A Reporter Explores Atheism in Alaska, Recounting Her Own Challenges in the Workplace September 18, 2015

A Reporter Explores Atheism in Alaska, Recounting Her Own Challenges in the Workplace

I’ll be speaking in Anchorage, Alaska Saturday night, and there’s a great piece in the Anchorage Press about the talk and what it’s like to be an atheist in a religious society.

Reporter Aurora Ford writes about her own experiences dealing with faith:

The first time it occurred to me that my disinterest in theistic belief structures might get me ostracized from a peer group was on my first day at a new job about 10 years ago. That day, a couple of the bosses took me out to lunch at LaMex near our office in south Anchorage. Our food arrived and I picked up my fork to start eating when my direct supervisor put up a hand to stop me and quietly but firmly corrected me by saying, “Not yet. We haven’t said grace.” I didn’t understand why I needed to pray in order for them to eat, but not wanting to make a bad impression, I remained silent.

How many of you have been in the same situation before? Silence is usually the safe option, and I’ve kept my mouth shut before. But atheists have been silent long enough. Those of us who have the opportunity to criticize religious beliefs where it’s warranted shouldn’t hold back.

The article also touches on the challenges for atheists trying to gather in the state:

The Alaskan Atheist group contains members who don’t consent to being in photos because they are the religious equivalent to being ‘in the closet.’ There is at least one member whose family has not spoken to him since he told them he didn’t believe in God.

This sort of treatment isn’t unique to the state. It happens everywhere, unfortunately, but I also believe that’s changing. If you’re in the Anchorage area, that’s what I’ll talk about at the museum. Hope to see you there.

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