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by
Bridget Johnson

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February 25, 2014 - 12:49 pm

This morning, American Atheists announced the group would have a booth at the Conservative Political Action Conference beginning March 6 in Washington.

“‘Conservative’ isn’t a synonym for ‘religious’,” said American Atheists president David Silverman in a statement announcing the booth. “In fact, a fifth of conservatives seldom or never pray, and the same number state religion is not important in their lives.”

“If conservatism doesn’t embrace religious neutrality, its influence will wither and die,” Silverman said. “Atheists are a growing constituency—an increasingly united constituency—and conservative legislators ignore our vote and our voice at their own peril. We demand equality and fairness—nothing more—which is the very foundation of American values. Imposing religious dogma on its citizens should not be the role of the small government advocated by conservatives.”

They were even prepared to offer a free one-year membership in American Atheists for anyone who stopped by the booth.

Just a few hours after the story was out, CPAC rescinded the group’s booth approval.

Silverman said he received a phone call from American Conservative Union Executive Director Dan Schneider informing him “that the ACU board is breaking its agreement to permit American Atheists to host an information booth.”

The atheist leader said Schneider told him the reason for the dis-invite was the “tone” of a quote he gave to CNN: “The Christian right should be threatened by us.”

“This is exactly the problem. The ACU, which has invited CPAC speakers such as Rush Limbaugh, Ann Coulter, and Sarah Palin, is afraid of my tone? My ‘tone’ was clearly an excuse to back out after our press release angered religious conservatives,” Silverman said.

“Continuing to conflate religion and conservatism is not a viable strategy; this was apparently too scary for CPAC attendees to hear,” Silverman said. “America’s religious conservatives can deny it all they want, but soon they’re going to realize that ignoring the growing number of atheist constituents is a losing proposition.”

He said that a member of the American Atheists board met with CPAC organizers in the weeks after their registration, and their  input “was well-received and the atmosphere was positive.” He added that the atheists were even suggesting CPAC speakers and other engagement opportunities.

Silverman said they still want to come to the conference. “We still want to attend CPAC. If the ACU will invite us to exhibit as previously agreed, we will be there to talk about the importance of religious equality,” he said.

Brent Bozell of the Media Research Center, who has previously accused CPAC of destroying the conservative movement, said “the invitation extended by the ACU, Al Cardenas and CPAC to American Atheists to have a booth is more than an attack on conservative principles. It is an attack on God Himself. American Atheists is an organization devoted to the hatred of God. How on earth could CPAC, or the ACU and its board of directors, and Al Cardenas condone such an atrocity?”

Bridget Johnson is a veteran journalist whose news articles and opinion columns have run in dozens of news outlets across the globe. Bridget first came to Washington to be online editor at The Hill, where she wrote The World from The Hill column on foreign policy. Previously she was an opinion writer and editorial board member at the Rocky Mountain News and nation/world news columnist at the Los Angeles Daily News. She is an NPR contributor and has contributed to USA Today, The Wall Street Journal, National Review Online, Politico and more, and has myriad television and radio credits as a commentator. Bridget is Washington Editor for PJ Media.

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Top Rated Comments   
How many times have we walked this road...

Atheists don't want or need a forum. Being an atheist is 'being...without God.'
It isn't being AGAINST God.

Consider the absurdity of being against a thing or condition that, in your mind, doesn't exist, on that basis alone.

Consider being against polka dot chimpanzees or...SAYYYYY...global warming.

So, what do the people who call themselves 'atheists' (but that word misses the mark) really want? They want something for nothing. They want money and recognition and power as recompense for something that they say they don't believe in. They've been studying the victimology handbook and understand that the time is as good as any to stake their claim of oppression, unfair treatment and exposure to cooties.

Like most 'causes,' it's a hook.
39 weeks ago
39 weeks ago Link To Comment
If rights don't come from a Creator then they are but privileges and there is not much use in pretending they are unalienable to all hence there is not much point in pretending to be a conservative.

A skeptic who sort of instinctively knows that these rights exist but can't quite get his mind around as to where they are from should be most certainly welcome but then he wouldn't be demanding a booth to tell the rest of us that we are idiots and that there is no point to what we are doing, now would he?
39 weeks ago
39 weeks ago Link To Comment
“If conservatism doesn’t embrace religious neutrality, its influence will wither and die,”

That sentence itself is bald-faced lie. Atheism, by definition, is not "neutral". It's an active denial of the existence of God. If that's what you believe, more power to you (and good luck). But don't try to play the innocent victim to a big, bad Christian bully lobby.
39 weeks ago
39 weeks ago Link To Comment
All Comments   (136)
All Comments   (136)
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Why do religious conservatives want to diminish their numbers? They can't win by themselves. See http://clarespark.com/2012/09/22/materialist-history-and-the-idea-of-progress/. The notion that "atheists" are all "against God" is a veiled form of anti-Semitism and anti-Protestantism. Are we still fighting the English Civil War?
38 weeks ago
38 weeks ago Link To Comment
"Silverman said they still want to come to there conference." There? There? That is more than just a typo. This is the problem with all modern and online media: too 'effin cheap to hire copy editors. And both sides gripe about "slipping standards." In the bad old days, I would have been fired from my newspaper had I let that slip through.
39 weeks ago
39 weeks ago Link To Comment
You know, Charles Manson took a Dale Carnegie course too.
39 weeks ago
39 weeks ago Link To Comment
Hallelujah!
39 weeks ago
39 weeks ago Link To Comment
How many times have we walked this road...

