Fort Wayne Atheists Featured in Newspaper August 1, 2009

Fort Wayne Atheists Featured in Newspaper

There’s a nice article about atheists in the Fort Wayne (Indiana) Journal Gazette by Rosa Salter Rodriguez.

Not surprisingly, it features FreeThought Fort Wayne:

For several months, [Joel] Klinepeter says, he thought he was alone in the universe, let alone Fort Wayne. Raised in an evangelical Christian home headed by a father who was an ordained minister, Klinepeter knew well what a prominent role religion played in Fort Wayne life.

But then he found FreeThought Fort Wayne, a group that bills itself as “a community of people who want to live without religious belief.”

One nice touch to the piece is that it tells the stories of group members — stories other non-theists may share — who have to put up with a lot in that religious environment:

Katie Ward, 28, of Fort Wayne remembers the reaction at a play group when she declared not only that she didn’t go to church but she had not had her daughter baptized.

Another mother looked at her, aghast, she recalls. “She said, ‘Well, are you going to get her baptized? Because if you’re not, she’s going to hell.’ That was the last time we went to that play group,” Ward says.

That’s how I make friends: I tell strangers that their children will suffer for eternity. It’s fun. You should all try it sometime.

By the way, the story appeared on the front page of the Living section of the paper. I’m sure it was a nice wake up call to subscribers in the “City of Churches” 🙂

(Thanks to Danny for the link!)

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  • Danny

    It makes me happy to see that the story I sent made it on the website. Thanks for posting this so that others can be aware! Hopefully some other non-believers in Fort Wayne that may not read the paper come here so they can see they’re not alone in this city. I don’t always like living in Fort Wayne much but it made me happy to see this in the paper this morning.

  • Hemant,

    Thanks for the post! We’re lucky to get such a positive reception — defintiely much better than many of us anticipated. Next time you come through Indiana, please let us know — we’d love to have you come by!

    -Andy Welfle
    FreeThought Fort Wayne

  • I love this explanation of who FreeThought Fort Wayne is:

    “a community of people who want to live without religious belief.”

    Simple, yet non-threatening. Well, unless you are a freaky ass religion nutjob who can’t live with themselves that there are people promoting non-belief.

  • Indiana atheists are just on a roll lately! Woo!

    I’m not sure what’s up with the Lafayette newspapers. We’ve barely gotten any coverage, no matter how many news tips I send them… Failure =(

  • She said, ‘Well, are you going to get her baptized? Because if you’re not, she’s going to hell.’

    That’s right. Their god is that big an asshat that he’d curse an infant with eternal torture because some water wasn’t splashed on them. People like this are as superstitious and ridiculous as the Nigerians that kill witches.

  • ChesterBogus

    Firefly used to be my hangout back in high school. That coffee shop has always attracted a really bizarre variety of people.

    Totally not surprised that the Free Thinkers ended up there. It’s the best place in town to talk about these kinds of things.

    Also: ACPL are awesome.

  • valdemar

    This seems odd to me as a Brit, because the odd thing here is to be in a church or other religious body. British atheists don’t really need a special place we can go to where we won’t feel persecuted by Christians.

    Well, actually there’s the pub…

  • Agreed. As I fellow Brit I can vouch 4 that. I moved to st Louis to marry my long term girlfriend, and the difference between middle America and home is shocking and horrifying. Pro-life road signs. Jesus adverts on tv and billboards. And a concentrated amount of hatred towards atheist folk. I feel sorry for all American born atheists. Your struggle is truely one of the hardest. But I’m with you 110% of the way.

  • I am originally from Fort Wayne, lived there for 25 years. I am very pleased to see this!