to people of all races, sexes and sexual orientations, and cultures. We are committed to a government free of superstition and bias and are guided by principles of equal opportunity, recognition of merit, and economic responsibility. The National Atheist Party does not seek to inhibit the religious practices or beliefs of any group, but is committed to the idea that religious preference is a private matter and has no place in the government or workplace. We support the separation of church and state, and seek to ensure its strictest interpretation.

Much like the Occupy movements around the world, NAP began as private citizens saw what they believed was an erosion of their human and civil rights by the current crop of elected officials both locally and in Washington, DC. The Party began to organize in an effort to show that atheism is not just intellectual folly or a philosophical point of view. The Party came into existence and has grown simply because their was a void in the political discourse centered around issues important to atheists which was not being met by the groups already in existence to support such causes.

When you consider the lobbying done and money spent by the religious right and left in this country, it is important that non-theists have a direct voice in the political discourse facing the nation.  In 2012, we have candidates pandering their faith to get votes, so it is urgent that fellow citizens know that there are other paths to follow and to become activated so their voice is heard and more importantly that their vote is not taken for granted.

The danger we face is real, sometimes subtle and sometimes quite apparent. It should be noted that other groups are fighting the good fight as well in lawsuits to remove religious symbols from public lands; fighting to ensure our children learn the science of evolution and not theology via ID in biology class; and there are efforts underway to stop the funding of the Office of Faith Based Initiatives, a federal program begun under President Bush and sadly, bolstered under President Obama.

But the conventional wisdom in Washington is that if you are a secularist, humanist, atheist, et al, that you keep this private if you want to survive and be re-elected. While at the same time, religious candidates call upon their god and their faith openly and are lauded for doing so.  The NAP turns these trends on their collective heads and shows those who control the political debate and the funding of national priorities that there are patriotic Americans who are faithless and now activated, they will endorse and run political candidates, and will certainly not go gently into that goodnight.

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