Oklahoma Newspaper Features Atheists in the Bible Belt

The cover story of this week’s Oklahoma Gazette is all about how atheists are coming out in the Bible Belt and it features our friends Kai Tancredi, Red McCall, and Wolf-Blitzer-embarrasser Rebecca Vitsmun:

Hostility between theists and atheists is not uncommon. After Vitsmun’s interview, some in the religious community suggested that there had been a dearth of effort among nonbelievers in the tornado recovery.

Vitsmun disputes that notion. “I don’t believe there was a difference in the amount of work put forth,” she said. “Atheists are just beginning to develop the type of organized systems theists already have in place.”

Despite a lack of national coordinated relief efforts, said Vitsmun, local groups such as Oklahoma Atheists and FreeOK stepped in to help her family and others impacted by the deadly storms. Atheists came from around all the country to volunteer, she said.

The difference, Vitsmun said, was best summed up by Kai Tancredi, a FreeOK member who noted, “It’s not that humanists are absent in the relief effort; it’s that they aren’t all wearing matching T-shirts.”

Take that, Joe Klein.

It’s really fantastic coverage for atheists who live in a state where we haven’t always been welcome, but when you shine a spotlight on kind, amazing atheists, as this article did, it makes a difference. It lets closeted atheists know that there’s a community out there for them if they choose to join it.

(Thanks to Andrew for the link!)

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.