After a patchy couple of years that have seen a canceled convention and the resignation of its president, the National Atheist Party has decided to forge ahead with a new identity it hopes will be a little more inclusive:
[VP of Public Relations Bernard “Flash” Kellish] said, “… We are certain that not only is the new name far more inclusive of a greater number of Americans that share our vision of true separation of church and state, but that it will open the door to those that may not have joined us if for no other reason than because “Atheist” was in the name. We were created by atheists as a way to be a hereunto unrepresented voice in politics and have been very successful. We will miss the old name but now it is time to move forward and focus on being a viable and respected political party. We hope to make a worldwide network of secular organizations.”
The organization is a 527 group, meaning they can advocate for issues (like church/state separation) but they cannot support individual candidates.
As for the name change, I’m not personally convinced it’ll change much of anything, but I’d love to be proven wrong. There will eventually be a time when politicians will vie for non-religious votes, but at the moment, groups like SPA and even individual atheists aren’t really on their radar. If SPA can change that, more power to them.
Before you dismiss them for even existing, consider this: One of the best things the NAP ever did was ask candidates for public office how they would represent their atheist constituents. If their members could do that (on video or in writing) across the country — before all major elections — that would be a major shift in how atheists are discussed in the media and how we’re perceived.
Atheists don’t like to be lumped into categories, but it’s safe to say most of us are socially liberal and interested in the separation of church and state — and politicians who agree should be fighting for our votes.
If the Secular Party of America took a lead on that front, and got candidates to state (on the record) what they would do to advance the atheist agenda, I would sign up to become a member in a heartbeat.