Article XI: National Atheist Party Platform
With a cognizance of our national security, an awareness of the scientific community’s research into global climate change, and a desire to create new jobs, we must as a nation bring to a halt our national dependence on fossil fuels and foreign oil. To this end, we call for a “Manhattan Project” or “Apollo program” level of national commitment and research into green energy solutions.
Another drain on our economy, that has so far yielded poor results with no abatement, is the “War on Drugs.” This party recognizes that the criminalization of drug use stems from a position grounded in religion. Free adults should be able to enjoy recreational drugs, provided that they do not abuse them in public or in a destructive manner. Therefore, the NAP advocates decriminalizing the use of drugs and instead find reasonable alternatives of taxation and regulation, creating jobs in the drug sector and eliminating vast drug cartels.
Balancing the budget is important, and finding programs among the Federal departments that can be downsized or eliminated is a difficult task. However, some programs, due to their nature as a lifeline for the disadvantaged, should never be cut. The NAP does not consider programs that contribute to the social welfare of our least wealthy citizens to be eligible programs for elimination.
For 55 years from 1933 to 1988, the US suffered no major banking collapses or financial crises. But in 1980, with the repeal of key provisions of the Glass-Steagall regulation along with other regulations, Savings and Loans were once again able to take undue risks outside the long-term public interest. Peaking in 1988, the US Savings and Loans crisis was the first major collapse of US financial assets since the great depression. But damage done by deregulation wasn’t finished. In 1999, another major provision of Glass-Steagall, which prevented commercial banks from acting as investment banks, was removed. Nine years later, due to a massive demand for commoditized, high-interest, mortgage assets resulting from this deregulation, the US and world economy collapsed under the weight of the worst economic crisis since the great depression.
In short, we need a return to the kinds of regulations that protected our economy against the worst market excesses and manipulations. Dodd-Frank did not go far enough and we are open to further and worse collapses unless we re-establish sound banking and investment policy. The NAP calls for the reinstatement of the Glass-Steagall Act.
It is no secret that bureaucracy is expensive. We demand a comprehensive review of all government departments with an eye toward identifying wasteful practices and appropriate level of spending. The traditional policy of “spend-down” – in which each department tries to spend its entire budget each fiscal segment, in order to justify receiving more money in the next – shall be halted.
In many states across America worker rights, collective bargaining, and labor unions are under attack. Labor Unions were created to ensure better wages and benefits and were responsible for creating the middle class. Many people all across the US are fighting to abolish labor unions. This leads to lower wages, benefit cuts, and trampling of employee rights. To stabilize our economy, it is necessary to stand with working Americans and support labor unions and worker’s rights to collective bargaining, along with, majority card check recognition of unions and reasonably punitive consequences for employers in violation of Labor laws.
Jobs are created when innovation occurs. There is no argument or question that this is true. All of our modern technological conveniences, from LCD and LED display technology to studless tires and athletic shoes, have been developed as spin-off technologies from NASA. The lesson is clear: investment in advanced technology reaps huge economic rewards. This party advocates an unprecedented level of funding be earmarked for NASA and the biotechnology sector.
Photovoltaic energy conversion, or solar cells (another spin-off from NASA research), has enjoyed a renaissance over the last couple of decades. The energy output and sensitivity of the technology has increased dramatically. The NAP believes that the alternative energy industry, or “green energy”, is an untapped source of jobs. If a national mandate for alternative energy research and installation in existing homes and businesses would create jobs and revitalize the economy.
C) Social Security/Medicare
Social security is a safety net that millions of our senior citizens have depended on for years. Established by President Roosevelt in 1935, social security programs have helped Americans weather the worst times with hope and dignity. The NAP feels that legislation should be passed to protect Social Security from the threat of privatization or surcease.
As a corollary issue, the NAP strongly recommends that Medicare, rather than continuing to exist as a separately funded and maintained benefit, should be absorbed into a new Universal Health Care system.
D) Health Care
Health care for the wealthy has long been considered a luxury. Plastic surgery and elective procedures help to paint this picture of health care as only being in reach of the few. The NAP believes that proper health care – care which extends the useful life and comfort of patients – is a right - not a privilege. We support an amendment to the Constitution or other legislation that recognizes health care as a basic right universal to all citizens.
The NAP, in concert with Planned Parenthood, the Women’s movement and other groups, recognizes that pregnancy is a profound physical change and that the ultimate decision to proceed with a pregnancy or to terminate it rests with the individual woman. Government should play no role in deciding such an individual choice. It is our position that legislation inhibiting a woman’s right to choose is based on religious concerns of morality and conception, and does not reflect the scientific community’s consensus of when a fetus can be said to be an independent organism.
F) Gay Rights
The rights that we extend to our citizens are not dependent upon the majority position of those citizens. In fact, “rights” are designed to protect minority positions from the unfair oppression of their members by the majority. As such, the NAP feels that the time is overdue for the recognition of the GLBT (gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgendered) community as citizens, with rights protecting them from being targeted by those who disagree with their sexual identity. We call for a Constitutional amendment recognizing the rights of the GLBT, alongside other distinguished characteristics like race, creed, and national origin.
