Monday, August 4, 2008

Atheists in Columbus, Ohio

I visited Heidi in Columbus this weekend and we attended the "Atheist Coming Out Party" on Saturday. You can read a little write-up here.

As expected, the debaptism got the bulk of the attention. That's really the only reason it was held - you need something attention-getting so that a reporter and photographer from the Columbus Dispatch will show up. The real purpose of the party was summed up in a banner at the back of the room: "It's okay to be an atheist." It sounds anemic, but we live in a world where even the mildest statement of unbelief is immediately labeled "hate speech."

Hement Mehta gave a nice little speech about being patient rather than obnoxious when dealing with theists, and I applauded his comments. But you see the dilemma: we're trying to a)let people know that atheists exist and that b)we're okay people. It's so hard to do (a) that it's easy to mess up on (b) in the process. Especially when many theists believe that the slightest tolerance of atheism is a denial of their religious freedom.

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