After being banned from formally participating at last year’s conference, American Atheists reach out to political conservatives at CPAC 2015.
Jamila Bey, American Atheists board member and a Washington, D.C.-based writer and radio host, spoke on the main stage during the Thursday (Feb. 26) morning session of CPAC 2015.
She is believed to be the first atheist activist to address CPAC’s annual meeting.
Bey said, in part:
Today I stand before you not just as a fellow conservative, I stand before you as a member of a growing Republican family that has inherited a new generation of potential leaders with millions of voters that we cannot afford to ignore. The law is change or die.
Over the past few years, I’ve had the opportunity to work with American Atheists. More recently, I’ve become a very proud board member of this organization. And, through this course, I’ve seen many of our youth, many of our peers, who, while different in worldview, strongly uphold the values of our conservative family. These people are an essential component of our growing electorate. We ignore them to our peril.
Embrace me. Let me vote for GOP candidates. If you can’t cast me out for my race or for my gender, you can’t cast me out for my different private beliefs. We all want to work for a greater nation.
Last year American Atheists was banned from formally participating at the 2014 CPAC conference after American Atheists President David Silverman made televised remarks some conservatives found offensive.
About participating in CPAC 2015 American Atheists President David Silverman said:
Our message is simple: Atheists matter. We’re returning to CPAC to make it clear that conservative does not equal Christian. The core principles many conservatives value—fiscal responsibility, individual freedoms, small government, low taxes, a free market—have nothing to do with the issues crusaded for by the religious right. Conservative lawmakers push away millions of atheist voters who want a responsible, small government and a free market, but can’t and won’t support religiously motivated laws that make our government bigger and more personally invasive.
Danielle Muscato, American Atheists Director of Communications, said:
Our politics have been dominated for a long time by religious, and especially Christian, influence. The best way we can show freedom for everyone is to have a religiously neutral secular government, and that doesn’t mean an anti-religious government. It’s a huge step for atheists to show that political conservative and religious conservative are not the same thing.
However, some believe atheists should not support American conservatives for any reason, given the strong association of American conservatives with Christian extremism and the theocratic impulse. In fact, atheist CJ Werleman has written a book explaining why Atheists Can’t Be Republicans: if facts and evidence matter.
The CPAC conference began Wednesday and concludes Saturday.