Further, we demand that marriage between consenting adults of any sexual persuasion be legalized and recognized by all fifty states. Civil union should be afforded the same rights and tax advantages as traditional marriage.
GLBT citizens have had a very hard time in this country. Intolerance, ridicule, outright hatred, and violence prompt the NAP to call for a determination, by act of Federal Law, that violence directed toward gays, lesbians, bisexuals and transgendered citizens shall be deemed a “hate crime” with attendant severe punishment.
The NAP is deeply concerned that divisive religious indoctrination and religiocentric policies are being taught in this nation’s public schools on a daily basis. Reports of teachers pressing their religious views onto their captive audience are common. Hidden faith-based organizations are going into our schools and advocating behavior from a religious perspective while actively hiding their religious affiliation, in order to get around laws prohibiting them from doing so. Our classrooms are a melting pot of traditions, national origin and creeds and it is wrong for any one religion to have a stranglehold over the minds of diverse children. We support the idea that any school that receives Federal funding should diligently screen the external organizations that present services to our children, and that teachers who proselytize their religious views should be removed from teaching entirely.
The United States is a nation of immigrants. Multiple waves of European immigrants, documented and undocumented, have contributed to the “melting pot” of this nation. The U.S. is currently experiencing a large influx of documented and undocumented immigration from Mexico and other places. Many of these workers are paid “under the table,” and many more pay into a system from which they will never see a benefit. The National Atheist Party believes that the current system of Immigration policies is deeply flawed. We move for a relaxation of Citizenship Qualification Standards, and a liberal border policy allowing workers to come and go as they please. Current laws stipulate that children born of undocumented citizens are de facto U.S. citizens, and we see no reason to change that policy.
We recognize that the right to bear arms is a traditional part of America, and we support Americans’ Second Amendment right to own and use firearms. But we also believe that reasonable regulation is important in a country where we have seen so much gun violence. The NAP wants to work toward closing the “gun show” loophole, reinforce our background check policies to include a longer waiting period, and a mandatory use and safety course for each first-time gun buyer.
The environment is a major concern of the National Atheist Party. We only have one world and are not going to be resurrected into a better one, so we are committed to the idea of doing whatever is necessary to ensure that this one is managed properly by human industry. The NAP supports subsidies granted to “green” industry, in the form of both government investment and tax incentives, while penalizing those industries that would ignore the detrimental effect that they have on our shared environment.
As stated above, we also support the development of an alternative energy infrastructure, a robust endeavor that encompasses research and development, job creation and mandatory deployment of green alternatives. Concomitant with that strategy, restrictions should be placed on logging companies to treat the environment in a respectful, sustainable manner. “Clear-cutting” – the practice of completely denuding a section of our vital forest lands, without replanting or “fixing” the soil, will be considered a Federal crime.
In addition, the NAP would devote a substantial budget increase for those research firms and scientists that are developing real-world strategies for the reduction or elimination of the release of greenhouse gasses, in order to combat the reality of global climate change. The human element contributing to climate change is well documented by the scientific community, and the NAP joins responsible organizations worldwide in calling for an immediate halt to those activities that exacerbate this dire and emergent problem.
Nothing can be more difficult than changing an entire way of life. From automobiles to heating our homes, the U.S. is completely dependent upon fossil fuels. Fossil fuels have driven the global economy for close to two hundred years, but no consumer of fossil fuels has ever been as hungry for them as the U.S. There is a steep price to pay for this reliance, however, the burning and refining of fossil fuels, by the U.S. and other oil-producing nations, is a major contributor to climate change and the continued release of greenhouse gases. Additionally, inflation and other economic indicators are directly tied to the price of oil. The NAP supports the idea that our dependence on fossil fuels MUST end. Alternative energy solutions, like nuclear, solar, wind and water energy must be researched and brought to the fore to combat that dependence. Hydrogen and other as-yet-undiscovered solutions must be sought and implemented. The NAP supports tax incentives and federal grants as a measure to incentivize this research and development. The NAP asks the Federal Government to immediately ban the licensure for construction of new electric power plants powered by fossil fuels — coal, oil, or natural gas. Power companies must turn to nuclear power or alternative energy sources.
L) Tax Reform
Some solution must be found to level the playing field and halt the widening gap between the rich and poor in the U.S. Further, it has become increasingly obvious that savvy accounting and creative legal acrobatics have made it easy for massive corporations and the U.S.’s wealthiest citizens to avoid paying taxes entirely. The NAP calls for a sweeping review of tax laws and a simplification of implementation such that a fair tax shall be levied against all citizens and corporate persons without “loopholes.” In addition, as a bold statement of fair play, the NAP moves to rescind the tax-exempt status of all church activities that are unrelated to charitable activity. Church organizations should be as transparent to review and audit as any other business, and should pay income taxes, property taxes and use or excise taxes on its traditionally taxable activities. Churches shall be treated as any other for-profit business, when a profit is being made.
