I’ll Be Closing the Fundraiser for the Pastor ‘Trying Out’ Atheism in a Few Days

Just a heads up: I plan to close the fundraiser for Pastor Ryan Bell Friday night. You’ve already raised $27,000, which is just incredible. I’ll mail him the check next week. Bell has assured me he’ll be transparent with how he uses it and he’s deeply appreciative of the support he’s received from our community.

In the meantime, CNN’s Daniel Burke asked several prominent atheists what they thought of Bell’s experiment to explore atheism for a year… and got a wide variety of responses about whether or not that was even possible:

[Read more...]

How You Can Help Send Freethought Books to Prisoners

A month ago, I posted about the Center for Inquiry’s new initiative to send freethought books to prisoners, giving them something to read besides the Bible, as well as coordinate a pen-pal program between inmates and volunteers.

At the time, the website for the project was still bare-bones, but that’s no longer the case. CFI offers this update:

In December, we sent out a total of 45 shipments, one to each of these individuals, including a total of 130 books and 20 magazines. A month ago, we wouldn’t have had the resources to make this happen.

One of our contacts (kept anonymous), recently released from her sentence, had this to say about what the books and the experience with Freethought Books Project mean to her:

“After 41 years of not knowing what I want to do when I grow up I have finally figured it out. I am already looking into going to school so I can someday join the fight for secularism and basic scientific understanding. I don’t know exactly what I will major in yet but I have a direction as never before.”


[Read more...]

This is How You Can Help a Ugandan School Built on Humanist Principles

I’ve posted a couple articles on this site, written by Sean McGuire, about the Kasese Humanist Primary School, a school in Uganda that’s founded and run on Secular Humanist principles, a school that emphasizes science and teaches students to think critically.

Now, McGuire has put together this beautiful video of how things are going and what still needs to be done to make the school successful. (The song by Shelley Segal is a perfect fit, too.)

[Read more...]

A Few Thoughts About Fundraising

Heina Dadabhoy at Skepchick asks a good question about why so many atheists have been eager to donate to the fundraiser about Ryan Bell, the pastor giving atheism a try, yet not nearly as enthusiastic to donate to the Women’s Leadership Project (WLP), a “feminist humanist mentoring and civic engagement program in South L.A. serving young women of color.”

When I re-posted the link to the WLP project last night, I got responses that attempted to explain why it didn’t garner as much attention and raise as much money as the fundraiser for Ryan J. Bell. There were the “well, what did you expect?/Welcome to reality where page views and click-bait rule” type; these express a sense of capitulation and resignation to the status quo that I do not share. However, most of them were more along the lines of “Oh, I never heard of this so it must not have been promoted enough.

One of my friends is a Christian minister and he jokes that every atheist in America must have at least 3 websites apiece. He is on-point in that we godless types tend to have strong Internet presences. It’s about time that we take a good, hard look at which causes and individuals we choose to follow, talk about, and promote using these platforms.

A few thoughts on all of this:

[Read more...]