Category Archives: Read the FAQs

What is a 527 organization, and what is its difference with a political party designation by the Federal Election Commission?

Entities organized under section 527 of the tax code are considered “political organizations,” defined generally as a party, committee or association that is organized and operated primarily for the purpose of influencing the selection, nomination or appointment of any individual to any federal, state or local public office, or office in a political organization. All political committees that register and file reports with the FEC are 527 organizations, but not all 527 organizations are required to file with the FEC. Some file reports with the Internal Revenue Service (IRS).

As a 527, we cannot donate or specifically endorse or coordinate with candidates. However, it is the goal to apply for Party status with the FEC once a network of volunteers, base of support, and sufficient funds are established. To this end, the organization is structured and its policies and procedure are that of a political party.

How can I participate or get involved?

There are many ways you can help out. The easiest way to find many of our open positions would be to check out the Available Openings on the NAP website. Contact your state party leadership as well and if they have any needs or openings.

Taking part in our Question Campaign to ask candidates and politicians “How are you going to represent atheist voters?”, to get them on the record is a great way to contribute.

Of course, it is also hard to beat a good, old-fashioned donation.

Sharing information and inviting friends to join is a great way to bring in new members with similar goals as NAP. Attend local atheist and secular Meetups, clubs, and organizations to spread the word and share materials about the National Atheist Party. Some helpful links are SSA chapters, CFI chapters, Meetups, and American Atheist affiliates

I found out about the NAP and have no idea where to go; where should I start?

The very first action you should take is to register as a member of the National Atheist Party and let us know how you are willing to help.  You can quickly and conveniently do this with our handy online Membership Form. You should also join your state chapter, get to know your state chapter admin, visit the main site, and read the FAQ here.

The discussion group on Facebook is located here.  You can ask to join or talk to your state administrator about joining it. This is a great place to debate, stay informed, and meet new members. It would also be wise to like the Official National Atheist Party page on Facebook.  The website also hosts forums where you can engage on all kinds of issues or by state.

Your state chapter admin will keep you informed of the issues and events that are happening within your state; they should be able to answer any questions not listed on here.

Isn’t creating “The National Atheist Party” merely the mirror image of the theocratic politicians it opposes?

Theocratic politicians want to include their specific religion in the government arena – a place where it doesn’t belong. Our party seeks to apply a strict observation of the laws that are already in place, albeit poorly enforced. We agree with the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment and call foul upon those who would violate it. The difference between the law as it is and the theocratic version is vast. The difference between the law as it is and the National Atheist Party’s version is no difference at all, save that the law must be enforced and not allowed to be chipped away.

Theocracy would force one vision of religion upon the nation. The NAP isn’t concerned with what religion you adhere to. We support the free exercise of any religion, provided that it doesn’t violate those common spaces where people of multiple faiths or of no faith must congregate. These places are the halls of government, the public school room, the workplace and the courthouse. All people should be free to worship in their homes, their places of worship, or in public spaces not otherwise regulated. It does not sound like the “mirror image”, unless by “mirror image”, you mean tolerant and ethically correct.

Is this party only for atheists?

No, there is no religious test for membership. The party is open to anyone who applies. We do not reject anyone for any reason whatsoever. We only ask that members engage in consensus building in a civil and respectful way and approve of the Party’s general principles that “We are committed to a government free of superstition and bias, guided by the principles of Secular Humanism, equal opportunity, recognition of merit, and economic responsibility. The National Atheist Party does not seek to inhibit the religious practices or beliefs of any group, but is committed to the division of church and state and that religious preference is a private matter, which has no place in the government or in government facilities.”

Why is this “The National Atheist Party” instead of “Secular” or “Freethought?” I believe in the First Amendment but I’m not an atheist, do I belong here?

We are the “Atheist” party for several reasons, and each member may have varying personal reasons for why the chosen voted upon name is or is not justified.

