The deadline to submit policy proposals has ended for this session. Only one proposal, a change to the Party name, was received. In the last session membership voted to change the threshold of votes needed for a name change, from a super majority of 90% to 75%. There have been three suggestions for an alternate name for the Party.
1:) The American Secular Party
2:) The National American Party
3:) The United Party of Diversity and Reason
Submissions and Rationale:
The American Secular Party
Rationale: Why is this proposal necessary? In light of name change suggestions and the desire to once and for all determine will of members, I offer this suggestion for a vote as superior to other suggestions.
Evidence: Supportive links and/or citations: Court of public opinion
Rationale: The United States government is a secular democratic constitutional republic. So it only makes sense that there should be political parties for Democrats, Republicans, and Constitutionists. But we should also have a party for Secularists. We do not have an independent libertarian green tea government. So those names shouldn’t even be parties.
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. We 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 –dispite 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 Constitution party, the Green party, and even the Pirate party.
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, preferably one associated with an apple.
The National American Party
Rationale: The National “A” Party…What’s in a name? Yes, the discussion for changing of name of the Party has been brought up…again. At first I was avidly against it, even though it was the National ATHEIST Party that affirmed my Atheism. It made me stand up for my Atheism and to not only believe in it, but to want to profess it to the world. And though I had been a non-theist and an activist against the dangers of religion for several years, I became an A-theist when I joined the NAP. I truly wanted then and still do today, to remove the negative connotations associated with that word. It needs to be spoon-fed to the believers of this nation that have hi-jacked our Constitution and violated the very ideals our forefathers worked so hard to make a reality…only to have it subjected to the myths of bronze age men for the next 200+ years. So successful have they been that we as Atheists in the 21st century are the most distrusted (yet fastest rising) minority in America, yet I believe as you we are what is necessary for changing this world.
So we are going to stand our ground and say “We are going to make you like the word ‘Atheist’ DAMN IT!”
No matter what… right?
Hmmmm… I thought so too for a while, but after going to the Reason Rally and speaking to other Atheists, Theists, and various Secular & non-Theist groups over the last few months, I began to understand a little more what Sam Harris was talking about in his speech about “The ‘dangers’ of Atheism.” I began to ask myself what is it that is so important about keeping the word “Atheist” in our name? Is it REALLY that important? Is it so important that we ignore a great many who would side with our cause (and already do) INCLUDING many Atheists if but only the name were different? Do we ignore the lack of support that we have gotten over the last almost 2 years from big names and celebrities that might be not only willing to join our cause but to throw some much needed funds our way if but not for the name? Are we so attached to the word and the name that we willingly gamble with time until we ‘prove our point’? Why? I think we have already accomplished this. We have already proven much and we have already been more successful and gotten further as the National Atheist Party than many thought we would including us! We have beaten the odds my friends! But, if we are to be truly successful in the long run and in utilizing the best of the ability of our members who are anxious to get into second gear; then I think and feel there is only one option.
It seems after much thought the only rational choice in this matter is to accept a slight change in the name of the Party. And even though I am making this proposal, I must admit however that I still have mixed feelings. Of course we want to deal with the stigma associated with Atheism, deal with the persecution, the lack of reason and the infiltration of religion (specifically Christianity) into our government and our very way of life…BUT, that which we stand for as an aspiring political party that hopes to change the world is NOT “Atheism” per se, but rather the ideals of Americans and life on this planet as a whole. Think about it, the NAME of the Party is NOT what is important here, and bottom line, if you believe in what we stand for it wouldn’t matter if we were called the “National Naked Party”, our purpose would be no less necessary and I would be no less dedicated…would you?
We need to take what Sam Harris states as a “philosophical and strategic” position on this matter. I understand that for some this is a personal issue, but that is just it, this should not be a “personal issue” when it comes merely to the name of the Party. Your name being different would not change who you are and as such we should not attach ourselves to a name and especially not the word “Atheist”. I LOVE being an Atheist, but it is NOT who I am. It does not speak for where I come from or what I stand for. But there is a word that could, and one I believe a vast number will believe in as well…which I will get to in one moment.
