Introducing the Secular Safe Zone

In the past few years, even though surveys have shown that more young people are losing their religion, there are still many young atheists who choose to remain in the closet. Maybe it’s because they don’t want to lose their friends, or they want to hide the secret from their parents, or they’re worried about getting bullied and harassed by other students (it’s happened before).

In any case, it has a chilling effect.

Students are afraid to start secular groups where they can meet other atheists and explore their own (non-)religious identities.

Students stay silent even as they see illegal promotion of Christianity around them because they don’t want to rock the boat and draw any negative attention.

Students stop themselves from thinking too critically about religion out of fear that they may not like where the answers lead them.

Students are unable to help fix the untrue and unfair stereotypes about atheists — that we’re not trustworthy or electable. While things are getting better overall, there are still many pockets of America where it’s neither easy nor safe to publicly proclaim your atheism.

So taking a page from the LGBT playbook, the Secular Student Alliance has launched a project intended to help curb that problem. It’s called the Secular Safe Zone:

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Secular Coalition for America’s Edwina Rogers Featured in The Washingtonian

The September, 2013 issue of Washingtonian has a long feature on Edwina Rogers, Executive Director of the Secular Coalition for America:

Reporter Libby Copeland writes:

During one of several interviews for the job, the room was packed with staff and advisers who were, in the words of coalition bigwig Woody Kaplan, “flabbergasted” and “incredulous” at Rogers’s presence.

“My purpose was not to interview Edwina to see if she was right for the job,” recalls Kaplan, an adviser to the coalition, “but to destroy her.”

Yet Rogers “turned the entire room around,” Kaplan says. He’s been a civil-liberties lobbyist and donor for decades, school in the art of political sausage-making — but he’s still slightly awed by Rogers’s powers of persuasion: “She walked out and we voted 100 percent for her.”

Most of the information wasn’t new or revealing to me, though, until I came across this passage:

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Months After an Assassination Attempt, a Bangladeshi Atheist Blogger is Still Speaking Out

Earlier this year, Asif Mohiuddin, a 29-year-old Bangladeshi man, was violently attacked for being an outspoken atheist blogger in his country.

The other day, after a month-old email request, I finally heard back from him.

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What’s the Point of Pink Masses?

The video below, part of The Atheist Voice series, discusses rituals people do over gravestones after a person is dead:

You can read more about the Pink Mass over Fred Phelps‘ mother’s gravestone here.

We’d love to hear your thoughts on the project — more videos will be posted soon — and we’d also appreciate your suggestions as to which questions we ought to tackle next! [Read more...]

Ray Comfort: Humanism is to Blame for Miley Cyrus’ Twerking

On his daily online show today, Ray Comfort explained how Miley Cyrus‘ provocative dance at the MTV Video Music Awards was the result of her godlessness.

Eric Dolan at Ray Story has the clip:

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