Focus on secular values, history of religion in the U.S., and moving forward within the current religio-political climate
More than simply a gathering of those with similar secular ideals, it challenged its audience to consider how to move forward, not just as atheists and secularists, but as a political force that respects the belief system and goals of American atheists, secularists, free thinkers and those of faith who wish to resurrect and protect America’s secular government.
Keynote speaker and Washington Post contributor, Jamila Bey, host of Sex, Politics and Religion (SPAR) with Jamila Bey, put it bluntly, “America is in need of critical thinking, reason, and rationality. The National Atheist Party is asking that these virtues be brought into our politics to replace the religiosity that’s too often present.”
Atheists and secularists have been fighting an uphill battle for political recognition. “We can no longer afford the luxury of just critiquing religion. We must tell our alternate story so that those contemplating change know there is an alternate worldview that can support, inspire, and comfort them,” said Michael Werner, former President of the American Humanist Association and an adjunct faculty member of the University of Chicago.
He echoed Ms. Bey’s thoughts, “The humanist life-stance is based on values, not our beliefs, where open-minded critical thinking, science, justice, freedom, tolerance, democracy, compassion, human rights, inherent worth and dignity, and human flourishing hold our web of belief together.”
The NAP was formed as the numbers of the non-religious are growing (“the proportion of Americans who say they are religious has fallen from 73% in 2005 to 60% in 2011” – the Economist) and is filling the need for direct political representation.
Ms. Bey continued, “This convention was a wonderful celebration of the grand potential of government and citizenship as the founding fathers intended. Secular Americans are the fastest growing segment of the country’s ‘religious’ population, and the NAP is addressing the needs of some 20% of U.S. voters who don’t like being legislated to under the guise of religion.”
San Francisco’s own David Fitzgerald, author of Nailed: Ten Christian Myths That Show Jesus Never Existed At All and The Complete Heretic’s Guide to Western Religion, was more effusive in his thoughts about the convention.
“I was so jazzed and honored to speak at the very first NAPCON convention – my fellow speakers and entertainers were amazing, and I got to hang out with so many fantastic people. Can’t wait for the next one!”
Other speakers included defender of Separation of Church and State Jessica Ahlquist, Atheist video blogger and evolutionary activist Aron Ra, “Cult of Dusty” creator Dusty Smith, world-renowned author, philosopher and professional historian Dr. Richard Carrier, and NAP’s founder and President, Troy Boyle.
ABOUT THE NATIONAL ATHEIST PARTY
The National Atheist Party is a non-profit, 527 political organization devoted to issue advocacy and guided by the values of secular humanism and evidenced-based reasoning. The party seeks to politically represent U.S. atheists and all who share the goal of a secular government by gathering the political strength of secularists nationwide.