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Aug 01 2012

Serious political question for atheists

What do you rational guys and gals think about political contributions on blog sites? There are advantages and disadvantages obviously. For one thing I don’t ever want readers feeling like they’re just a piggy bank. And it could backfire; opponents of candidates we support might use that support as political ammo against the recipients for taking godless money. There are other concerns as well.

The upside: the reality is I don’t believe we will ever be heard above the din, much less see our political desires even remotely considered, if we individually kick in ten or twenty bucks onto an anonymous webpage. But when I’ve delivered just a few hundred dollars raised from a mere couple of dozen people, that campaign took notice.

9 comments

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  1. 1
    qbsmd

    Like everything else, the answer is “it depends”. If the blogger is trustworthy and starts up a charity dedicated to a specific cause then promoting that charity on the blog is probably okay. Pointing someone to another organization, e.g. the FFRF, is also okay. The way you phrased the question also leaves open the possibility of a blogger collecting money personally, without a registered charity, who could then donate to whatever causes he or she wished (not just the cause mentioned when asking for contributions), or just keep the money.

    I would like to see more atheists run for public office. I think it would be useful if atheists interested in running for local offices set up blogs and collected money to run campaigns.

  2. 2
    Stephen "DarkSyde" Andrew

    LOL, believe me, I wouldn’t really want to be in charge of the money. That sounds like risky unpaid work to me.

    If his ever happened it would probably start out simple, adding 0.17 cents to the contrib as a blog sig for example, if it ever grew beyond a few hundred dollars maybe a third party admin or a cmte of FTBer’s of some sort could keep an eye on it, i.e., it would be above board, legal, ethical, all that stuff.

  3. 3
    Trebuchet

    But when I’ve delivered just a few hundred dollars raised from a mere couple of dozen people, that campaign took notice.

    I’m afraid I find that somehow troubling. If contributing only a few hundred dollars gets you noticed by the campaign (and by extension, by the candidate), what does donating thousands or millions get you?

  4. 4
    mostlyharmless

    It seems like this might be a great place for an existing organization, like the Secular Coalition for America or FTB itself, to step in and help. They could setup a system for collecting contributions for particular candidates and delivering them as a bundle. This would also allow fundraising campaigns throughout the secular/atheist/skeptic/etc. blogosphere to be organized. I think this could be especially effective in state and local races, where a few hundred or few thousand dollars would be noticed, and could make a difference, especially by candidates predisposed to be on our side. In my opinion, this is where we need to start anyway. Get people elected to minor positions at the beginning of their career and help them as they rise in importance. This is the tactic that the religious right used, very successfully.

  5. 5
    michaelboys

    Wouldn’t you be better off linking to an existing Internet bundler unless you were looking to specifically make a statement that non-believers support a candidate?

    I’m not sure where non-believer support would help. Maybe in a couple of years, but today?

  6. 6
    usingreason

    I’m afraid I find that somehow troubling. If contributing only a few hundred dollars gets you noticed by the campaign (and by extension, by the candidate), what does donating thousands or millions get you?

    You get to core out the candidate and use him as a sock puppet.

    Seriously though, despite the recent polls I don’t believe that an outspoken atheist will be elected to any significant posts soon. We will need at least another generation growing up and voting before that will happen; and some of the Baby Boomers dying.

  7. 7
    Jordan Genso

    I think the FTB network should encourage members of this community to run for office, even if atheists are unlikely to win the election. And so if you were raising money for the campaign of an established contributor to the community, I think it would be a great idea, and it would negate the threat of their opponent using the source of the money against them (since the opposition will probably already be using their atheism against them).

    So the money will probably be donated to losing campaigns, but that should not matter. If we ever want the public to be accepting of an atheist political candidate, every campaign (regardless of whether it is victorious or not) can help bring us closer to that goal (unless the candidate themself reflects poorly upon the community).

    I would gladly contribute to a campaign through the blogs here.

    *Disclaimer: I was planning on running for state office this cycle, but was not able due to a change in residency, but I still have plans for a future campaign.

  8. 8
    arno

    Joint donations from atheists to liberal-christian politicians who actually can win office reminds them that there is a source of votes and money they can lose by pandering too much to the right, hence could be a small measure against the drift-to-the-religious-right.

    Donations to campaigns of atheist (but otherwise viable) politicians help to demonstrate to the public that just because a candidate is atheist does not mean she supports to institute ritual baby sacrifices paid by tax payer money. Repeating this sufficiently often should reduce the stigma of atheist politicians enough to make them electable.

  9. 9
    cycleninja

    I agree with M. Genso at #7: it’s exposure as ordinary, good people that will prove to be the difference. It’ll have to come gradually, at the local and state level first, to get people used to the idea that an atheist isn’t the same as a satanist, or whatever.

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