An Interview with Lauren Drain, Former Member of the Westboro Baptist Church

Lauren Drain‘s father visited Westboro Baptist Church over a decade ago while making a documentary film (which was tentatively titled Hatemongers). When he returned home a month later, he was a different man. He had internalized what they were preaching and eventually moved his entire family, including 14-year-old Lauren, to Kansas to become members of Fred Phelps‘ church.

Now, Lauren has written a book about her experience with the “God Hates Fags” family called Banished: Surviving My Years in the Westboro Baptist Church (Grand Central Publishing, 2013). [Read more...]

From Christian Broadcaster to Thinking Atheist: An Interview with Seth Andrews

Oklahoma, according to Seth Andrews, is known for two things: tornadoes and churches, and the tornadoes are easier to escape. Born into a family of six children, he was raised by devoutly religious parents who lived and taught a literal Bible. It was a life packed with religious discussion and debate—but never questions or doubts.

In his new book, Deconverted: A Journey from Religion to Reason, he talks about those first doubts and takes readers on a deeply personal journey of coming out. He has shared much of that journey on his website, TheThinkingAtheist.com, which he created as his response to his own “childhood indoctrination, the overwhelming wave of religious messages in our society, and the countless throngs who make ridiculous claims and dismiss skeptical voices with warnings of eternal torture.”

One of the missions of American Atheist is to be a handbook of how to come out as a non-believer, how to show someone else the way out, and how to live with the atheist stigma while working to eliminate it from public life. Seth’s story is a valuable page in the handbook. [Read more...]

An Interview with Jack Wu, the Westboro Baptist Church Member Running for Kansas State School Board

The common wisdom about the “God Hates Fags”-believing Westboro Baptist Church is that the congregation consists only of people named Phelps, that it’s all white, and that you can’t really “join” it. Jack Wu can prove all of that wrong in an instant: He was born in Taiwan and began attending the church in 2008: [Read More...]

An Interview with Mary Johnson, a Nun Who Worked Under Mother Teresa and Later Became an Atheist

Twenty years ago, Mary Johnson was a nun. In fact, until 1997, Johnson was serving as a nun under Mother Teresa in the Missionaries of Charity. In her time with the woman excoriated by Christopher Hitchens in The Missionary Position, she travelled Europe, trained other sisters, and studied theology. Since leaving the order, Johnson has [Read More...]

An Interview with the Students Suing to Stop Their City’s Sectarian Prayers

Two months ago, two young atheists filed a lawsuit in Tennessee. They wanted the Hamilton County Commissioners to stop praying — in Jesus’ name, no less — at meetings. They wanted the commission to replace the prayer to with a moment of silence because, in the words of one of the plaintiffs Tommy Coleman: We [Read More...]


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