Black atheists are coming out of the closet

Black atheists are coming out of the closet May 29, 2009
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Just like the saying, “there are no atheists in foxholes,” it is often said, “there are no black atheists.” I know my friend Reggie (The Infidel Guy), has joked about being the token black guy at atheist gatherings. He is our Lando (Chasing Amy reference). By the way, congratulations to Reggie for celebrating 10 years of atheist podcasting.

This is also why I was proud to feature the Black Freethought group on Atheist Nexus (it boasts 96 members). This is a great group for people who are interested to learn about the rich history of atheism in the black community.


The L.A. Watts Times has posted a great article about this very issue. It is written by Sikivu Hutchinson. Here are some of the highlights, but it is well worth reading her article:

In some black communities it’s akin to donning a white sheet and a Confederate flag. In others, it’s ostensibly tolerated yet whispered about, branded culturally incorrect and bad form, if not outright sacrilege.

For black atheists like myself, proclaiming one’s non-belief amidst genial wishes to “have a blessed day” is never easy in the seemingly innocuous context of casual chit chat between black folk.


Although African Americans are not visible in the “movement,” some are easing away from religion. For black atheists, actively breaking with religious tradition is an even graver rejection than that of white intellectuals electrified by the “pew-storming” rhetoric of atheist gurus such as Christopher Hitchens or Richard Dawkins.


Yet, in this, the most swaggeringly liberal humanist of all nations, “coming out” as an atheist in a culture that parades religious dogma as a substitute for true morality may be the final frontier.

Brother Richard


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