Atheists should not be organizing as a political party.by Don Lacey on Oct. 05, 2012, under Abortion, Arizona Families, Art & Culture, Atheism, AZ Politics, Campaign 2012, Conservatism vs. Liberalism, Critical Thinking, Economics, Education, Environment, Ethics, Evolution, Faith, Freethought, Fundamentalism, Gay Marriage, God & Bible, Government, Libertarianism, Logic, Materialism, Mormonism, Power of Prayer, Question of the Day!, Reason, Responsible Government, Sanity, Science, Separation of Church & State, Supreme Court, Willful Ignorance
Last night, a small subset of the Tucson Atheists met in the Fronimos restaurant. Tucson Atheists hosts quite a few meetups. We have a diverse membership and it makes perfect sense to have many different kinds of meetings. Last night’s meeting is called, “Caffeinated Godlessly.” It is held every other Thursday and the current venue is Fronimos, a Greek restaurant, where the food is good, reasonably priced, and they have a nice area for discussion.
The subject of the meeting was, “Should Atheists be organizing politically?” The organizer is Nancy and she kicked off the discussion. Apparently, there is a new political party called the National Atheist Party. Nancy wanted to find out from those attending if it is a good idea to have an Atheist political party. Gregg, an occasional contributor to this blog, has been checking into it and was familiar with the organization. Most of us at the meeting were not very familiar with the specifics which is why the question was posed to be more general than, “What do you think of the National Atheist Party?”
After the requisite discussions about the meaning of Atheism, a frequently debated question in our group, we started kicking around the positive and negatives of organizing Atheists politically. There were some fundamental discussions such as:
- Would you vote for a poorly qualified candidate simply because he or she is an Atheist?
- What would we feel about a “National Christian Party?”
- Are we defined by our Atheism?
- Is there anything wrong with an elected representative taking governing guidance from an invisible entity?
As I mentioned earlier, we are a rather diverse group. We tend to think independently and the discussions were lively. Yet, as heated as the discussions were, everyone left the meeting with the full intention of returning in two weeks. Many of the discussions were continued in the parking lot. No one stomped off and we continued an ad hoc meeting with respect and camaraderie. Amazing!
The closest thing to a result is that most felt that the National Atheist Party may not be the best idea but we would still like to see more Atheists in office. The question of Atheism is very narrow and Atheists are all over the map politically. The difficulty becomes apparent as soon as the political party starts building a platform. Each plank that doesn’t relate specifically to the Atheist question will not be universally accepted and cause minor divisions. In some cases, people will reject the party entirely if it takes a controversial position and all positions other than the “god” question are controversial in the Atheist community.
There are existing “secular” organizations that we should support such as: The Secular Coalition for America, the Secular Coalition for Arizona, the Freedom From Religion Foundation, and the Americans United for the Separation of Church and State to name a few. There are many more. Most of us are not defined by our Atheism but it is part of who we are. Finally, there were some strong feelings about our elected representatives taking guidance from invisible (or imaginary) entities.