Friendly Neighborhood Atheist

Skepticman, Skepticman,
Does whatever a skeptic can
You spin webs, full of lies,
He debunks, Christians cry,

Look out! Here comes the Skepticman.

Last evening, the Lord spoke to me through a Reverend wearing a fake beard. The man wearing the beard is rabid anti-separationist, Reverend Elmer Gantree aka Ed Joyce, Chapter President of the Delaware Valley Americans United for Separation of Church and State . Through the Meetup website, I belong to the DVAU group as well as many others. Last night’s meeting was designed to help debunk the myths propagated by the Religious Right. It began as Ed stood at the front of the room, preaching from the pulpit, Holy Bible in one hand followed by a Q&A from those in attendance. This was a brilliant way to get practice debating the outrageous claims that the Religious Right use to breach the wall between church and state.

Topics discussed:

  • America is a Christian Nation
  • Evolution vs. Intelligent Design
  • Separation of Church & State doesn’t exist because those words are not in the Constitution
  • Separation of Church & State has resulted in God being kicked out of the public square
  • The Ten Commandments are the Foundation of American Law
  • School Vouchers are good

Although I belong to several atheist groups, this group focuses on the separation of church and state. This is not an atheist movement, it is an American one. I had a fantastic time and was able to polish up my skills in debating these common myths. I didn’t know much about school vouchers before this meeting but I intend to dig deeper. I also will be discussing this topic with my wife who actually travels around the country as a literacy consultant. Most of her work is within the inner cities and I am curious how she views school vouchers. Once I have more information I intend to write a blog on my findings. From what little I know currently, if the government is giving my tax dollars to private/religious schools, I am against it so far.

But I bring up this meeting and the Meetup site to give non-believers a way of finding like-minded individuals. Many atheists remain in the closet for fear of coming out and losing friends and family. But there are lots of us already out as atheists and we meet trying to come up with ways to spread positive atheism and make the world a safer place for atheists to be open about their non-belief. They say that organizing atheists is like herding cats. With the internet, it really isn’t that hard anymore. Conventions like Skepticon are growing and more conventions pop up each year. It’s a strong, fast growing movement and I’m proud to be a part of it.

Despite its rapid growth, many of us find it hard to meet other non-believers. We are surrounded by believers, from the insane fundamentalist kind to the liberal/cultural kind that make us scratch our heads and wonder why they still hold on to this bronze age mythology. Take it from me, if you feel like you are alone in your non-beliefs, surf over to meetup.com. It’s a good bet there is a group in your area. Most times the groups are people gathering for a drink and discussing the movement, which is fun. And sometimes you get great events like the one above as well as notable speaker engagements. This coming Sunday, the New Jersey Humanist Network will be welcoming Teresa MacBain.

From the NJHN Meetup page:

Teresa MacBain will share the story of her journey from Baptist preacher’s daughter to Methodist minister to Atheist activist. She was the first female graduate of the Clergy Project and now lives in New Jersey and works as the Public Relations Director for American Atheists. She came out to the world as an atheist at the 2012 American Atheists Convention and has appeared on most major news programs including CNN, NPR’s All Things Considered, Talk of the Nation, The Alan Colmes Show, and many more. She has also been featured in USA Today, the Huffington Post, the Washington Post, and CNN’s Belief Blog.

Do yourself a favor and get out there and join us in the movement. If you find something you like or already belong to a group you love, share it below in the comments.

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