My purpose of writing this piece is to give insight on how atheist organizations operate in challenging atheist Republican representation. The lack of representation contributes to the politically skewed image of the atheist community that currently exists in the United States, where many Americans assume that all atheists are registered Democrat or independent and all Republicans are driven by religion.
In July of 2017, I was in contact with Washington D.C.-based advocacy group Secular Coalition for America who, according to their website, “represents the interests of atheists, humanists, freethinkers, agnostics, and other nontheistic Americans.”
Secular Coalition for America was excited to learn about Republican Atheists, a group that is developing a platform for atheists and agnostics who are registered Republican. The organization extended an invitation to me to write an article about Republican Atheists and said it would be published on their blog, which I agreed to do and appreciated.
I was in contact with a representative of Secular Coalition for America for months to produce an article. He provided guidance on topics to write about as well as editing recommendations.
I submitted a first draft and was asked to re-write the article in a different tone. Okay, that’s fine. I took the time to re-write the article and re-submitted. After a few edits I was told the article was good to go to be published.
By now it was early September 2017. After a few weeks I received an email stating that the article did not rub a board member of Secular Coalition for America the right way and was asked to re-write the article again!
By this time I had invested hours of my own time into this article and did not want to invest more time into it. Who knows if they would even publish the third draft? I found another secular organization that agreed to publish the article. I told the representative of Secular Coalition for America I found another publisher and he said great! He did not even extend an offer for Secular Coalition for America itself to mention Republican Atheists in some other form.
So when atheists talk about how an atheist Republican is an “oxymoron,” keep in mind there is resistance from atheist organizations in presenting Republican representation which skews the political image of the atheist community. This is a set back for the atheist community and US politics as a whole.
Lauren Ell is President of Republican Atheists. She is a business owner, consultant, marketer and communications strategist. Contact Lauren Ell here. Follow Republican Atheists on Facebook and Twitter.