• Atheists Did Not Deliver!

    1452008_10152405467706570_4218894346193106364_nYesterday was Election Day and atheists had a rare opportunity to send a powerful message to the political system in the United States of America. There was a candidate in Arizona’s 5th congressional district who was an open atheist. This was our chance and atheists did not deliver.

    Let me set the stage here. Arizona-5 is a solid Republican district and James Woods is an unabashed progressive. He is blind and an open atheist. To call him an underdog would be an understatement. However, he did run an amazing campaign. When I say that his campaign was amazing that too in an understatement.

    Here were the stakes. An open atheist is running for congress and the media is always asking if atheists can win in politics. If the greater atheist community got behind James Woods and atheists from around the nation donated to his campaign and flooded the media in support of James Woods, it would have sent a powerful message.

    The results are in. He lost the election along party lines getting 32 percent of the vote to 68 percent according to his campaign’s press release. That was expected. It would have been awesome if he had beaten the registration and it would have been downright miraculous if he would have won the race outright. However, in politics it is all about the money and atheists did not deliver the money.

    According to OpenSecrets.org, Republican Matt Salmon raised $890,479. James Woods raised $52,488. The Woods campaign press release has stated that he had 517 unique donors nationwide. Think about that for a minute. 517 people donated to his campaign. Now ask yourself, how many atheist friends do you have on Facebook? How many atheist followers do you have on Twitter? If every one of them just donated $5 to the James Woods campaign, he could have closed the money gap. That would have shown the media that he was a real competitive candidate. That would have completely changed the dynamics of the race. Not only that, but it would have proved to the national media that atheists can at least raise money and unfortunately this is really what national politics is all about.

    James Woods will not be the last openly atheist candidate to run for political office. Next time we really need to get behind that candidate. Yeah, yeah, I know just because someone is an atheist doesn’t mean you should vote for them. But let’s be real here; currently in America if you are an open atheist running for political office you will almost certainly be a progressive who values reason over faith, science over superstition, and education over indoctrination. I’m going to go out on a limb here and say that if you are an open atheist in America you probably agree with a progressive candidate over a rightwing religious zealot.

    With that said, let’s learn from our mistake. Let’s admit that we did not deliver for James Woods who ran an amazing campaign. We let him down and we let down this entire nation and the world. We need to do better. The next time an open atheist runs for office, let us get behind his or her campaign by donating a few dollars. We can show the nation that when an open atheist runs for political office, every atheist in the country has their back. We are a voting bloc to be reckoned with.

    There were 30,000 atheists at the Reason Rally in the rain. If every one of them had donated $30 to the James Woods campaign, he would have out raised his Republican opponent. That would have really made a difference even if he still ended up losing the race by party lines. If we want a more secular government build on reason and logic, then we need to do the work to get it. There are no gods to pray to. We can’t just sit there and hope for reasonable people in politics. We have to put them there. We have to do the work, support, and fund reasonable people into office.

    Category: AtheismAtheist ActivismfeaturedHumanismPoliticssecularsecularismSeparation of Church and StateThe Media

    Article by: Staks Rosch

    Staks Rosch is a writer for the Skeptic Ink Network & Huffington Post, and is also a freelance writer for Publishers Weekly. Currently he serves as the head of the Philadelphia Coalition of Reason and is a stay-at-home dad.