Four questions were posted and answered on October 5, 2012 by Don Lacy on the Tucson Citizen’s blog, “Freethought Arizona” concerning a-theistic involvement in politics. Specifically, if we need the National Atheist Party.
These are good questions and have been asked by many before wondering about a-theistic politics and the National Atheist Party’s role. My response is not coming from my position with the National Atheist Party (Assistance Missouri State Leader), but as a political commentator (Columbia Missourian), consultant, and activist. In other words, as an individual.
Some explanations are needed about the political makeup of the atheist, agnostic, Freethought and Skeptic communities; we are not all liberal, progressive, socialists, or, as some have suggested, communists. We are definitely not the Devil incarnate out to destroy the Constitution.
Ours is a community of diverse political beliefs and thoughts. Many of our communities are political liberals, but many are conservatives as well. Some will vote with the Democrats, some with the Republicans, some with the Libertarians, and some will stick with Ron Paul no matter what. (I tend to stick with the late Pat Paulsen.)
Ours is a community whose feelings towards religion are also quite diverse, ranging from “all religion is bad and must be stopped now,” to those (including myself) who believe that if someone wants to believe in a mythology, that is fine; just do not force that misguided belief on others.
Ours is generally a community that believes in social justice, the rights of all people to live without fear of the government outlawing what happens in our bedrooms, or if two persons of the same sex wish to get married.
Most of all, we believe that the Constitution of the United States is a secular document and religion has no place within its meaning, intent or ideals.
We believe that the United States was not founded nor is currently politically a Christian nation, though the majority of our citizens claim anyone of the over 200 Christian sects as their beliefs.
With that said, these are my responses to the four questions posed by Mr. Lacy.
- Is there anything wrong with an elected representative taking governing guidance from an invisible entity?
Yes. For me this is no difference than with a person with multiple-personality disorder, or as defined in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5) a Dissociative Identity Disorder, asking his or her alternate personality how our armies should be deployed, how our economy should be managed, or if Gremlins should be permitted to fly on the wings of a Boeing 767.
I do not mind if that representative believes in her or his mythical god or gods, as long as that person is not trying to force their beliefs on others through the legislative process, executive order or other means. I would have the same problem if a person with DID would legislate what his alternative personality is requiring.
Case in point. Living in Missouri, I started my evaluation of our two 2012 senatorial candidates, Rep. Todd Akin and Senator Claire McCaskill, on somewhat equal footing. However, I found Mr. Akin’s position on women and women’s rights so appalling that I will actively campaign against his election. I do not completely agree with Ms. McCaskill’s centrist positions, but do side with her more often than not.
- What would we feel about a “National Christian Party?
There are also those who belong to the “religious-right” organizations who may not be 501(c)(4) organizations, yet maintain a great influence in the Christian political communities and our legislator as lobbyists. These include Focus on the Family, the Alliance Defending Freedom (formerly Alliance Defense Fund), the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, Family Research Council/FRC Action, and dozens of others.
I appall their efforts to deny the intent of the First Amendment and to have Christianity buried deep within American law and government.
I am appalled when I am told I am not a true American because I do not share their mythologies.
I am appalled when I am told that the American Christian nation movement is different from established Islamic states simply because they are Christian.
A national party representing a-theists is long overdue to counter the Christian political machines with their undue influence of our government. To counter the religious based abuses we have seen in the past in America and overseas.
- Are we defined by our Atheism?
For me that answer is “Yes and No,” as most, but not all, Christians would define themselves. I believe my Secular Humanism helps define my politics concerning social issues. I believe that my atheism allows me to be appalled when a political candidate or legislator flaunts religion as the basis of their own political qualifications. I believe it is my understanding of science and mythology that allows me to be see the threats from the forces seeking to establish their mythology into our public education system as science.
Yet my political views, as noted above, are not based on my a-theistic positions alone. There are many issues where my a-theistic attitude has nothing to do with my political affliction.
- Would you vote for a poorly qualified candidate simply because he or she is an Atheist?
Not just “no,” but “Hell NO.”
As all who are actively affiliated with the Democrats, Republics, Libertarians, Green Party and others do not fully agree with their party’s position, I would never expect all a-theists to agree with the purpose of the NAP. I certainly do not.
Though the NAP is relatively new and small, they are becoming the much needed political voice for those who feel that today’s political parties are somehow leaving them outside in the cold.
For these reasons and others, I believe the NAP and other secular focused political organizations need to be supported.