Seven Reasons to Avoid Joining American Atheists, Even If You Just Must Join Something
1. The word “Atheists” in the name is just too scary, inviting social stigma and worse. You may be right not to join American Atheists, then—but watch out: some of those other groups bandy the word about “carelessly,” too.
2. It’s just too expensive to join a big national group like American Atheists.You may be right not to join American Atheists if you cannot afford $35 a year—but it might also be worth thinking about the value of the group compared to going out to eat or a movie a time or two, or buying that new science fiction thriller in hard-cover, also. Priorities?
3. I’d rather devote my time, talent, and treasure to a local group, one that can do things that matter right where I live, work, and vote.Good for you—effective local groups richly deserve your support—and ours, which they get. We work together with any number of local groups in many ways—backing their activism, publicizing their efforts, and more. It’s probably worth noting that you really don’t have to choose—most activist atheists are members of both local and national groups, for good—if different—reasons.
4. I want to be part of a national group that emphasizes in its name my primary identity as a freethinker or humanist, not as an atheist.Again, good for you if that’s you—other national groups with different emphases have their place, do important work, and deserve your support. We actively and eagerly cooperate with the other national groups, formally and informally. And, again, it’s probably worth noting that you really don’t have to choose—many activist atheists are members of more than one national group, for good reasons. For what it’s worth, I’m a Life Member of three different national atheist/humanist/freethought groups—and so is my wife; and so is my son.
6. I’m not an old straight white male Anglo atheist, and I think that a national group needs to be genuinely diverse, not just devoted to window dressing or token “others.”So do we. We were founded by a woman and have been led by a woman for far more years than by a man. Women, ethnic minorities, Hispanics, LGBT atheists, young and old atheists and others of varied political philosophies and cultural attitudes are well represented among our leadership, board members, and staff. They’re valued for their differing perspectives, their integrity, their quite varied strengths and interests—and this is systemic, not just tacked on as an afterthought or for show.
7. I’m just not sure American Atheists has enough to offer me to make it worth my time and money to join up. Maybe not—we’re not for everyone. But if you’re not sure, spend a minute looking around at atheists.org—we might surprise you. And we think we deserve your support. We would welcome you.