While I am proud to be associated with the National Atheist Party, that name is in conflict with our core value as atheists. Because we are among the greatest defenders of the separation of church and state, we know that perspectives on religion should not be politicized. Atheism should no more be equated with a political party than the Christian party or the Muslim party. None of us can speak for all of us, and as a collective, we really don’t have much in common. Politically we’re all over the place. But most of us share a perspective with secular citizens who are not without religious beliefs, but who keep their positions on religion separate from their politics. That is how it should be.
I have heard many atheists express discomfort at having the words, ‘atheist + party’ stuck so close together. However some secular Christians have ignored that label and joined our party anyway –despite the implied exclusion- simply because they share our secular values. Thus it seems to me that to continue calling this an atheist party is both inaccurate and hypocritical.
I suggest that we should be a genuinely secular party, THE Secular party. I believe that naming ourselves thus will give us more influence on both sides of the ‘aisle’ -as it were. Those with or without faith can be comfortable in sharing in the idea that policies of state should be humanist regardless of religion. I believe the Secular party will not only draw disillusioned Democrats and repulsed Republicans, but we will also likely garner members currently with the Green party, because we who are already involved in this party are environmentally-conscious and progressive.
Currently the National Atheist Party acronym is N.A.P., which gives the image that we’re all inactive or asleep. From what I’ve seen this hardly the case. Ken Loukinen, national director of American Atheists says that if we were to call ourselves the American Secular Party, the acronym would be A.S.P. He then suggested that our symbol should be an asp, a snake, and preferably one associated with an apple. 🙂