Atheism & Politics – Troy Boyle

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To the American people,

My name is Troy Boyle and I’m the President and co-founder of the National Atheist Party. In March 2011, I had just watched an interview with Richard Dawkins wherein he expressed frustration at the fact that atheists in the U.S. had never organized or exerted their political will. Seemingly content to remain closeted or to participate in the politics of parties that didn’t represent their interests, U.S. atheists until that time had no options. In fact, since the founding of the U.S., no party had ever represented atheists’ unique vision of a secular nation governed by tolerance and reason. Mark Smith and I picked up the gauntlet that Dawkins threw down and, as of March 11, 2011, the National Atheist Party was born.

Atheism and politics may seem at first glance to be uneasy partners at best. Nothing could be further from the truth. Atheism is a world-view that encompasses politics, because it is a world-view centered on evidence-based conclusions and the use of reason and rationality to solve problems. Throughout the history of this great nation, time and time again, reason and rationality have been abandoned for problem solving methods based on irrationality, fear and religio-centrism. The current popular rise of the “religious right” is a manifestation of this wholesale abandonment of hundreds of years of progress and scientific thought. Atheism embraces science, progress, and social ethics and this is reflected in the platform of the National Atheist Party.

A common criticism of the establishment of our party is that atheists are assumed to be so iconoclastic and divergent in their political beliefs that finding or creating consensus among them is impossible. We have put the lie to that assumption by establishing our platform democratically. A member-wide vote was taken after the presentation of the complete spectrum of possible responses to most of the hot-button issues of today. Topics like abortion, separation of church and state, budget and environmental policy were presented without bias, and members were free to choose from positions of extreme conservatism to extreme liberalism. We wanted to know the truth of U.S. atheists’ political positions. What we discovered is that atheists are largely center-left politically, and socially progressive. I was surprised and pleased to see so much agreement, and am proud to present our platform to the American people.

Another criticism that we receive on a near-daily basis is our choice of the word “atheist” in our party name. “Why not the Secular? Or Humanist? Or Freethought Party?” we are often asked. The reason is simple: we are redressing a great wrong. Atheists have been marginalized, ignored, ostracized, even persecuted and killed in U.S. history for the simple fact of being realists who reject the superstitions of the religious majority. For this “crime” we have become the most hated minority in the United States. It is time for that prejudice, that intolerant and misinformed hatred, to end. We are proud to wear the label “Atheist” because it is who we are. It does not imply that we wish to make the United States an “atheist nation.” In fact, we want a United States that conforms exactly to the vision of the Founding Fathers: a diverse, secular nation in which government plays no role in its citizens’ beliefs.

Our party is founded to oppose the religion-based and biased public policies of those who would like to see the U.S. government change from the secular government envisioned and enacted by the framers of the Constitution into a theocracy no different from the prevailing governments of the Middle East. We must not allow that to happen. America’s great strength is its diversity and secularity. The tolerance for all views, both theistic and non-theistic, while ensuring that government neither endorses nor prohibits either, is what makes America great. It is the very engine that drove the Industrial Revolution and the Information Revolution. It is the reason that the U.S. dominated the fields of Science, Medicine and Technology for decades. Under the current sweeping anti-intellectualist movement spearheaded by the fundamentalist elements of the Religious Right, that primacy is threatened. Progress cannot flourish in a nation shackled by religious dogma.

Troy Boyle
President & Co-Founder -National Atheist Party


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