I recently discovered a group that puts a big smile on my face. They're called African Americans For Humanism. They use the tagline "Doubts about religion? You're one of many." Their About page speaks volumes. It begins:
African Americans may be the nation's most religious minority, but the churches and religious leaders don’t speak for many of us.
Today as in the past, many African Americans question religion and religious institutions. More and more of us stand for reason over faith. Freethought over authority. Critical thinking in place of superstition. Many of us are nonreligious; some are nontheistic.
This, to me, is a wonderful thing to see. For the majority of our nation's history, African Americans we first slaves, then at best a marginalized and discriminated against minority. Even now, in 2012, there are still a great many struggles over race in America. During the time of slavery, the slave masters not only shackled their slaves physically, but also spiritually, indoctrinating them into the Christian religion as a means to control people who were purposely kept uneducated so as not to question teachings such as this.
In this country, there have been some hallmark civil rights battles throughout its history. The first were the African Americans, and the predominant argument FOR slavery and discrimination came from the religious institutions. Then there was the women's rights movement. What was the argument for women being subject only to the will of men? You guessed it...from the bible. Today we see the same pattern revisited with the LGBT community in their civil rights struggle.
When you look at the social stage in America today, what do you see? African Americans are a deeply religious culture, due in large part to the indoctrination of their ancestors. What group is shown to be the largest opponent to LGBT rights? Middle class white women, a group marginalized as no more than live in maids and mothers in the very recent past, and still fighting battles on many fronts themselves. Greta Christina discussed how vitriolic LGBT Christians can be to an Atheist, when the atheist community is one of the most vocal supporters of the LGBT community.
When will people open their eyes and see that religion is in the business of marginalizing peoples and inhibiting civil rights, not only in America, but worldwide?
In the spirit of this topic and the wonderful thing that is an African Atheist movement, there are a couple other African America voices in the freethought community that I'd like to share.
The Black Atheist blog is a brilliant and well written blog that exemplifies what we can do when we leave behind those final, hardest to lose shackles...religious beliefs.
The other is Greydon Square. He's an amazing rap artist within the scientific skepticism and atheist community. His lyrics speak volumes about the history, struggle and the need for atheism within the African American Community. Admittedly and proudly, I'm a huge fan.
I hope this gives you some food for thought and that everyone in our small but ever growing community will support fully the African American atheist movement. It's needed.
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