Meeting of the Atheist Minds Recap February 5, 2007

Meeting of the Atheist Minds Recap

I’m back from the 3rd annual meeting of the atheist leaders across the country. (And no, they’re not all “atheists” but I’m just ignoring label differences right now.)

Like so many of these types of get-togethers, it’s hard to get everyone to agree on anything, but I did like one major idea that was proposed.

On the National Day of Prayer, many secular groups choose to participate in the National Day of Reason. This year, let’s get as many groups as possible to promote actions over words.

One way to do this is to donate blood.

Let me use the words of Ken Bronstein of the New York-based Center for Atheism who has been doing this for years:

Blood is a simple way that any secular person can observe the Day of Reason in a positive way. Everyone can take part: There is no marching or picketing, no placards to make or carry, no permit is necessary, there is no confrontation with authorities or the religious community. We call our blood donation program B.L.O.O.D., an acronym for Benefiting Lives Of Others Donations, and we intend to do it every year on the Day of Reason.

To start your own B.L.O.O.D. program, it’s simple. Here’s what you do: 1) Find your local blood bank. 2) Phone the blood bank to make arrangements for a group donation. 3) Notify your local newspaper, TV and other media that your group is doing this and why. It’s simple, it’s positive, it’s effective. Join us in our Positive Protest against the Day of Prayer!

This year, on the Day of Reason (May 3rd), get your friends together and do something positive. We can compile what everyone is doing and share this information. These activities will do more to help others than anything prayer can achieve.

If you’re part of a national secular organization, write your leaders and find out what they are planning to do. Blood donation isn’t the only option. But let’s get the point across: Don’t wish for it. Do it. Help the community around you.

There were some other ideas proposed and we’ll see in the coming weeks how much traction they’ll receive:

  • Having a Freethought holiday (well, a Freethought “day,” anyway…).
  • Sharing litigation information across like-minded groups. Let’s be on the same page on what our groups are doing and where they need help.
  • Sharing educational resources.
  • Encouraging open identity as a non-religious person instead of petty arguments over whether a person is “atheist” or “Humanist” or what-have-you.

And my personal favorite:

  • Starting a Humanist sperm bank.

That one was a joke… I think.

Outside of those goals, there was a lot of discussion on what we could be and should be doing. There were also some interesting presentations: One was about early 20th century African-American history (Surprisingly, the black leaders of the time were almost all non-religious), there was a panel discussion on lawsuits, and Michelle Goldberg, author of Kingdom Coming: The Rise of Christian Nationalism, discussed what we are up against.

[tags]atheist, atheism, National Day of Prayer, National Day of Reason, Ken Bronstein, New York, Center for Atheism, Benefiting Lives Of Others Donations, Freethought, litigation, non-religious, Humanist, Humanism, African-American, Michelle Goldberg, Kingdom Coming: The Rise of Christian Nationalism[/tags]

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