All who have not watched the video with Sam Harris on “the dangers of Atheism”, I humbly request you please take the time to do so…it explains my position perfectly: “We (Atheists) are consenting to be thought of as a marginal interest group.” – Sam Harris
There is also a recent video from Bigthink and Neil deGrasse Tyson called “Atheist or Agnostic” that deals with this matter as well and to which I agree with all the way up until he talks about the “reasons why Atheists gather”…but it’s worth watching.
There is another word that many are having trouble with as well. Sadly, I believe the word “American” that was once great has almost become a ‘bad word’ of sorts throughout many parts of the world, including right here at home. Americans aren’t as proud to be “American” as they once were. I think we could not only help bring some much needed respect to politics, as is one of our intentions, but help people feel like proud Americans again. This is what I have come up with as I think would solve a great many problems and include a great many MORE people.
For many, Atheist or otherwise, their concern is the word “Atheist” as we have found out. But I believe there is a word no true American can really argue with, and no matter what we call ourselves from here on in we will always be known as being created by Atheists. We would still be primarily backed, supported, and composed of Atheists; there would be no doubt of that. But by calling ourselves a name we can all agree on, we will be accepted by the greatest number of those we hope to represent & serve.
By fighting to defend the name we end up wasting time fighting about the wrong things. We need to focus on what is TRULY important here and get more Americans behind us, and it is neither the name nor the word “Atheist” that is important. So let’s call ourselves something so that it will never be an issue again, well…to us anyway…
We are not “elephants”, we are not “tea”, we are not “green”, and we are not “asses”…
Therefore I propose an immediate change of the name to the “National AMERICAN Party”, or still the “NAP” for short. Now before you say “No”, think about the benefits of calling ourselves this and let us examine the pros and cons shall we?
1. As I stated, it is time to bring respect back to the “American” and we can justify this to far more people at this time than our noble attempt to bring due respect to the word “Atheist” no matter how just our cause. It is a word that far more can relate to and will want to be a part of.
2. It will actually benefit the Atheist agenda by encouraging more to speak out more concerning how our government was always intended to be secular.
3. Membership would increase, support would increase, donations would increase, and we would be accepted by & gain the backing of MANY more secular groups…yet we would still…be…us. We would still promote the same agenda, the same platform, the same morality, the same ideals, the same hopes, dreams, respect, reason, logic, and love. Yet, we would be able to do it BETTER.
4. It stands to reason more candidates would be interested in running on our ticket & more celebrities and high profile individuals would be interested in supporting us. I personally know of one very well off gentleman who would most likely support us if only our name was different.
5. The publicity from doing this with the intention behind it, I believe, will be exceptional. Not to mention that it is inevitable that many will object to the correlation between being “Atheist” AND an “American” which will generate even more publicity.
6. We can still ask the same questions of candidates such as “What will you do for the Atheist voter?”
7. We also would not have to change our acronym!
1. No doubt some hardcore NAPers will be upset, but I believe the new members we would gain will far outnumber the existing members we might lose over something as simple as a name change.
2. Granted we will have to change our logo on a few things, but I believe by doing it now it will not only make the transition easier, but it will make the first NAP merchandise collectors’ items. Other than that I can think of no valid nor logical reason to retain the name as is except for nostalgia and personal emotion. I make this recommendation for the betterment of the Party that I have dedicated the last year of my life to and so that we might further our cause by expanding our membership and support and therefore the very causes we all stand for. This is a “win-win” situation for the Party and for this great nation as a whole and I do hope you will all consider the logic and reasoning behind this proposal so that you might vote for an official change of name to the “National American Party”, and I thank you all for your time.
The United Party of Diversity and Reason
Rationale: Why is this proposal necessary? – The name change is more inclusive and will help grow the party numbers.
Evidence: Supportive links and/or citations – Membership who have voiced their opinion on this subject previously and external push back to the National Atheist Party name.