Out of the Wardrobe

The National is an English language newspaper published in Abu Dhabi.

Reporter Gretchen Peters wrote an for it about how “coming out” can be an ordeal for atheists and agnostics.

Chalmer Wren, vice president of the atheist society at the Metropolitan State College in Denver, was chatting on the group’s website with a fundamentalist Christian when he received a disturbing message.

“He said the United States was a Christian nation and when I disagreed, he threatened to run me over if he ever saw me on campus,” Mr Wren said.

Mr Wren said when he first became active in the atheist student community he was surprised by the level of hostility he and others faced.

“It doesn’t surprise me anymore,” he said. “For any minority belief this sort of behaviour is not unusual. I think it is very human unfortunately.”

I spoke to the reporter when she was writing this piece. I told her that I had been in the closet about my atheism for years before finally telling my family.

I think some of what I said got lost in translation, though 🙂

Hemant Mehta, the chairman of the [Secular Student Alliance], talks about his years of living “in the wardrobe” and how hard it was to “come out” to his parents, who are devout Jainists, an ancient religion from the subcontinent.

“I told them that I did not believe in our God or in any faith. It was rough and they thought they had raised me wrong,” he said. Now, six years later, “it is not like they are bragging about it”, he said, “But we have found a way to deal with it.”

In the wardrobe. I like it.

The article also has mentions of the American Humanist Association and the SSA’s campus organizer Lyz Liddell.

I think it’s impressive that the atheist movement is getting media all over the world.

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What Are Your Thoughts?leave a comment
  • David D.G.

    So, Hemant, how were things in Narnia?

    ;^D

    ~David D.G.

  • Caroline

    Oh, that’s brilliant. Please, please, let this catch on! I’d love to hear people use it.

    “I’m still in the wardrobe.”
    “I told my parents and I guess I’m out of the wardrobe.”
    “He needs to get out of the wardrobe!”

  • I think his name is spelled “Chalmer” not “Charmer.”

    A most impressive young man, by the way.

  • I’m glad you’re out of the wardrobe.

  • medussa

    But I LIKE the name Charmer!
    And Charmer Wren sounds like it’s a name right out of the wardrobe of Narnia.

  • Chelsea

    Damn! The Narnia joke was already taken!

  • Sadly, I’ve never really been in the wardrobe. Nice phrase, though.

  • Everybody needs to have a “wardrobe malfunction”.

  • My name is Chalmer, not Charmer, not that there’s anything wrong with being charming.

  • Chalmer — I corrected it in the posting!

    — Hemant

  • Thanks 🙂

  • “He said the United States was a Christian nation and when I disagreed, he threatened to run me over if he ever saw me on campus,” Mr Wren said.

    Man, how’s that for loving your neighbor like yourself?

  • absent sway

    But I’m so cozy here in Cair Paravel…