No ecumenism among atheists 14

Non-feminist women. Anti-feminist women. Republican women. Conservative women. Women for President Trump. Mothers (or, translated roughly into Leftish: Heterosexualist Anti-Abortion Overpopulators).

They exist. Unapologetically, what’s more. Though most atheists in the United States, being on the Left, might be surprised to hear it.

What is not surprising is that Leftists do not invite conservatives or Republicans to their conferences. However, Lauren Ell, founder and president of Republican Atheists, feels that atheism could be a bridge between the godless sections of the Left and the Right.

While we do not expect that hypothesis to be tested, we appreciate her optimism that our opinions might be listened to with forbearance, if not respect, on the other side of the Great Divide.

Impressive Conservative Atheist Women that US atheist organizations continue to ignore

By Lauren Ell

(First published on the website of Republican Atheists. Republished here by kind permission of the author.)

While many US atheist organizations have started focusing on women representation in their public speaking engagements, I can’t help but notice the lack of spotlight on outspoken conservative atheist women who have serious clout.

I came across yet another atheist speaking event while briefing through social media. This event is titled Freethought Alliance Conference and is taking place in California this year. The description said, “We are celebrating Women’s Equality Day by having nine wonderful female speakers from around the country to enlighten and entertain us with new ideas and interesting topics.”

I have noticed that female speakers have become a “thing” at many atheist speaking engagements across the United States since social justice has become the latest fad during the last few years and atheist organizations have tried to cater to the ideas of equality.

I briefed over the women who were speaking at the event. There was an LGBTQ activist, a humanist from Afghanistan, the organizer of atheist group Los Angeles Sunday Assembly, and a number of women who focus on science-related topics. While I am sure all of these women have interesting things to say, I was disappointed to see yet another atheist event not give spotlight to an atheist conservative woman.

It often seems the general US atheist community is not aware of outspoken atheist conservatives, which isn’t surprising since atheist organizations tend to not given them spotlight. I will share a few atheist conservatives I think highly of, and I will say they all coincidentally happen to be women! I’m not highlighting them for the sake of being women – I just genuinely feel the most impressive atheist conservatives I have come across are, surprisingly, all women. I will give a shout out to Republican Atheists’ Board Member Dr. Robert M. Price who has been great at sharing his political views at speaking engagements and with podcasters.

The most impressive atheist conservative, in my book, is Jillian Becker, a novelist, prize-winning story writer, critic, journalist and lecturer. In fact, not only is she the most impressive atheist conservative in my eyes, but the most impressive atheist in general. Becker’s most famous book is Hitler’s Children: The Story of the Baader-Meinhof Terrorist Gang (1977), which happened to be selected by Newsweek (Europe) as book of the year in 1977. She spent months in Lebanon during the war and interviewed Lebanese people about the oppression they experienced from the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO). Additionally, Becker helped advise the British Parliament on terrorism in the 1980s. She has managed the popular blog The Atheist Conservative since 2008. I could go on about her biography.. Look her up! I have asked Becker if atheist organizations have ever reached out to her, and to my surprise, and disappointment, she said no, they haven’t.

Jillian Becker

Then there is Edwina Rogers, a lobbyist and former White House staffer. Rogers served as the president of Secular Coalition for America from 2012 to 2014, where she worked on developing the organization nationwide. Right out of graduate school she worked with President George H. W. Bush on international trade at the Department of Commerce from 1989 to 1991, and then later served as General Counsel of the National Republican Senatorial Committee in 1994. Rogers received some coverage from atheist organizations while she was president of Secular Coalition for America, but since leaving that post atheist organizations seem to have dropped her off the radar. I personally am disappointed I had not learned about her when she was president, it would have been quite striking to acknowledge a Republican woman manning an international atheist organization.

Edwina Rogers

Another noted atheist conservative is Heather Mac Donald, a published author, essayist, speaker, journalist and attorney. Mac Donald has received considerable attention for her research reported in her noted books The Burden of Bad Ideas (2000), receiving a positive review from a New York Times critic, and The War on Cops (2016). In 2017, Mac Donald was scheduled to speak at Claremont McKenna College in Claremont, CA in spring of 2017, but was forced to relocate after protesters blocked attendees from entering.

Heather Mac Donald

Activist, feminist, author, scholar and former politician Ayaan Hirsi Ali is a noted atheist who has been a featured speaker at the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) 2018. Ali was born in Somalia and is a former Muslim. She lived in Somalia, Saudi Arabia, Ethiopa and Kenya before arriving to the Netherlands in 1992. She was elected in 2003 to be a member of the House of Representatives, the lower house of the States General of the Netherlands. Ali became a victim of death threats for participating in projects speaking out against Islam, and eventually relocated to the United States after the Netherlands government decided to no longer pay for her security. She is founder of AHA Foundation, an organization that defends women’s rights, and openly speaks against female genital mutilation, child marriage, honor violence, and Islamic extremism. Conservative groups have been more accepting of Ali’s criticism of Islam.

