Atheists and humanists hope to increase their influence in politics with the launch of the Freethought Equality Fund, a new political action committee for nonbelievers.
“When people see respected ethical humanists and atheists serve in public office, this will begin to dispel many myths about nonbelievers,” said Bishop McNeill, coordinator of the new PAC that was launched Wednesday (Sept. 18).
The mission of the PAC is to grow the ranks of open humanists and atheists in public office at all levels of government. It will also seek to elect people who support the separation of church and state regardless of their personal beliefs, said Maggie Ardiente, director of development and communications at the American Humanist Association.
On a larger scale, the new PAC reflects a long-term strategy among nonreligious activists to increase their profile in Washington; last year the Secular Coalition for America hired Edwina Rogers, a veteran Republican lobbyist, as its executive director, in part to open doors on Capitol Hill.
The PAC was launched by the American Humanist Association’s Center for Humanist Activism; it’s the first nontheist PAC to have full-time paid staff and start-up funds.
A 2012 Pew study reported that one in five Americans do not claim any religious affiliation, an increase of 5 percentage points during the past five years.
“Our patriotism is suspect, our value system is dismissed and the more we come out of the closet in certain communities as people who don’t happen to believe in a god, the more we observe new limitation in our business opportunities and in public life,” said Ardiente, referring to prejudice against the nonreligious. “Most of all, these voters want respect and equality for nontheists in the United States.”
Roy Speckhardt, executive director of the American Humanist Association, called nonreligious Americans “one of the largest minorities in the U.S.”
“But you’d never know it from our organized numbers or political power,” he said. “It’s time for that lack of representation to change.”
Where do I send my money? Where do I send my money? WHERE DO I SEND MY MONEY?
Here, here is where we can send out money.
We are going to make such GREAT politicians by the way.
We LOVE science, support public education, believe in the Constitution, and respect the rights of the religious.
No seriously! Just so long as they don't try to impose their values on to us, or our children that is.
In short we are going to make an incredibly valuable addition to our political landscape.
Man I love 2013!