First Official Meeting May 8th

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Our first official meeting will take place at The Willow Tree Coffeehouse and Music Room at 216 E. Main St, Johnson City, TN at 6PM. Please RSVP your coming to the meeting: www.meetup.com/Tri-Cities-Atheist-Society/events/179080442/ You will be able to order food and Drink and then at 8PM, you can stick around for some LIVE music from Mark Schimick and Billy Constable. There is a cover charge, but it won’t be much.

If you are wanting your voice heard, then this is the meeting to attend. And if you want to help spread the word, you can print out this flier and pass them out to all your friends and/or acquaintances. Just click on it to see full size version. Right click and save or print. Thanks for your help!

meeting flier

Legislation Could Allow for Preaching in Schools without Discrimination

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This is a month old, but this is something we need to keep an eye out for. It is my opinion that this is going to cause a lot of problems with separation of church and state as they are allowing express their religion open without repercussion. Now, you can already proclaim your faith in school, you just can’t preach it, but with this new legislation, it will allow kids to proselytize on paper and spoken word in the classroom. This is just another step toward getting the religious right in control of our schools!  Let’s hope the Governor has enough sense to shoot it down.

March 24th, 2014 6:00 am by Associated Press

NASHVILLE — A proposal that would give students free religious expression is headed to the governor for his consideration.

The Senate approved the measure 32-0 on Monday. It overwhelmingly passed the House 90-2 earlier this month.

Under the proposal, a student could express beliefs about religion in homework, artwork and other written and oral assignments free from discrimination based on the religious content.

Sponsors say the legislation was proposed after a 10-year-old student was given an assignment to write about the person she most admires and she chose God. The teacher asked her to choose another subject.

The legislation would also allow a student to organize student prayer groups and other religious gatherings to the same degree that students are permitted to organize noncurricular activities and groups.

Read more: Tennessee Senate OKs school religious expression measure | Johnson City Press http://www.johnsoncitypress.com/article/115827/senate-oks-religious-expression-measure#ixzz30K5H5eB2
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Unbiased Opposition to Religion

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I wrote this last night before going to bed and with all the other articles I submitted, I was surprised to see this one posted on TimesNews.net. Here is the full article:

 

In this day and age, our world seems preoccupied with being offended by each other’s religion or lack thereof. 

Christian claims to be persecuted, even though they are a majority and have their fingers in everything they can grasp. They think, just because we modeled our country on Christian principles, we are a Christian country, but we are not. Most of our founding fathers were Deists when they wrote the Constitution. They even declared it in the Treaty of Tripoli that, “As the Government of the United States of America is not, in any sense, founded on the Christian religion; as it has in itself no character of enmity against the laws, religion, or tranquility, of Musselmen; and as the said States never have entered into any war or act of hostility against any Mehomitan nation, it is declared by the parties that no pretext arising from religious opinions shall ever produce an interruption of the harmony existing between the two countries.” The Senate approved the treaty on June 7, 1797, and officially ratified by the Senate with John Adams’ signature on June 10, 1797. Beyond this, the Christians here in America still think they are entitled to impose their beliefs on anyone and anything. 

Islam says they are the true religion and was modeled off the bible 1,400-plus years ago. They also have laws in place that make it OK to still stone individuals, mutilate genitalia, behead blasphemers and commit suicide killings all in the name of Allah. They claim to have scientific truths in their Quran, but just because a lot of science came from Arabic background, does not mean their science is correct. Mohammad said the earth was “egg-shaped,” but we all know that the earth is an oblate spheroid. Many other misconceptions can be debunked easily with just a little research using Google.

Many others are small and keep quiet, because of fear of retribution from Christianity and Islam. Most non-believers are put to death in other countries where fundamentalist religions are predominant, such as Saudi Arabia. The King has declared any thoughts outside of Islam to be terrorism. This includes Atheism and any other religion that is not Islam. Christianity is not as bad, but was in the past. Christianity itself is not killing people, but it is telling us what we can and cannot do with our human and civil rights. That is just as bad as death to some people.

Most wars in history can be tied to religious beliefs. The Crusades, our Civil Wars, World War II, and many others, even the ones Christians bring up using Stalin, Mao and Pol Pot, atheistic totalitarian dictators whose people didn’t believe in what they did, but followed their orders from fear of death.

All of this is generalization and not everyone who holds a specific belief can be said to fall into these statements, but there are many out there who do. These individuals, we call fundamentalists, are the ones who are doing the most damage to our world. They infect others like a virus and spread misinformation to gather more followers with their blatant disregard for whether it is true or not. You can compare this to those who believe everything in tabloids.

The problem with religion is that it is NOT needed today. You can have your beliefs, but when it comes to banding together and telling others what they should and should not do, it is a violation of our rights. 

