American Atheists’ 2014 Conference to Feature LGBT-Friendly NFL Punter and Reality Show Winner

American Atheists just announced that its 2014 conference — its 40th annual conference, taking place April 17-20 — would feature LGBT activist and NFL punter Chris Kluwe, Survivor: Philippines winner Denise Stapley, and Spin Doctors bass player Mark White (below, from left to right):

“We’re thrilled to bring so many great nontheists to our convention — some of whom have never addressed our movement before,” said American Atheists President David Silverman. “This is our 40th annual convention and it’s going to be stellar.”

The backdrop of the event may overshadow the speakers, given that it’s in Salt Lake City, Utah — American Atheists says they’re specifically targeting closeted, unbelieving Mormons:

“We want ex-Mormons to know that there is this entire community of people here for them,” said Public Relations Director Dave Muscato. “Often when people leave the Mormon church, they continue to base their identity in it because they don’t know any other community they can identify with. The 2014 American Atheists National Convention will be the place where ex-Mormons know that it’s okay to take that step and start saying, ‘I am an atheist.’

Registration for the conference is now open.

About Hemant Mehta

Hemant Mehta is the editor of Friendly Atheist, appears on the Atheist Voice channel on YouTube, and co-hosts the uniquely-named Friendly Atheist Podcast. You can read much more about him here.

  • Drew2u

    OT, but regarding Ariel Castro’s house being demolished – isn’t there an air of superstition regarding that building and the crowds cheering its demolition? I haven’t read anywhere that the house was structurally unsafe just that the bank took back the deed and plans on making that, and adjoining lots, into a larger center (i.e. more profitable).

    • Smiles

      I don’t think it is necessarily superstition…I mean, some might feel that way, but really it is just a reminder in the community of the horrors that took place there. I would also argue that NOT leveling the house would have hurt the property values of the neighborhood more…the history of that house taints the whole area.

    • onamission5

      By leveling the house, the city is essentially removing the possibility of it going on a tour list for prospective gawkers, current or future. There’s a whole industry based on touring sites of past horrors, even when the survivors of those horrors are still alive and potentially affected, and it’s not always done terribly respectfully. I see the demolition as more symbolic than superstitious. Can’t take pictures of a house that isn’t there, can’t bother occupants of a building that is no longer standing.

    • OverlappingMagisteria

      Others have brought up non superstitious reasons to demolish the house. But there is also a potential reason to demolish because of superstition. It is likely that the value of the house has plummeted because of the events. Although it is superstitious, many people will not want to buy that house. It may make sense to destroy rebuild the house so that superstitious people will be more willing to buy. More potential customers means higher market value.

      (A large assumption in economics is that consumers act rationally. Not always true.)

  • GubbaBumpkin

    I knew Kluwe was a strong gay rights supporter, but this is the first time I am aware of that he has been open about being an atheist.

    • Tainda

      People are already saying they are going to unfollow him after he retweeted this announcement lol

      • https://twitter.com/HungryHeathen Hungry Heathen

        Saw that. If Barney Frank didn’t clarify who faces greater discrimination at this point in time, Kluwe will.

        • Tainda

          You figure, if they follow him, they would know he doesn’t give a shit if they follow or not lol

      • Gus Snarp

        I do not understand what is wrong with some people. Who on earth follows Chris Kluwe on Twitter who thinks his speaking at an atheist conference is so unacceptable they have to unfollow him? Shouldn’t all of those people have done so long ago?

        Which leads me to conclude people have followed him just to unfollow him, or never followed him at all.

  • Tainda

    Salt Lake City? Nooooo!!! I want to see Kluwe :( Too far, too far *sigh*

  • https://twitter.com/HungryHeathen Hungry Heathen

    I asked whether this was his ‘coming out’, or if he was just willing to acknowledge our existence, rights, etc. Excited either way, obviously much more so if it’s the former. Pipe up if anyone knows the answer to that; I’ll let you know if I hear back.

    • https://twitter.com/HungryHeathen Hungry Heathen

      where ‘he’=’Kluwe’

    • Tainda

      Wiki says he’s an atheist but I never believe until the person says it lol I haven’t gotten through all of Sparkleponies yet so I’m not sure if it says it in there.

      • GubbaBumpkin

        The footnote link for that Wikipedia claim is the announcement for the conference.

  • https://twitter.com/HungryHeathen Hungry Heathen

    April… hmmm… could perhaps be combined with some nearby snowboarding for an awesome trip.

  • Bruce Martin

    Hemant, when you said “American Atheists says they’re specifically targeting closeted, unbelieving Mormons,” there is a technical quibble here. American Atheists actually said they are reaching out to EX-Mormons. They are not intending to target individuals who are atheists that are trying to remain within the Mormon church, for family or other reasons. Those LDS members have nothing to fear from this. Of course, as atheists and/or humanists, I think we are reaching out to offer support to anyone who wants it.

    To most people, the difference is too subtle to bother distinguishing between an atheist Mormon and an ex-Mormon. But I think there may be a few people who are at a delicate place in the middle, and I don’t want them to feel that we’re rushing them.

    Of course, overall, the Friendly Atheist blog is a wonderful example of people standing up for truth, justice, and the American Way, to borrow a phrase. Thanks for all the good work you do.


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