American Atheists Seeks President

American Atheists is looking for a new president (PDF). Applicants have a couple more weeks if they want to apply.

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?
  • 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.

  • Can you handle the hate mail?
  • 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?

  • Are you ready to subject your family (or future family) to this position?
  • 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…?

  • 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?
  • 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?

  • How will you work with other atheist organizations?
  • 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.

  • Are you ready for comparisons to Madalyn Murray O’Hair?
  • 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?

  • sc0tt

    I’d like to see Penn Jillette as the president!

    Does he read here?

  • http://www.atheistrev.com vjack

    How about PZ Myers?

  • http://www.purduenontheists.com Jennifurret

    Eek, how about anyone but PZ Myers? I’d like an activist, but he doesn’t have any tact.

  • http://terahertzatheist.ca Ian

    I nominate Hemant!

  • Amy Black

    I second that nomination!

    Never fear, Hemant! I would date you even if you were the AA president! ;) Lol, I bet that was the only thing holding you back, right?

  • Michael

    Seriously, I think Matt Dillahunty, from the Atheist Community of Austin would be awesome from this job.

  • http://brigno.tumblr.com Brigno

    I second Matt Dillahunty.

  • http://www.heathenz.com Kevin

    So the choices are Matt Dillahunty, Penn Jillette, or Hemant Mehta so far?

    Hrm. I’d be fine with any of these people. However, I think it would be someone with a law background.

    Either way, it’s interesting to see if AA can get back on its feet with a new president.

  • Richard Wade

    Maybe the AA president should have a secret identity. He or she could always appear in public or on the media wearing a mask like a Mexican wrestler and a cowl and use a cool name something like “Probitas.” That would protect his or her private life and family while calling attention to the bigotry that atheists face. The public would become obsessed with who is the president of AA and that is a lot of free publicity. Imagine going on (ugh) The O’Reilly Factor in leotards with a big red “A” sewn on front. (Probably best to pick someone with a good physique.) There’d need to be elaborate security measures to keep paparazzi and Vatican ninja cat burglar spies out of AA headquarters, which would have to be relocated to a bunker converted from an abandoned missile silo. Only a small circle of trusted lieutenants would know the president’s true identity.

  • Ron in Houston

    Hemant really is the obvious choice. I can see him and Rob Bell starting new Christian/Atheist initiatives. I can see him talking about how atheists could actually enjoy meeting Joel Olsteen.

    I don’t know about Matt, but Penn is just not as serious as Hemant.

  • Mythprogrammer

    Vote for me :P

  • Darryl

    I’d like to see Jessie Ventura as the new President. Nobody would be surprised by his announcement, and nobody would dare fuck with him (like that blowhard coward O’Reilly). He has proved that he doesn’t give a damn about bad press.

    Just think of it, the applications to join the AA would come pouring in!

  • Nathan Campbell

    The head of Tucson Atheists, Don Lacy, would be a great person for the job, and a relative unknown. He has leadership and organization skills from both the Air Force and Ratheon, and he’s experienced with dealing issues on a national scale. He is vocal and proactive in his lack of belief, and would be a terrific candidate for the job.

  • http://anotheratheist.blogspot.com muffin

    If I had the experience and education to head up an organization such as this one, I’d love to do it.. Unfortunately I’m 24 years old and still a freshman in college.. (I took some time off due to laziness, then more time off for personal reasons.. Going back in 2 weeks though yay!)

  • http://www.atheistrev.com vjack

    Yes, Jesse Ventura would be perfect. He’s my new choice as well.

  • skathach

    I think Ellen Johnson was a perfectly fine president. She has intelligence, poise, legal savvy, and an excellent media presence. The fact that she was voted out in a hastily organized board meeting while she was completing Bill Moore’s freedom walk indicates to me that the entire thing was not done in a very ethical way. Frank Zindler’s editorial in the July newsletter included a pathetic and passive aggressive attempt to cast personal aspersions on Ellen regarding her honesty. The situation has disgusted me to the point that I’ve resigned my American Atheist membership. There are more ethical atheist organizations out there that deserve my support and membership.


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