If you want to believe there is an invisible, all knowing, all powerful man in the sky who looks over you and comforts you with double standards, go ahead. But when those beliefs tell another person what they can and cannot do with their own body or whether they can be married or whether they are a moral person or not, they have overstepped their boundaries.

Religion is a blight on humanity and it will be its downfall if we allow it to continue. There is a solution to this problem, but as the saying goes, “Ignorance is bliss.”

We need to educate people. If people want religion taught in school, it cannot be just one specific religion, as in the case of Christianity in America. It must be all religions. A critical mind is developed through the understanding of everything, not just one specific topic. We need to keep religion from pulling us backwards with its conjecture and speculation. Faith is defined as belief without evidence and therefore cannot be considered knowledge. To have knowledge, the prior belief must be established with evidence to back it up. A good example of this is, I don’t believe the earth is round, I KNOW it is round. We have evidence to prove it is. There is NO evidence religion is true.

Many people of faith will claim their holy books to be evidence because they contain historical places, people and events, but so does, “Abraham Lincoln, Vampire Hunter” by Seth Grahame-Smith. Does that make it true? No, it is still fiction, just as the Bible and Quran are.

If we are going to grow in this world and make it a better place, we will need to end religion and its destructive hold. Keep your beliefs, but make them personal. If you don’t like hearing other individuals talk about their faith or disbelief, how do you think they feel about yours? 

There will always be an opposition to religion as long as it is around. So either quit trying to impose your beliefs on others or deal with the consequences of your beliefs. It is up to you.

Read more: Unbiased opposition to religion | Kingsport Times-News http://www.timesnews.net/article/9076238/unbiased-opposition-to-religion#ixzz30DdQX77M
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Prayer breakfast to honor ministers should NOT happen

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It is my opinion that there should NOT be a National Day of Prayer, nor should there be a Prayer Breakfast hosted by the Mayor of Kingsport, TN. The city says they are not using tax payer dollars to fund this, but they are using city resources to promote it. That, I would declare, is clear violation of separation of church and state and the Freedom From Religion Foundation even tried to intervene at last years event. Why would you need one day a year to promote your prayer when you do it all year long? You can read the full article below:

April 19th, 2014 7:54 pm by Matthew Lane

KINGSPORT — Mayor Dennis Phillips is inviting the public to attend an annual prayer breakfast on May 1 to thank the many outstanding ministers who serve the residents of the Greater Kingsport area every single day.

The Mayor’s Prayer Breakfast will be held at the Kingsport Civic Auditorium on May 1 in conjunction with the 63nd annual observance of the National Day of Prayer.

“The primary theme is to honor the ministers who serve the city … who do an outstanding job on a daily basis,” Phillips said. “We’re not going to have any ministers work or participate. I want them all to come and enjoy it without the pressure of having to do anything and let us say thank you for what you do everyday for the citizens of this city.”

The event is free to the public, but those wishing to eat should purchase the $6.50 ticket at the Kingsport Chamber of Commerce (400 Clinchfield St.) or at the door on the day of the event. Senior ministers will receive a free breakfast as a guest of the mayor.

Breakfast begins at 7:30 a.m. with music from The Potters, an old-time gospel group. The program begins at 8 a.m. and will include prayers for the city, state and nation, the local business community, elected officials and the education community. Between prayers, The Potters will continue with hymns and city employees and community leaders will engage in scripture readings.

In previous years the mayor’s prayer breakfast has been well attended, topping more than 600 in the past couple of years. Phillips said he believes at least 400 people will show up this year.

The Mayor’s Prayer Breakfast has been held in Kingsport for more than a decade and Phillips has attended since being elected in 2005. The National Day of Prayer began in 1952 and is a day designated by the United States Congress when people are asked “to turn to God in prayer and meditation.”

Last year, the event drew some criticism from the Freedom from Religion Foundation, based in Madison, Wis., which sent a letter to Phillips urging him to immediately stop using city resources and taxpayer funds to plan, organize and promote the prayer breakfast. The foundation called Phillips’ participation in the annual event a serious constitutional concern.

Phillips, a member of First Presbyterian Church in downtown Kingsport, said he disagrees, noting no one is required to attend the prayer breakfast and no city funds are spent on the event.

“I think Christians have just as much right as anyone else and part of that is, one day a year set aside for the National Day of Prayer and as mayor I’m proud Kingsport observes it,” Phillips said. “I don’t think my taking one day a year to do this is the greatest sin I could commit.”

Read more: Prayer breakfast to honor ministers | Kingsport Times-News http://www.timesnews.net/article/9075909/prayer-breakfast-to-honor-ministers#ixzz309umwNzl
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Welcome to our 1st blog entry!

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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!

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