M) Legal/Tort Reform
While wasteful and frivolous lawsuits are a legitimate concern because of the potential to subtract resources that could be directed toward more useful purposes, tort reform, as currently pursued, is a corporatist attempt to take fundamental freedoms from individuals and put them in the hands of government and special interests. The right to a trial by jury is an inviolate right of American citizens. Mandatory arbitration and damage caps subvert the oversight of judges and juries who are directly hearing the facts and arguments of a case; instead, the decisions are made by politicians and special interest lobbies. As a result, such reforms are not only unethical; they are also a violation of separation of powers as articulated by the Constitution.
Further, tort reforms in states have failed to produce any significant benefit for consumers as promised by those pushing the reforms. The myths created by tort reform advocates do a grave disservice to many injured and traumatized individuals. Researchers estimate that despite all the talk of frivolous lawsuits, less than three percent of injuries caused by medical malpractice lead to a court case.
N) Campaign Finance Reform
The political process is supposed to be one in which every citizen of worth and backing can have an equal chance to promote their candidacy. The reality is that only millionaires, with millions of dollars of campaign funds can reasonably win. The NAP supports a cap on campaign contributions such that ALL candidates have access to advertising and transportation costs, but that no one candidate enjoys limitless resources when others are spent bankrupt trying to compete.
While the NAP recognizes that corporate person-hood is a useful legal fiction for contracts and other legitimate business purposes, corporations should not be entitled to protection under the Bill of Rights. NAP supports an amendment to the U.S. Constitution affirming that corporations are not entitled to the constitutional rights of human beings.
O) Security/ Defense
The NAP along with many Americans, are tired of the U.S. providing troops for seemingly every military action, worldwide. It is time that the U.S. stopped being the worlds’ policeman. We support the notion that the U.S. military should remain in a state of readiness, to respond to domestic threats or when one of our allies is attacked. Along with that thinking, we feel that a review of open bases worldwide should be conducted and those bases without a clear strategic need should be closed. Likewise an audit of domestic bases and assets should be conducted, with concomitant decommissioning of non-performing assets.
P) Foreign Policy
During the Bush administration, the U.S. saw its popularity decrease worldwide while overseas engagements with our military forces increased. In order to move forward in a peaceful and responsible manner, the NAP believes that the U.S.’s role in U.N. Peacekeeping missions should be reduced and eliminated entirely when possible. The U.S. should modify its role to an advisory position and only field troops in a dire emergency of last resort. For too long, we have spent taxpayers’ money and the lives of our young men and women in support of conflicts that may have been diplomatically solved.
The U.S. is in a deficit position with foreign economies like China and Japan. To combat this, we support a leveling of the playing field by de-incentivizing the movement of manufacturing overseas and imposing a fair tariff on imported goods. Our focus now should be on debt reduction.
The National Atheist Party believes in the U.S. Constitution, and in the wisdom of the Founding Fathers who wrote it. These great men had the foresight to erect a wall of separation between church and state; a wall that has been eroding for many years. In the 1950s, the phrases “In God We Trust” and “Under God” were added to our paper currency and our Pledge of Allegiance, respectfully. It is our position that such language forces Americans to recognize the existence of God. When the pledge is recited, especially by children, it gives the impression that the U.S. itself ratifies the existence of God – an act and a stance that is unequivocally prejudiced and athwart the cherished traditions of the U.S. We move for the restoration of both the pledge and our currency to their pre-1950s incarnations and are in support of repealing “IN God We Trust” as the national motto and from use on currency and official documents.
In all cases and in all ways, the NAP moves for a strict interpretation of the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment. While we do not wish to inhibit anyone’s practice of the religion of their choice, we do not want government to engage in the practice or the perception of engaging in the practice of promoting any one religion. To that end, we seek to strip churches, synagogues and mosques of the tax exemption status they now enjoy, and to increase the transparency of Church-filed annual reports. Churches receive numerous donations, and these donations must be declared in their entirety so that proper income taxes can be applied.
R) Organ Donation
Organ donation can save a life that would otherwise end in tragedy. Recognizing this, we believe that the parents of a recently deceased child should be given full authority to donate the remains and help others who are less fortunate.
S) Constitutional Matters
The National Atheist Party calls for the reinstatement of the “Fairness Doctrine” under which authority news outlets were required to present a balanced view of all matters affected by party affiliation and political polarization. Although today’s proliferation of media outlets, including the Internet and other electronic news sources virtually guarantees that any viewpoint can be heard, a cursory examination of primary national news outlets shows an increasingly biased and polarized reporting atmosphere. Reinstating the Fairness Doctrine, especially in a modified form that accounts for the growing number of independent and electronic media outlets, would restore the level playing field that has been missing from the post-911, hopelessly partisan news media. The NAP strongly supports the re-institution of this much-needed legislation and petitions Congress to introduce legislation leading to its reinstatement.