Ayaan Hirsi Ali

Finally, there is me, Lauren Ell, President of Republican Atheists, the first organization to represent atheist Republicans. I may have not published books (yet) or worked at the White House, but I have put considerable effort into trying to network with atheist organizations, speakers and related, and presenting the organization to the public. I can say from experience that atheist conservatives tend to be deliberately ignored by atheist organizations and speakers. This creates a level of contradiction especially when atheist organizations and speaking engagements claim they are working for equality among women. One would think at some point they will break down and give conservative atheists some spotlight, considering they are out openly representing as atheists.

Lauren Ell

Either way, atheist conservative women, and men, will continue to speak up and gain more attention over time as conservative views become more common in the atheist community, which has been occurring for some time.

When you have the time, be sure to give a shout out to Jillian Becker, Edwina Rogers and Heather Mac Donald, and Ayaan Hirsi Ali considering most atheist organizations will not.

Fortunately, Ayaan Hirsi Ali and Heather Mac Donald appear often in print, on TV, and on speakers’ platforms.

A shout-out to our editor-in-chief, Jillian Becker, would not bring her to a conference. Her public speaking days are over. But her opinions are flaunted shamelessly here on The Atheist Conservative website and its FaceBook page, ready to provoke any Leftist who cares to look our way.

Posted under Atheism by Jillian Becker on Sunday, August 19, 2018

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Atheism on the political right 58

World Religion News recently interviewed Lauren Ell, the founder of REPUBLICAN ATHEISTS.

She makes many interesting points, among them these:

WRN: Is there a historical precedent for this [Republicans being atheists], or would you call this a relatively new thought process?

LE: I don’t think atheist Republicans are new. They are new in the sense of being more outspoken about their atheist views, but they have existed as far back as the Civil War era. My organization, Republican Atheists, is the first organization I know of at this point that is representing atheist Republicans.

WRN: So you’ve mentioned you had this treatment by certain podcasters and writers, could you go into that in more detail?

LE: I started Republican Atheists in February of 2017 as an experimental project. I haven’t been involved with atheist organizations at all in the United States, such as American Atheists, Freedom From Religion Foundation, or Secular Coalition for America. Originally I had assumed these organizations would take some interest in Republican Atheists. I didn’t expect them to embrace our political views, but I thought at least they would maybe mention the existence of Republican Atheists to their base, considering many of these atheist organizations claim they are representing the entire atheist community in the United States. But I found when I contacted groups I did not get much response from them. They did not respond to the idea of mentioning Republican Atheists to their base. I was in contact with the Secular Coalition for America who at first had interest in Republican Atheists and said they would publish a guest article by me. I was in touch with their media coordinator and we discussed a topic to write about, and I wrote an article for them. It ended up being scrapped because they didn’t like my wording in the article, so I wrote it according to what they recommended and did multiple edits over a period of months. Despite all that time and effort of meeting their requests, at the end of the day they did not publish the article and didn’t even mention Republican Atheists to their base. They actually have not been responsive to me ever since. Some organizations haven’t responded to us at all, so I keep chipping away to build our relevance in the atheist community.

WRN: I would be interested in knowing about podcasters because you mentioned that specifically.

LE: I had an experience with one atheist podcast called Cognitive Dissonance. I actually hadn’t listened to them much, but I sent them an email introducing myself and offered to be interviewed on their show. They agreed to do a 45-minute interview. I was pretty excited because they are one of the more known atheist podcasts. I would say they have around 17,000 followers on Facebook. I ended up doing the interview with them, but they hung up on me 15 minutes into the interview because I mentioned something they didn’t agree with. They called it “the dumbest interview they’ve ever done”. I have actually been met with much more interest in gaining understanding by Christian podcasters.

WRN: What was the particular issue they didn’t agree with?

LE: We were talking about prominent movements such as Women’s March and the Occupy Movement which was big back in 2011. We discussed who is behind the movements in terms of people who financed protests, and I mentioned the name George Soros. The hosts didn’t want to continue the conversation after that.

In the course of the interview Lauren was so kind as to make favorable mention of our editor-in-chief, and simple vanity brings that part of the interview to this post:

WRN: So they’ve associated specific views on issues that don’t relate to Christianity directly, but they still associate it with Christianity. You’re saying within the Republican Party base you can reach a similar conclusion but through a different process and different thinking?

