Unfortunately, there has been very little coverage of the National Day of Reason in the American mainstream media, which is unfortunate. But guess who did cover the event, using it as a starting point to discuss the rise of atheism in our country?
A British newspaper, of course.
The Sunday Telegraph manages to tie together the rise in atheist literature, the names of several national secular organizations, Pete Stark, a questionable quotation by George Bush Sr., and a picture of atheists in Idaho (!)… When discussing how atheism is becoming more popular, the article states:
Groups including Atheists for Human Rights and Atheist Alliance International – “Call 1-866-HERETIC” – are setting up summer camps and an internet recruiting campaign.
This isn’t accurate. Atheists for Human Rights doesn’t run any summer camps. The largest summer camp for atheists, Camp Quest, is run by various local atheist groups (depending on the location). For example, says August Berkshire, “Camp Quest of Minnesota was set up independently in 2003 by members of Minnesota Atheists and the Humanists of Minnesota.” And while Camp Quest West may have an association with AAI, it’s in name only. AAI doesn’t help recruit or run the camp.
Furthermore, there’s no official “recruiting campaign,” but certainly the Internet is the most potent force for change, and atheists will use blogs, discussion boards, etc. to discuss religious/non-religious issues.
Writer Tim Shipman also talks about the number of atheists in America:
Official figures show the ranks of the non-religious have doubled to 13 per cent, or 30 million people, since 1990.
There is one more excerpt that caught my eye…:
Blogger Hemant Mehta, 24, who writes under the pen name “friendlyatheist”, regularly debates with Christian fundamentalists online. He wrote: “We are not the bogeymen we have been made out to be for so long.”
Britain noticed this blog?! Awesome. And they spelled my name right… that’s unusual. Though I don’t recall debating fundamentalists on this site… meh. It’s not the most egregious mistake ever.
Yes, there are some corrections that should be made to this article.
Overall, though, this is the type of article I had hoped the American press would be writing after the National Day of Reason. Kudos to The Sunday Telegraph for publishing it. Anyone else upset that you have to read British papers to get a more accurate glimpse of what’s going on in America?
(***UPDATE*** Some additional corrections to the Telegraph article have been added to this post. Thanks to August Berkshire for pointing them out!)
[tags]atheist, atheism, National Day of Reason, mainstream media, Sunday Telegraph, Pete Stark, George Bush, Idaho, Atheists for Human Rights, Atheist Alliance International, Tim Shipman, Hemant Mehta, Christian, fundamentalist Camp Quest[/tags]