  1. Atheist is the demographic of the National Atheist Party’s founders and of the voting bloc the National Atheist Party most actively seeks to engage and empower.
  2. There is a bad connotation to the word “atheist”. We want to re-claim the word and make it a positive connotation. Much like the African-American activists of the 50s did with “negro.” They don’t use it now, but it was a necessary first step.
  3. Humanist and Secularist are terms that the public doesn’t understand very well; there is not an immediate understanding that we share a belief that gods, do not exist. Those that will be critical or malign us don’t call Secularists, secularists. When 80% of the population calls you an atheist, you do not empower yourself by adopting what you hope to be a less castigated term, in the hopes of escaping the stigma or placating others by manipulating vague qualifiers.

Since when does not having a belief define you politically?

  1. A rational and skeptical approach to evidence-based conclusions and a belief that morality is not the result of a disembodied authority absolutely do have significant consequences on political discourse.
  2. In the United States, a political party that is honest and does not play lip service to the bedrock constitutional imperative of a secular nation and the separation of church and state (not to mention one that doesn’t try to pander to and manipulate the religious) is of utmost importance.
  3. This party is defined by more than an epistemological stance. Upon review of the Party’s foundational documents and statements, you will see the party’s philosophy articulated. There is a formal charter and platform, which was determined through a democratic membership vote, with which to assess how effectively this party reflects your own political goals.

Why does this party have liberal or libertarian ideas, which some might say have absolutely nothing to do with the atheist identity?

We seek to represent the atheist demographic. We invite and seek any and every atheist or secular advocate to have his or her say and vote on the platform. Our membership voted for the positions on the platform and approval of the Party’s principles through a democratic consensus. The purpose of this organization is to articulate and support the consensus of this sizable voting bloc.

If a person feels they have stronger evidence or argument for differing policy, he or she may support a platform revision that will be coupled with officer elections in March or other membership votes. Anyone unable to accept democratically adopted decisions, will unlikely be happy in any party or political organization that votes on anything.

Just because a person might not agree with everything the democrats have on their platform and you value democracy doesn’t mean you should feel alienated. Just because you might not agree with much of the Libertarian party doesn’t mean you should feel disenfrachised because you value civil liberties. Just because you might not be a “colored person” doesn’t mean you won’t support the goals of the NAACP. Further, it is rare that anyone who affiliates with any party or political organization, such as a 527 that the NAP currently is, will agree with every single aspect of a platform or actions of that group.

There are aspects of the platform I would change, but I am content that I largely support the platform, strongly support atheists exerting political pressure and not being vilified, and am able to accept the consensus view and not expect everyone to share the same views or conclusions I do. Voting and polling clearly demonstrates that a common approach to reality and evidenced based conclusions leads to agreement on a gamut of other issues. We feel it would be foolhardy to not try and determine what this consensus is and seek that it is voiced openly and honestly in the political sphere where the atheist demographic is not represented.

When was the party formed, and by whom?

Troy Boyle and Mark Smith originated the idea for a party which they originally termed the Freethought Party. They began with a few other like-minded individuals with online discussions. After deliberation and discussion, they decided that the moniker “Freethought” was not an honest or meaningful representation of what they hoped to achieve. Many other members argued heatedly that “Freethought or Secular Party” were dishonest, vague, and weakly accommodating.  The official founding of the party was March 11, 2011.

In approximately a month after this decision, Jacob Kramer came aboard as an Education advisor serving on the Advisory Council and as functioning secretary. Susi Bocks came along shortly thereafter to take over the role as Advisory Council secretary and then Deputy Administrative Vice President. A short time later Bernie “Flash” Kellish joined the board as Treasurer. Upon the resignation of Mark Smith, due to personal health issues, Troy Boyle became President, Jacob Kramer became Vice President of Outreach and Susi Bocks became acting Vice President of Administration.

Is there any central or top-level leadership?

policy issues are being formed and headed by members with expertise. These Policy Committees will conduct research, draft policy proposals, and be tasked with educating party membership concerning issues within their domain. Policy proposals to amend the NAP platform will be submitted for consideration and subject to vote by the Executive Board and Advisory Council. Every state will have a similarly structured Executive board as well as District Leaders.

The current Executive Board consists of

President: Troy Boyle

VP of Operations: James Klawon

Acting VP of PR/Marketing: Flash Kellish

Acting Vice President of Outreach: Ryan McCue

Acting Treasurer: Susi Bocks