Southern Atheists Unite!

super_skeptic_Dixie_picI could use your help with something.  David Silverman over at American Atheists has announced that next year’s big national convention will be held in Memphis, TN, which is Deep South territory.  But I’m discovering that getting the word out to groups of skeptics around this region is really difficult!  For one thing, “freethinkers” don’t care much for joining groups, and even after they start one, they aren’t big into networking with other groups.  Too independent, I guess.  In any given large city like Atlanta, there may be a dozen atheist/secularist groups but they don’t always communicate with each other except when members who belong to more than one group intentionally pass things along.  Then to make matters more difficult, many atheist groups in the Bible Belt are completely “secret,” which means they’re not even “searchable” on Google or in Facebook.  You would have to know somebody already in the group to get in.  This causes a problem, and not just for promoting conferences.  It causes a problem for anyone wanting to connect a friend with other like-minded people in his or her region.  So what can we do?

I would like to start intentionally connecting groups across the Deep South so that information and contacts can flow more freely between them.  I’d like to see a list of groups with contact information for both the ones which are “open” and the ones which are “hidden.”  Surely there must be someone even in the mostly-closeted groups who is “out” enough to be identified, right?  Just one?  That’s all we need.  That person can then be the gatekeeper who makes sure people don’t get in who don’t really belong there.

Do you know of any pre-existing lists or databases like this which are easy to access?  Would you please include a link below in the comments or else email them to me?  Also, if you belong to a group of freethinkers in the Bible Belt, would you please contact me or include contact info for them in the comments?  I will create a new tab on my site for people looking to connect to a group in the Deep South.  I would also like to start a Southern Atheist subreddit, as long as I can find a couple of people with enough time on their hands to help moderate such a thing as it gets bigger over time.

So what do you say?  Care to help me out?

(Check out this page in the future for a list of groups)

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20 Responses to Southern Atheists Unite!

  1. vjack says:

    Sounds like a great idea. There was something sort of like this a few years ago, but I think it was abandoned. The few groups I am aware of in MS use Meetup.com to connect.

  2. Graciebaddog says:

    This has been bugging me. We need a data base for the groups not just the individuals. Along with that I always wondered about some sort of Atheist Yellow Pages for folks who want to support non-theist businesses. I could also serve as place for speakers to advertise to groups who are looking for speakers.

    I’d be happy to work on a list of Atlanta Groups for you.

  3. Tad Beaty says:

    We’re in. Chattanooga Humanist Assembly. I’d been starting down this road also but I hadn’t gotten far yet.

  4. mikespeir says:

    ‘Then to make matters more difficult, many atheist groups in the Bible Belt are completely “secret,”’

    I’m sure there must be other atheists in Vernon, Texas, but we’re all hiding under rocks.

  5. T.S. says:

    I live in deep, deep south Georgia. I’d be pretty shocked to learn there were groups in my area, but I’ll spread this out across my networks to see if other people know anything.

  6. T.S. says:

    Reblogged this on Constant Consciousness and commented:
    This is a pretty cool idea if it can be pulled off.

  7. Alan Burns says:

    I am a sophmore in high school with ery christian parents who would love to go, but I don’t belong to any group.

  8. Michael says:

    I wish you luck. I have been looking for a group to join locally but have been unable to find one. I will be checking back to see if you have any luck.

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  10. gaylejordan says:

    Murfreesboro Tennessee checking in — our group is open (but a few of our members use aliases on the Meetup page)
    http://www.meetup.com/Murfreesboro-Freethinkers/
    We have a Bookclub, a quarterly Newcomers’ Welcome, and a monthly Pub Night.
    Thanks for putting this together!
    (If the link doesn’t survive the posting, we’re a Meetup Group with the name Murfreesboro Freethinkers.)

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  13. vjack says:

    I’m not at all confident that this is current or has been updated recently, but this might help: http://www.sauceforall.com/groups/

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  16. Janey greene says:

    Sorry to be pedantic, but Tennessee is not the Deep South. It is the mid- south.

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