New Hero: Karen Lancaster

Local papers sometimes have the most interesting articles. Karen Lancaster’s piece in the Chillicothe (Ohio) Gazette is proof of that.

Karen, an atheist guest columnist, writes a brief letter to people who view atheists negatively.

We are scientists, doctors, lawyers, teachers and students. We are mechanics, plumbers, waitresses and janitors.

We are mothers, fathers, sons and daughters. We are aunts, uncles, nieces, nephews, cousins, grandparents and grandchildren.

We are best friends and we are sworn enemies. We are atheists, but only because that is the name that is spat at us.

She succinctly explains her take on religion:

From the ancient Indians and their founding of Hinduism, to modern day cults that spring up on just about every street corner, mankind wants to understand the world they live in, but they are generally easily satisfied and they lack certain resources. So rather than take the time to use science to answer their questions, they create a myth to explain it all and allay their fears. But those myths break down when confronted with science.

There’s even this valuable proclamation:

I’d rather see one soup kitchen and homeless shelter built as opposed to the many, many mega churches that keep popping up…

But she’s my hero primarily for the follow part:

You think we need pity and prayer and that we just don’t understand. You believe you are superior to us. That you possess some truth that we do not. Some go so far as to think that we wish to invade your homes, steal your Bibles and eat your children.

Nothing could be further from the truth. We want you to feel safe in your homes and keep your Bibles, and besides, children nowadays taste a little gamey.

She got a child-eating joke in there. Nice.

There are some minor quibbles I have with the piece. Like how “Atheists” is capitalized. And that line about how many atheists “would much rather be called rationalists.” (Really?!) And the lack of acknowledgment that not all religious people view atheists in this way.

Still, it’s exciting that pieces like this are being published!

(Thanks to Carol for the link!)


[tags]atheist, atheism, Karen Lancaster, Chillicothe Gazette, Bible[/tags]

  • http://www.matsonwaggs.wordpress.com Kelly

    That is wonderful! I’ve been thinking about writing something like that myself-you can imagine all the religious letters to the editor here in Cincinnati in the last month or so. I think it’s all passed by now though. So I can take solace that someone in Ohio is out there with a fair representation.

  • stogoe

    Oh, come off it. She’s using ‘many’ in the way that journalists do – it means ‘I personally’ feel this way.

  • Mriana

    I liked the article, Hemant. Thanks for sharing it.

    There are many reasons why we don’t believe, but the main reason is simply that there is absolutely no evidence to support the existence of a deity. Myths and myth-making has been around for a very long time. Since the first time man was able to think and wonder, he did just that and wondered where he came from, how he came to be.

    Without the ability to answer that question, he created a myth.

    I believe she is very right about this and it’s something I’ve always thought. Humans could not find an answer, so they made up stories about it, but alas, they do break down with science. Which is probably why the Church tries to silence science. :roll:

  • http://grooveadam.blogspot.com Adam

    I just got this pulished in my hometown newspaper:

    http://www.lenconnect.com/articles/2007/06/09/news/news08.txt

  • http://friendlyatheist.com FriendlyAtheist

    Adam– Nice job! Great letter :)

  • http://www.matsonwaggs.wordpress.com Kelly

    Good one Adam! I really, really like the last sentence.

  • Josh

    Nice to see something like this being published in my old neck of the woods. Thanks for posting.

  • Pingback: Friendly Atheist » Response to Karen Lancaster’s Piece

  • http://political-nutshell.com HeathenAngel

    You can’t imagine the trouble this article stirred up. This, and a couple that I had previously contributed had the unfortunate consequence of alienating me from certain family members.

    I’m hoping that as soon as a few things calm down in my life, I can submit something new. Hopefully you will like it as well. ;) Thanks for this.. you really haven’t any idea how much I needed to see it. Here I thought my letters only served to piss off the locals. (not the reason I write them, but it is an amusing side effect) hehe

    Karen Lancaster/TheHeathenAngel


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