This is a letter one of our members received. It reports on the Easter weekend gathering. I’ve stripped it down to text only for cleaner presentation. Trav H.
Dear Larry —
At our national convention last weekend, not only did we celebrate everyday atheism, together we raised the profile of atheism in Cincinnati and across the country.
On Friday morning, Kentucky State Director Johnny Pike kicked off the festivities with a stunning announcement: Cincinnati’s mayor had declared April 19-21 American Atheists Weekend in the city to officially welcome us!
A few hours later, keynote speaker Jim Obergefell, the plaintiff in the Supreme Court case that made marriage equality the law of the land, told the heart-wrenching story of how religious dogma in the law prevented him from marrying his husband until just days before his death.
And, in another step toward normalizing atheism, Jim came out for the second time: “I’m gay. I’m an atheist. I’m tired of the closet.”
We also heard from Fraidy Reiss, the founder of Unchained At Last, a group that fights against forced and child marriage here in the United States; Gayle Jordan, who ran for state senate in Tennessee and was repeatedly attacked for her atheism; and long-time board member of American Atheists Frank Zindler, who spoke about the death of his wife Ann after the Bush Administration caved to Catholic groups to ban stem cell research that could have saved her life.
In her day, Madalyn Murray O’Hair faced outright hostility from the press.
But now, journalists are starting to report fairly, even favorably about us, as they relay our message of equality.
“850 nonbelievers from every state and even other countries […] say they are fighting for rights and equality, just without the God part,” reported CBS-affiliate WKRC at our Friday Equality Rally, which saw local and national groups take to Cincinnati’s famous Fountain Square and stand up to religious bigotry.
NBC-affiliate WLWT published quoted our President Nick Fish, saying, “For decades, religious extremists have fought tooth and nail against progress.”
As atheists promoting equality, not only are we pointing out the hypocrisy of the Religious Right and holding true to our values, we are reinforcing our image as defenders of freedom by standing firmly on the right side of history.
If you want to stand with us in the fight to normalize atheism, become a sustaining member by making a monthly gift to support our work.
Tom Van Denburgh
Raising the Profile of Atheists
“There is so much stigma associated with being an atheist,” acknowledged Nick Fish, our President, on the main stage. That’s why our work to put a face on atheism is all the more important.
Engaging Elected Officials on Atheist Issues
Reach out to your elected officials in person or on social media! Make your atheist voice heard with our AtheistsEngage elected official finder and sample tweets!
Building Grassroots Atheism
Atheist groups need to learn from the civil rights movement about the importance of building at the community and national levels, explained Debbie Goddard, our Vice President for Programs. Join a local group near you!
Ending FGM in the United States
Alarmingly, the majority of U.S. states still allow female genital mutilation, our law clerk Adriana Buenaventura-Martinez explained. And that’s why we’ve submitted testimony to support female genital mutilation bans!