I guess this should be a formal introduction for the Tri Cities Atheist Society, but I have been too serious with the construction of this group so far. So I will try to inject a little humor into this entry. Let’s see what happens!
There are many atheist groups in the Tri Cities, but they are no where near what this organization is trying to do. They have put the proverbial foot in the door and gathered a lot of closet atheists along with a few outspoken ones, but they have failed to accomplish what they set out to do. This is not their fault completely. They are somewhat afraid of the repercussions from their family, friends, coworkers and employers if they state their disbelief. This is a problem many atheists face in the entire world, but I am just focusing on one particular region called the Tri Cities which has 3 major cities, Johnson City, Kingsport & Bristol (which is on the TN/VA border). There are many smaller cities in this region which also have a few non believers and all this is inside what is called the Bible Belt.
There is great concern for how people will react and treat others, but not as much as one would assume. I have been in the Bristol, VA area for 2 years, but lived in Abingdon, VA for 3 years before that and I have yet to see anything completely negatively influenced by religion. But I have no kids, although I work with them, so I do not know what goes on in the school system. I do not get in trouble, so I have no knowledge of the courts. I don’t have cable or read the newspaper, so I do not know all the current events. I have not been to any city meetings, so I do not know what goes on in our local government. With all that being said, does it mean there is not a need for an Atheist organization in our area? NO!!! We do need one, especially with the way our federal government is being imposed upon by the religious right.
This organizations purpose is to be proactive with opposition to that religious right and maintaining a peaceful atmosphere in our area with education and understanding of what atheism is and who we are. This will be achieved through meetings that will take place once or twice a month, setting up booths at local festivals and events, providing charitable and community services, organizing our own events and many more avenues that will allow us to get the word out that we are “Good without God”. If need be, which we hope will never happen, we will oppose the religious right through legal means using local and outside sources such as the ACLU, Freedom From Religion Foundation, American Atheists and many more. We hope to be able, as a collective of rational thinkers made up of a wide variety of individuals and professionals, find peaceful solutions to any issues that might arise. We do not picket or protest the way theists do. We do not preach or proselytize our non beliefs. We do voice our strong opinions, based on facts provided through evidence and knowledge, just as the theists proclaim. It is only right as they have the constitutional freedom to spread their ignorance using the 1st Amendment, so we have the the same rights to confront it.
The entries here and the posts on our Facebook Page will all contain issues ONLY from our local area. We are having our first meeting on May 8th at 6pm at a location TBA. You can find out more about it here. This meeting is for atheists and agnostics ONLY. If you are a theist reading this and plan on coming to the meeting to protest, preach or proselytize, you will be escorted from location politely.
As time goes on, the organization will grow and the information we provide will be quite substantial and educational and maybe a little controversial. We will just have to see.
Oh yeah, I was going to inject some humor. Jesus walks in to a bar with 3 nails and asks the bartender… “Can I get 2 fingers of scotch on the rocks? The Conservatives disregard my teachings they claim they are following! Fuck them!”
Okay, I am sorry. No more jokes from me!