Hopefully, the AA board will pick someone who can lift up the organization and make it truly relevant again — someone who can cut through the problems of the past.
If you’re thinking about applying, though, you may want to consider a few questions unique to the position:
- Are you ready to never have a job again?
- Can you handle the hate mail?
- Are you ready to subject your family (or future family) to this position?
- Are you prepared to represent atheists in the media? Previous president Ellen Johnson had appeared on Larry King Live and Paula Zahn Now to name a few major shows. Whether you like it or not, you will represent the voice of atheists. Your every word will be picked apart by the atheist blogosphere and other bloggers. That’s a lot of pressure.
- What form of atheism will you espouse?
- How will you work with other atheist organizations?
- Are you ready for comparisons to Madalyn Murray O’Hair?
If you ever leave this position, the title will remain with you forever: You were the leader of an atheist organization. While discrimination is not legally allowed, it will surely play a role when future bosses consider whether to hire you or not.
If you’re running an atheist organization, the hate mail and Bible verses and conversion attempts are going to come regardless of your demeanor. Are you prepared for this?
The hate mail writers won’t just go after you. They’ll go after your partner and your children. They went after PZ’s family during his Great Desecration ordeal.
Or let’s say you don’t have a family.
How do you think it’ll go over when you tell your date what you do for a living…?
Militant atheism or Friendly atheism?
Sue everything in sight or pick your battles?
Anti-religion or pro-atheism?
Atheism-or-bust or why-can’t-we-all-just-get-along?
Some atheist groups work with each other in a cooperative manner.
Other groups shun this idea and try to brand everything with their own name as if the “atheist movement” were some sort of competition.
Regardless of what you think about the founder and first president of AA, you will inevitably be compared to her — this could be good or bad. She embraced her title of “The Most Hated Woman in America.” How would you react to that type of title?
Who’s up for the job?
Who would you like to see in the position?