This post is by Jesse Galef, who used to work for the Secular Coalition for America
There’s a slightly different tagline today, as I’ve been laid off from the Secular Coalition. They’re “restructuring” the staff toward a new vision for the future and it didn’t involve me. The reaction when I tell people has generally been surprise and disappointment. A line from Joss Whedon’s excellent Dr. Horrible’s Singalong Blog came to mind: “‘I can’t imagine anybody firing you.’ ‘Neither could I. But now I can visualize it really well.'”
I’m still trying to get over the shock of it and figure out what to do next. I would love to keep working for the cause in some capacity, but the economy isn’t great for nonprofit organizations. Well, the economy isn’t great for anyone, but I get the sense nonprofits are hit especially hard.
I have to say that the atheist community has been incredibly supportive. I’ve gotten comforting facebook messages, texts, and emails from people I’ve known for months, people I just met a week ago at the Atheist Alliance International convention, and even people I’ve only ever interacted with online. I’ve had an incredibly good life so far with no major tragedies, so I tend to forget the power of community. But it’s so helpful to have caring people around when bad things happen.
We atheists are a small – but growing! – minority, and we don’t meet weekly for services. We’re not known for our communities. But that’s changing. I’m lucky to be in the Washington DC area, where there’s the Washington Ethical Society, Beltway Atheists, the Washington Area Secular Humanists, and a ton of local Center for Inquiry things happening. But for people who aren’t in an area with flourishing nontheistic groups, there’s the internet. Online forums such as this site provide a place for us to interact, support each other, and know that we’re not alone.
Thank you, Hemant, for creating such great place, allowing me to be a part of it, and also for giving me a call when you heard.