What was the purpose of the ads? Here is Dave Silverman, President of American Atheists.
“Presidential conventions are for ideas, not ideology – platforms, not platitudes,” Silverman said. “If a person believes stupid things, we have every right to question his or her judgment, and that directly impacts how the nonreligious voter votes.”
I am no expert on politics, but it seems to me that presidential conventions have always been about ideology, ideas, platforms, and platitudes. But let’s put that to the side. Silverman seems to have fallen into the trap, typical among so many leaders of organized atheism, of thinking that the United States is a post-theistic society. It’s not and it’s delusional to think otherwise.
Since the U.S. is not a post-theistic society, what is the point of the ad? It’s not like the attendees at the Democratic National Convention are going to say, “Wow, I was going to vote to nominate Obama, but after seeing that American Atheists ad, I guess I had now better nominate an atheist instead.” Likewise, I don’t think this ad is going to have any impact on how nonreligious voters will vote. I think many pragmatic atheists believe that nonreligious voters do not have the luxury of choosing a viable nonreligious candidate for President: most will vote for Romney or Obama.
From a marketing or public relations perspective, it’s hard to see how these ads accomplish anything positive for atheism. As far as I can tell, all they do is create the impression that atheists are rude.