Poll Results and New Poll

I’ve been so bogged down lately with school and work that it has been difficult to get any updates out. I did recently update the sidebar poll though. The question from the previous poll was “Have you ‘come out’ as an atheist or nonbeliever to any of the following?”. The poll ran for just over a month and a half with 224 responses.

  • Spouse/Significant Other – 152 votes
  • Family – 167 votes
  • Clergy – 31 votes
  • Friends – 194 votes
  • Coworkers – 131 votes
  • My closet is just fine, thank you. – 6 votes
  • I’m just waiting for the right time. – 18 votes

The results weren’t really shocking and mirror the experiences of people that I have known and spoken with. The purpose of the poll was to get people thinking about the idea of “coming out” as an atheist or nonbeliever. Living in Alabama, I am the first to admit that there is a huge social stigma involved in this, as I’m sure is the case in many areas, however, the only way to overcome this stigma is to make our numbers known and be vocal in all areas of rationality and freethought.

My new poll ties directly to this concept asking “If you are ‘in the closet’, would you support a Coming Out Week?”. While 18 respondents expressed that they were waiting for the right time, I would like to open the discussion for a unified event that could bring attention (and who knows, maybe some acceptance?) to the viewpoints espoused by atheists, nonbelievers, and freethinkers.

Call to Action: Vote in the poll and leave comments in this post with your statement in defense or opposition of this idea as well as ideas for improvement on the concept.

Contest Winner!

It’s over! Finally, a winner has been chosen in the “Search for Christian Kitsch” contest! It was a tough decision, and when Sarah and I couldn’t come to a consensus, we enlisted the help of a room full of trained marmosets to make the final call.

A fellow free mind at A World Quite Mad submitted the following gem and won themselves a fine Scarlet A t-shirt from The Out Campaign:

I don’t have a picture so a description will have to do. I saw it at a funeral one time (hence why there’s no picture, there’s a time and place for everything and that was neither the time nor the place).

It was, you know how they have those flower arrangements beside the casket, usually on a tripod like thing, and there’s flowers usually in a circular pattern. Well, there was one of them, it was light blue, with blue flowers around it, and in the center was what looked like one of those Playskool rotary telephones, it was plastic, three dimensional, and the words written next to it were ‘Jesus Called’. I’m not even joking.


New Poll: “Coming Out”

I have just posted a new poll in the left sidebar about “coming out of the (atheist) closet” to those close to them. I did a quick search online for a “National Atheist Coming Out Day” type occurence, and I found a few scattered dates, but nothing consistent. I would like to kind of gauge how many readers have come out and to whom.

If you have any more information on any coordinated “coming out” days, please let me know.

Religious Intolerance in the Military

Gov’t wants atheist soldier’s lawsuit dismissed

I know this news is a bit old, but I feel it should not stop being discussed until it is resolved. Being made to feel uncomfortable in society because of my differences in beliefs with my peers is nothing I am a stranger to. Annoying, yes, but I forge on. When you are in the military though, you should not have to endure the demeaning nagging of evangelical fundamentalists.

With the impending repeal of the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy concerning openly gay individuals serving in the military, I think added significance should be given to Spc. Jeremy Hall’s situation. Obviously, people are starting to realize that one should not be forced to hide their sexuality to serve their country in the military, so why should someone have to hide their lack of religiosity in order to serve (without harassment)?

I realize they are different situations. Atheists are not forbidden from serving in the military, but you are almost certainly in for a rough ride. If you decide that you want to join the military and potentially give your life in its defense, it is not too much to ask that others keep their noses out of your business.

This reminds me very much of the story of a British sailor who faced unnecessary media criticism for wishing to be recognized by the Royal Navy as a Satanist. Leading Hand Chris Cranmer, had to make his case before a panel to achieve religious recognition in order to ensure that his funeral be carried out in accordance with his beliefs. Luckily for him, the Royal Navy is a tad more progressive than the United States Navy.

I was affiliated with the U.S. Air Force at the time this story broke. My detachment displayed a bulletin board with current events related to military units around the world. Leading Hand Cranmer’s story made it to the board. I happened to be reading the story at the same time as another individual in my detachment. Upon completing, she shook her head and made a throaty, guttural sound as if to say, “the nerve of these freaks.” I immediately engaged her, though I had to choose my words carefully, as she was a higher-ranking and I was a closet atheist.

She seemed to think that proper funeral practices should only be extended to people from “normal” religions. I tried to explain to her that LaVeyan Satanism was not the baby-killing, goat-sacrificing belief system that she thought it was. She rebutted that she had written a paper on Satanism, and that I was wrong as well as naive.

Unfortunately, I had to end the conversation at that point. But why? Why did I feel that I had to stifle my First Amendment right to freedom of speech. I would have loved to have continued to have a civilized conversation on this topic (though I’m quite certain Ms. Thang would have introduced incivility rather quickly), but the fear of being seen as insubordinate and the fear of retribution silenced me.

Thus is the plight of the most hated and reviled minority in the United States.