Over the past few years, atheist activists in America have been seeking to increase their political power. While the Secular Coalition for America, an organization that lobbies on behalf of non-believers, has been successful at the state and federal levels in advocating for atheist causes, another group, the National Atheist Party, has hit some roadblocks.
After launching the group more than two years ago in an effort to create an electoral structure that represents non-believers, the coalition has now announced that, effective August, it will be changing its name to the Secular Party of America. This evolution comes after the NAP, which claims to represent 3,100 non-believers across America, experienced perceived internal turmoil and funding problems.
In March, co-founder and former president Troy Boyle unexpectedly resigned, spawning an odd statement from the NAP that was published on its website surrounding Boyle and the organization’s power structures. Clearly, the leadership, based on this press release, was experiencing upheaval.
Following these setbacks, the name-change was announced on Monday on the NAP’s website. While exact numbers aren’t given, the statement claims that 77.6 percent of the NAP’s participating members voted to change the name of the organization (a 75 percent “super majority” is needed to pass such a measure).
This isn’t the first time the organization has changed it’s name though. Before it was the NAP, the group was called the “Freethought Party.” It wasn’t until 2011 that the NAP label stuck and now, two years later, there’s yet another new name for the group emerging.
Overall, the new title is billed as being much more inclusive.
“We are certain that not only is the new name far more inclusive of a greater number of Americans that share our vision of true separation of church and state, but that it will open the door to those that may not have joined us if for no other reason than because ‘Atheist’ was in the name,” said Bernard “Flash” Kellish,, who serves as vice-president of public relations and marketing for NAP.
“We were created by atheists as a way to be a hereunto unrepresented voice in politics and have been very successful,” he added.
The NAP is hopeful that with the name change, the group can move forward and gain respect. But that’s not the only goal. Additionally, Kellish claims that the change in name will potentially enable the organization to create a “worldwide network of secular organizations.” Indeed, other atheist groups around the world that use “secular” in their own names are endorsing the more inclusive change.
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