United We Stand
The United States does not reflect the reality of the rest of the world, due to religion being so invasive in our government and her politics. We can still be a leader in the world without our reliance upon the Bible and its discriminatory teachings. This belief system does not reflect the 21st century and certainly does not embrace the secularist stance upon which our Constitution was founded. We have been witness to this intolerant, fascist, conservative movement, hell bent on turning the clock back to the dark ages, for far too long. We need to take a stand and we need to take a stand now, because our government and our secular way of life is under attack. We can no longer afford playing the game of politics in the usual way, because the stakes are way too high for all of us!
My name is Mark Smith and I am a Co-founder and the Administrative Vice President of the National Atheist Party. I am a progressive, liberal, political activist, who happens to be an atheist. An atheist is one who has a lack of belief in God and/or supernatural deities and atheism is the value of reality and truth no matter how unpleasant reality may be. Atheism also stresses that I take responsibility for my life. Atheism is not about religion and we have allowed theists to define us and take our humanity out of our atheism, because of our lack of belief. In a much larger context, atheism is about making decisions based on fact, observation and scrutinizing evidence, being reasonable and open minded to the new possibilities of where science can lead us and secularism as a whole concept. This is what atheism is to me in the larger context and what it needs to become in all of our conversations. It is a stance that shares all of my humanistic values, not just one. My lack of belief is a value to me, because it states that I am a reasonable person who values basing my decisions on facts. My values revolve around my atheism and none of these values are based on mythological beliefs. There is no way I can separate my values or my humanity from my atheism and I refuse to try any longer.
My lack of belief demands that I take responsibility for my actions and I cannot escape the mistakes of my decisions. As an atheist, I do not have the luxury to blame my problems on the devil or on God, because my problems are the result of the choices and decisions I’ve made. I have the responsibility to learn to cope with my problems and what life has to deal out in realistic terms and in real time. I have the choice not to play the victim, although I may have been victimized. I choose not to be a victim of my own making or of circumstance, because within me is the innate ability for altruism and ultimately, forgiveness. Altruism is the natural instinct, the root if you will, that links all of humanity together and human beings have evolved with this capacity and ability to care for one another. It is the basis of our ethical and moral attitudes and it is more than obvious that some have a greater capacity for altruism than others. Love, joy forgiveness etc…, all spring from our ability to empathize with each other. Altruism is the root of empathy and our species was caring and respecting one another long before the man made concept of God. Having said this, my atheism demands that I treat my fellow human beings with respect and to care for them, because it is the natural thing to do.
As an atheist, there are no set rules of dogma to follow, nor are there any rituals. This is the practice of religion and atheism is the LACK of these things. Atheism is not a system of belief in and of itself, because there is nothing to believe in. I choose to believe in humanity, because that is what’s real to me. Another atheist may or may not believe in humanity for whatever their reasons are. It is their choice and there is no rule book to instruct them otherwise. People can play all the semantic word games they like and try to distort the argument all they want, but it does not, will not change the fact that atheism is not a belief.
I support the Constitution, which includes one’s individual right to practice religion. But I also support the absolute division of church and state as JFK did and I take a strong stance that religion of any sort, has no place in our government, or its politics. I look back into history, and I see the devastation that had been wrought upon humanity by the grace of God and I for one, cannot allow history to repeat itself. I have been compelled to act, because I see the real threat of ‘Fascism upon my door step wrapped in the American flag and carrying a cross’ (Sinclair Lewis 1935). I am a citizen of these United States and I support a secular government and society that is inclusive of human and civil rights for all that embraces our diversity as a whole. Diversity is our strength, not our weakness and I do not tolerate discrimination of any kind. My values embrace the philosophy of Secular Humanism and this is the path I feel humanity needs to embrace. Our government and its politics need to embrace this philosophy, for it is the heart beat of our constitution and its people.
My fellow cofounder, Troy Boyle and I, are deeply grateful for all of the efforts of the secular organizations who have been fighting to protect our rights over the years and you have been an inspiration to us. It is very obvious to us now that we, as freethinking people, need to organize in a much more unique and direct way. The time has come for all of us to seize the moment and enter the political ring, as an official political party. No matter what philosophical differences we have, what brand of atheism or secularism we aspire to, our goals are united in our commonality. Our bond is supporting and defending the Constitution and the vision of our forefathers, who created our country amongst all of their vast differences. The Constitution is a call for our humanity to unite and stand together, in spite of our differences.
I appeal to the more tolerant, liberal people of all religious faiths and all you who are of a secular mind to stand united with us, as we posture ourselves against the tyranny of the zealots who look to dismantle and destroy our constitution. I appeal to all of you who recognize that our goal is not to take away your right to practice religion, but to defend your right. I appeal to all of you who recognize that our goal is to support and defend the constitution, the 1st Amendment and the separation of church and state. Let us stand together with integrity, as one people of like mind and one loud voice trembling the halls of heaven declaring, United We Stand.
Co-Founder/ VP National Atheist Party
“All courses of action are risky, so prudence is not in avoiding danger (it’s impossible), but calculating risk and acting decisively. Make mistakes of ambition and not mistakes of sloth. Develop the strength to do bold things, not the strength to suffer.”
— Niccolò Machiavelli
*Mark Smith resigned from the NAP November 2011 due to health reasons.