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From the Director

ETV / From the Executive Director

To Endorse or Not To Endorse

From the Executive Director:

A few years ago I attended a fundraiser for Senator Patrick Leahy. was then called the GAMPAC and Peter Nuhn and I took our GAMPAC donation check to the Washington DC event. I spoke briefly with the Senator, and we took a photo and then Peter and I left.

A week later our donation check was returned to us. That was a shock to me. I didn't think that would ever happen to us, but it did. The senator didn't want people knowing about our donation, and that an Atheist pac was supporting him.

Are we really that poisonous to politicians? Are we really that powerful, even if in a negative way?

What should we do if a politician asks us NOT to endorse him/her at our site? Can we be an effective political action committee if those politicians who we want to support, don't want it?

In 2002, we launched our pac with a press conference at the National Press Club in Washington DC, and a reporter asked me what we would do if a politician did not want our endorsement? I told the reporter that if the politician didn't want our endorsement then the politician would not get our votes or money. If we cannot endorse a candidate then we cannot drive votes and money their way.

It's not that some politicians don't want our support - it's more that they don't want the backlash from the religious. The religious are a better-organized and better-funded political machine than we are and that is what most politicians respond to. If we were better organized than the religious then politicians would be actively pursuing our support. If we put a lot of money behind the candidates who we support, and if we work to elect them, then we will become the voting bloc that candidates will listen to.

So back to my original question. To support or not to support - that is the question. The answer is that we should support as long as we can make it beneficial to candidates and we can do that if you vote for the candidates we endorse and if you contribute to Our endorsement should benefit candidates. When you contribute to we donate to candidates' campaigns and they know that enlightened Americans are organized to support them.

It is also important to donate your time to work on the campaigns of these candidates. This is what the religious do. In fact, there isn't anything the religious won't do to get their candidates elected to office.

Without your donations to and your work for the campaigns we support, some politicians may continue to be wary of our endorsement.

Atheists and other secular Americans are going political and we are going to be successful.

We are gearing up for the 2010 elections now. With your support we will elect politicians who support the separation of state and church and the noble words of the Establishment Clause, "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishement of religion." Please donate to today. Please tell your friends about EV and help by spreading the word. Let's not regret another election year.

What do you think? Tell us at


Ellen Johnson, Executive Director



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