Atheists don't want or need a forum. Being an atheist is 'being...without God.'
It isn't being AGAINST God.

Consider the absurdity of being against a thing or condition that, in your mind, doesn't exist, on that basis alone.

Consider being against polka dot chimpanzees or...SAYYYYY...global warming.

So, what do the people who call themselves 'atheists' (but that word misses the mark) really want? They want something for nothing. They want money and recognition and power as recompense for something that they say they don't believe in. They've been studying the victimology handbook and understand that the time is as good as any to stake their claim of oppression, unfair treatment and exposure to cooties.

Like most 'causes,' it's a hook.
39 weeks ago
39 weeks ago Link To Comment
Um...you just made the other guy's case. I think that anthropogenic global warming is ridiculous. As an anthropologist (my BA) I have studied the development of humanity over the course of several climatic changes and this looks no different. Welcome to the Holocene, the glaciers used to come down to Florida and the Med used to be a river...things change. I am not "against" anthropogenic global warming because it is a figment of the left's deluded imagination.

I AM very much against the crap they want to write into law to stop it, as their legitimizing authority (climate models) are pretty clearly fictitious.

An atheist might well be exactly as annoyed by any law, argued from what they would consider the fictitious authority of a deity, but quite open to "Thou shalt not murder" if the case was made without recourse to the divine.
39 weeks ago
39 weeks ago Link To Comment
Okay, let's try this. A true atheist isn't going to be put out when somebody makes the right law for what they consider to be the wrong reason. Happens all the time to everybody. As they say in some quarters, 'it was so and so's turn in the barrel.' Any time an argument is going in your favor, take the favor.
"Thou shalt not murder," for example. If you read the quote, the atheist group wasn't simply looking for a seat at the table. They were going after
Christian believers. Nobody is above playing the victim card. Why not think about how to make common cause with people who don't precisely share your orientation but, in many respects, share your conclusions. You don't have to embrace God at all. Speaking as an atheist for many, many years, I never had cause to belittle or bemoan the Christian mind set if it was rational. And let's face it, God or no God, the idea of 'the whole of existence' is just a cosmic absurdity, the ultimate free lunch whatever its origins.
38 weeks ago
38 weeks ago Link To Comment
Um...when I have time I'll get back to you. Maybe tonight.
39 weeks ago
39 weeks ago Link To Comment
You have a group allowed it to CPAC and they immediately start talking trash about disrupting the conference and attacking members. ACU did exactly what it should have
39 weeks ago
39 weeks ago Link To Comment
I would be suspicious of a group that has tended to tie itself to the left. They would need to show why they ought to be trusted to participate in what is a partisan rally as an allied organization.
39 weeks ago
39 weeks ago Link To Comment
"How on earth could CPAC, or the ACU and its board of directors, and Al Cardenas condone such an atrocity?"

It's not an atrocity, you hysterical ninny. Christians being persecuted and raped and killed by Muslims all over the planet is an atrocity, dingbat.
39 weeks ago
39 weeks ago Link To Comment
Brent Bozell of the Media Research Center, who has previously accused CPAC of destroying the conservative movement, said “the invitation extended by the ACU, Al Cardenas [An Amnesty/Rewards for Invaders senor as I recall, so why doesn't he have a problem with that?] and CPAC to American Atheists to have a booth is more than an attack on conservative principles. It is an attack on God Himself. [This person must think God is a 98 pound weakling. What an insult.] American Atheists is an organization devoted to the hatred of God. How on earth could CPAC, or the ACU and its board of directors, and Al Cardenas condone such an atrocity?”

If we did a good act merely from the love of God and a belief that it is pleasing to Him, whence arises the morality of the Atheist? It is idle to say, as some do, that no such thing exists. We have the same evidence of the fact as of most of those we act on, to wit: their own affirmations, and their reasonings in support of them. I have observed, indeed, generally, that while in Protestant countries the defections from the Platonic Christianity of the priests is to Deism, in Catholic countries they are to Atheism. Diderot, D'Alembert, D'Holbach, Condorcet, are known to have been among the most virtuous of men. Their virtue, then, must have had some other foundation than love of God.
- Thomas Jefferson, letter to Thomas Law, June 13, 1814
39 weeks ago
39 weeks ago Link To Comment
‘Conservative’ isn’t a synonym for ‘religious’,” the group protests.

And they are right (I'm a conservative and an atheist), but that doesn't mean those prancing fools need their own booth. Do Evangelical Lutherans (I was one of those once) have their own booth? Do Mormons have their own booth? Do Scientologists have their own booth?
39 weeks ago
39 weeks ago Link To Comment
Atheists per se are okay. Who am I, as one individual to judge atheist individuals? It's a free country. *Political atheism*, however, sucks big time. You'll find no tolerance in organized atheism. Kind of like Islam. Give them an inch and you'll regret it.
39 weeks ago
39 weeks ago Link To Comment
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