Secular activists across America were in for a major let-down on Wednesday when the National Atheist Party (NAP), a progressive political movement intended to give non-believers a grander voice in government, cancelled its upcoming secular convention. The startling announcement, especially considering atheists' continued push for power and prominence, was made on the organization's web site.
TheBlaze first told you about NAP in January 2012; IRS documentation shows that the organization was originally filed with the government in September 2011. NAP is registered as a 527 political party (a non-profit that cannot specifically support candidates — only issues) that is believed to be the first of its kind in American history.
It was founded by Troy Boyle, a 45-year-old corporate legal representative and is centered upon the core beliefs that there is no God and that secularism is a viable path for national social and political progression.
NAPCON2012, the political party's massive convention, was scheduled to take place in Boston, Massachusetts, on October 5 and 6. It was supposed to be a monumental event that was slated to embrace these very sentiments. And following the Reason Rally, an atheist Woodstock of sorts this past March, it appeared as though the movement was poised for monumental growth.
While non-believers may still be poised for "theological" and political prominence, Boyle's group, which was present and involved with the Reason Rally event, appears to be fizzling -- at least in the moment. On Wednesday, he delivered sad news for the movement.
"Big dreams at the founding of an organization must be abandoned or modified to suit reality," he wrote. "NAPCON 2012 was supposed to be our biggest and best public event; our chance to show the U.S. that we could fund and organize a large, noteworthy and impressive 'Secular Summit' that would attract media buzz and even more interested members and donations."
Boyle said that accomplishing these goals isn't possible at this time. Admitting that "the donations simply aren't there," he said that the NAP would go bankrupt if the group continued with the event as originally planned. "Our eyes got bigger than our belly," he said, citing the line his grandmother once told him. But finances aren't the only problem.
"Suffice it to say that too many critical players have backed out of the event, and too few donations and sponsors have committed to supporting it," Boyle continued. "Whether that is our failure to market the event properly or we simply didn’t have enough seed money to insure its success is moot."
All hope isn't lost for atheistic enthusiasts, though. Despite being "disappointed and disheartened," Boyle pledges in the statement to pour more time and energy into the NAP's 2013 convention. He also promised to reimburse any individuals or groups that have already donated to the cause.