Former Catholic Begins Freethought Group in Rochester

Jeffrey Jackson, a reporter for the Post-Bulletin (Rochester, MN), tells the story of Bill Kass, a former Catholic who started the Rochester Area Freethinkers:

“I always got myself in trouble by asking the wrong questions,” [Kass] said.

And the answers he was given — answers such as “some things are not meant to be understood” — did not satisfy him. Then, when his parents divorced and his mother was excommunicated from the Catholic church, Kass, as a teenager, found it even more difficult to accept the beliefs of those who said that God loves him and yet condemned his mother to hell.

There are some telling quotations about the group:

… Occasionally, there [are] those in attendance — “militant atheists,” Kass calls them — who will want to combat organized religion. But the key to the group, he said, is respect.

“We’re not organizing marches to burn down churches,” he said.

Instead, the group stresses tolerance of people’s beliefs or disbeliefs.

“We wanted to be able to meet people who the first question out of their mouths was not, ‘Have you found a church yet?’” Kass said. And, he said, he wanted to find similar families so that his kids would realize they were not alone in not professing a religious faith.

What’s the response from people who know Kass?

“A co-worker the other day told me she feels sorry for me,” Kass said. The co-worker proceeded to say that all unbelievers were “evil,” adding, “except for you, Bill.”

Ugh. Those comments usually get ignored by most people. But replace “unbelievers” with “blacks” and you realize what a backhanded compliment it is.

(Thanks to Bjorn for the link!)


[tags]atheist, atheism[/tags]

  • http://emergingpensees.com MikeClawson

    Instead, the group stresses tolerance of people’s beliefs or disbeliefs.

    Wow, a freethought group that actually believes in truly free thought. Cool!

  • http://bjornisageek.blogspot.com Bjorn Watland

    They even accept *gasp* deists into their group! What heresy!

  • QrazyQat

    An acquaintance — can’t really be a friend, unfortunately — is a libertarian (ie. conservative) who told me in email that he thinks all Democrats are assholes. When I teased him that he couldn’t expect me to pick up the check if we went to lunch cause I’m a Democrat and an asshole wouldn’t do so, he assured me that he didn’t mean ME, just, you know, Democrats.

    These people are not just bigots, they’re gutless bigots who won’t say their insults to someone face to face.

  • http://skepticsplay.blogspot.com/ miller

    Excommunicated? For some reason, I thought that was reserved only for prominent figures who had slighted the church.


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