LE: Yes, that is what I do when I communicate with Republicans and Christians. I don’t bring up my atheist views up front and instead focus on what we have in common. I actually never really feel the need to talk about my atheist views unless I am trying to make a point about the existence of atheist Republicans. When I talk to people, I try to find what we have in common in terms of political policies and social policies. We’ll talk about education, taxation, freedom of speech, and so forth. I find a commonality with them, and once we have that commonality, they see that even though I’m atheist we have a lot in common. That is the situation I like to be in.

RN: This reminds me of Christopher Hitchens who was both an outspoken atheist and had several politically conservative stances. Is there anyone who you look to as a person who’s advocating besides of course yourself?

LE: There is a woman who is very impressive, and I wish she was mentioned a lot more. Her name is Jillian Becker, and she manages a blog called The Atheist Conservative. One thing I point out about Jillian Becker is she does not promote the Republican Party. Her thing is just conservatism, and there’s a difference. I always have to point out there’s a difference between an atheist conservative and an atheist Republican. I know a lot of people get it intertwined and sometimes conservatives get a little irritated. But Jillian Becker and I get along pretty well because we see eye to eye on a lot of issues. If you look her up you will see she has an impressive resume. She’s on Wikipedia. She has spoken with the British Parliament in regards to terrorism in the past. She’s a published author, has been featured in interviews, and is very outspoken. She is older now, so I wish she was mentioned more often. I also note Heather Mac Donald who is a published author and a conservative atheist. She was recently shut down on college campuses in California, and she has been interviewed about it.

We too are admirers of Heather Mac Donald, and strongly recommend her books – all of them.

Read the whole interview with Lauren Ell here.

Posted under Atheism, Christianity, Conservatism, Religion general, United States by Jillian Becker on Thursday, June 14, 2018

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Republican Atheists 2

The Republican Party is very disappointing. To judge by the way Congressional Republican leaders, and numerous “NeverTrumpers” among “conservative” journalists, actively side with the “Resistance” against President Trump, it seems they would rather have socialism, Islam, corruption, violence, open borders, unemployment, hysterical racism, endless debate about who can use which public bathroom, high taxes, enforced unanimity of opinion in the universities, compulsory payment of huge sums to Al Gore to keep the planet cool, the shaming of white men for being white, and the running of everything by women.

If more Republicans were atheists, would the party become more rational, more principled, and more supportive of President Trump?

It’s an optimistic hypothesis, but who knows?

Some competent Republican atheists have formed an organization that will test the theory, perhaps lure any secret non-believing members of the party out of the closet, and even perhaps “normalize” atheism in the eyes of the religious.

We think it worth trying. So here is a flyer for the Republican Atheist movement.

Introducing Republican Atheists: a new face for secular conservatism

Republican Atheists is a nationally and internationally recognized organization that launched in the USA in February 2017 to build awareness of secular presence in the Republican Party.

President and founder Lauren Ell decided to launch the organization after becoming determined to showcase that being a registered Republican does not require being subscribed to religion. Ell also wanted to make a statement in the atheist community that atheists can have conservative views.

“I decided I’ve had enough of not being represented in both the Republican Party and atheist community,” Ell said. “I launched Republican Atheists to represent those who are in a similar circumstance as me and to give a stronger voice to secular conservatism.”

Ell was born and raised in Southern California. She is located in Sweden most of the year since Spring 2016. Ell has identified as atheist for over a decade and has education background in Marketing and Geology. She currently works as a marketing consultant and business owner while devoting volunteer time to Republican Atheists.

Despite having an exclusive name, Republican Atheists does not solicit strictly to atheists. The organization welcomes those who consider themselves agnostic, humanist and secular. In fact, everyone is welcome to tune into Republican Atheists when they have the time.

Republican Atheists has two official board members who are registered Republicans. First registered board member Republican State Rep. Brandon Phinney from Rochester, New Hampshire, provides insight into state level politics and communicating with the public. Phinney made waves in atheist and religious media outlets in Spring 2017 when he discussed his atheist views while being a Republican representative.

Second board member is well known author and speaker, Robert M. Price, Ph.D. in Theology and Ph.D. in New Testament. Price has taught in colleges and universities and has also served as director for NY Metro Center for Inquiry. He directs his own podcast known as The Bible Geek.

Additionally the organization is pleased to have Raul D. Empaire on board, official correspondent on issues surrounding Venezuela.

Republican Atheists has been featured by United Coalition of Reason, Secular Policy Institute and Friendly Atheist (blog). Ell has also introduced Republican Atheists at well known campus University of California, Riverside, located in Riverside, CA. With a growing social media following on Facebook and Twitter, the organization continues to expand its outreach and influence.

The team of Republican Atheists looks forward to building more awareness of secular conservatism through public speaking engagements, interviews and social media activity. For more information visit the official website:

www.RepublicanAtheists.com.

Posted under Atheism, United States by Jillian Becker on Saturday, June 17, 2017

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