It is only by pure chance that is it is BAMA HATE week and I came across this post at the Friendly Atheist .
By the way I also suspect The Friendly Atheist does not know it is BAMA HATE WEEK since he probably roots for some hapless school like Illinois.
The post is A Wonderful Series of Articles About Alabama Atheists .
It links a series of article at the AL.COM site written by journalist Erin Edgemon looking at the personal stories of Alabama atheists. I
should note that the Alabama media group has every week interesting stories covering the religion beat and some good reporters that do it very well. Something I think is getting a tad more rare in the GANNETT world we live in . So kudos to them
The articles so far are pretty well done. They don't exactly ask any hard probing question to the atheists but just let them tell their own point of view .
They discuss about what it is like to be an atheist in Bible Belt central from their point of view. There is no doubt many of them have suffered some not so great moments at the hands of Southern Christians sadly.
However this might also should be PARTLY viewed through the lens of the great Southern tradition of exaggeration that they share with their fellow Christian Southerners.
This goes very much so in Alabama were people are very dramatic and trees are poisoned over a football game. There is a reason why Paul Finebaum had a nationwide sports show audience that listened in daily with fascination to listen to this strange breed of Southern callers .
I actually run across this sometimes with my fellow Southern Catholics that if you get them the right audience will talk about being "attacked , or harassed " when the truth is a lot more benign really in most cases.
Case in point the interesting story on Jerald Motyka who was a Church of Christ minister in Louisiana for years. He says :
Motyka grew up Catholic in Wisconsin. As a child, he said he was almost excommunicated from the church for questioning aspects of the religion. “I was told to shut up and sit down,” he said. Later he left the Catholic Church, but remained spiritual as he began a career in the U.S. Army. He got involved in the Church of Christ and threw himself into Bible study so much so that he became an ordained minister.
Well of course it is about likely as Bigfoot existing that as a child he almost got " excommunicated " but again he has perhaps adopted the great Southern way of making a story more interesting .
This story got me thinking of something something Amy Welborn wrote about when the late great Christopher Hitchens attended a very well attended event for atheists in Alabama a few years backs . It was an interesting event and Amy gives her observation here of it at Pity The Neanderthals!
She noted in part
- I watched Hitchens sign books for a while – until I spotted Noah Lett of EWTN in the crowd and went to talk to him. It was pretty entertaining, in an awkward way, to watch the Super Friendly Southern Atheists who were so happy to see Hitchens come around the table to have their pictures taken , fling their arms around him without asking him if it was okay, give him big old hugs, and put their faces right next to his. His expression was so pained – and I don’t think it was the cancer.
I have gotten along fine with many bear hugging good ole boy doubter , agnostics, or atheists from the South. They are not that so hidden as perhaps some believe .
However a good many atheists I read and se seem to be represented by a lot of non Southerners that often have their commentary dripping with a nice bit of cultural and political condescending attitudes .
That has more perhaps to do with their political and cultural upbringing than if God exist.
So it might be good for atheists are stretching their wings in Bama. Perhaps it will add some needed diversity perhaps to the national discussion on other issues that atheist engage in as too politics and other issues.
Anyway a good read and thanks the Friendly Atheist for linking these good articles.