The ACA (American Conservative Union), which had accepted the application for a booth made by the American Atheists at CPAC, has now determined that maybe that wasn’t such a good idea after receiving backlash from conservatives and hearing the subsequent threatening statements made by the head of the group. After announcing that the group would have an information booth at CPAC, American Atheists’ head David Silverman told CNN he wasn’t worried about angering the Christian right.
“The Christian right should be angry that we are going in to enlighten conservatives,” Silverman told CNN. “The Christian right should be threatened by us.”
Silverman warned if “conservatism doesn’t embrace religious neutrality, its influence will wither and die.” After the CNN report went live, CPAC rescinded its invitation to American Atheists.
In an interview with Breitbart, Brent Bozell criticized the ACU for the invitation, saying, “The invitation extended by the ACU, Al Cardenas, and CPAC to American Atheists to have a booth is more than an attack on conservative principles. It is an attack on God Himself. American Atheists is an organization devoted to the hatred of God. How on earth could CPAC, or the ACU and its board of directors, and Al Cardenas condone such an atrocity?” Bozell is the President of the the Media Research Center and the son of the founder of the American Conservative Union, the group that hosts CPAC. Breitbart also contacted the spokesperson for CPAC, Meghan Snyder, who said, “American Atheists misrepresented itself about their willingness to engage in positive dialogue and work together to promote limited government.”
“We spoke with Mr. Silverman about his divisive and inappropriate language. He pledged that he will attack the very idea that Christianity is an important element of conservatism. People of any faith tradition should not be attacked for their beliefs, especially at our conference. He has left us with no choice but to return his money,” she said.
Silverman released his own press statement in response: “…This is exactly the problem. The ACU, which has invited CPAC speakers such as Rush Limbaugh, Ann Coulter, and Sarah Palin, is afraid of my tone? My ‘tone’ was clearly an excuse to back out after our press release angered religious conservatives.”
“Continuing to conflate religion and conservatism is not a viable strategy; this was apparently too scary for CPAC attendees to hear,” Silverman said. “America’s religious conservatives can deny it all they want, but soon they’re going to realize that ignoring the growing number of atheist constituents is a losing proposition….”
The group, American Atheists, are not your garden variety atheists. “Live and let Live” will never be posted on any of their numerous billboards that have offended Christians, Jews, and Muslims alike as they seek to “call out” closet atheists “hiding” behind their affiliations with religious organizations. But, CPAC knew that when they agreed to accept the application– just as American Atheists’ Silverman knew his words would be inflammatory and insulting to many Christians.