What will $20.00 buy you?
Twenty bucks. How far does it go in our economy? To some, twenty bucks is a considerable amount of money. To others, it’s little more than spare change. For twenty dollars you can get a halfway decent shirt or a pair of jeans at a discount store. You can eat dinner and a very moderately priced restaurant. You can buy a book by a world-famous author (or a not-so-world-famous author). You can put about six gallons of gas in your car. Truth is, you can buy a lot of things with twenty dollars. Nothing wrong at all with spending it on the above mentioned things, either. It’s your money, and you are free to spend it on anything you like and nobody should give you any grief about it. But, I have a suggestion for you.
Join American Atheists, Inc.
Why? Because every single day I receive news feeds from multiple sources about clear and present violations to the separation clause of the First Amendment by national, state and local politicians, by school boards, by employers and a host of other persons, institutions and organizations. Because we have an obligation to protect ourselves. Because we are the most hated people in the country by virtue of the fact that we choose not to believe in god. Because we are constantly harassed, discriminated against and threatened.
* Since 1963, American Atheists has been the premier organization laboring for the civil liberties of atheists and the total, absolute separation of government and religion. It was born out of a court case begun in 1959 by the Murray family which challenged prayer recitation in the public schools. That case, Murray v. Curlett, was a landmark in American jurisprudence on behalf of our First Amendment rights. It began:
“Your petitioners are atheists, and they define their lifestyle as follows. An atheist loves himself and his fellow man instead of a god. An atheist accepts that heaven is something for which we should work now – here on earth – for all men together to enjoy. An atheist accepts that he can get no help through prayer, but that he must find in himself the inner conviction and strength to meet life, to grapple with it, to subdue it and to enjoy it. An atheist accepts that only in a knowledge of himself and a knowledge of his fellow-man can he find the understanding that will help lead to a life of fulfillment.”
Now in its fourth decade, American Atheists is dedicated to working for the civil rights of atheists, promoting separation of state and church, and providing information about atheism.
The organization was founded by Madalyn Murray O’Hair, the noted atheist activist, as the result of her successful battle against mandatory school prayer and Bible recitation. Over the last thirty years, American Atheists has:
- Fought fervently to defend the separation of religion from government
- Appeared in all forms of media to defend our positions and criticisms of religion and mythology
- Held atheist conventions and gatherings throughout the United States, including “Atheist Pride” marches in state capitals
- Demonstrated and picketed throughout the country on behalf of atheist rights and state/church separation. The organization has marched to defend the rights of intellectuals such as writer Salman Rushdie, protested the use of government funds to support public religious displays, and conducted the first picket of a Roman Catholic pope in history
- Published over 120 books about atheism, criticism of religion, and state/church separation
- Published newsletters, magazines, and member alerts
- Built a broad outreach in cyberspace with mailing lists, an ftp and web site, FaxNet, and other projects to keep members and the general public informed
- Fostered a growing network of representatives throughout the nation who monitor important First Amendment issues and work on behalf of the organization in their areas
- Grown a network of volunteers who perform a variety of important tasks in their community, from placing American Atheist books in libraries to writing letters and publicizing the atheist perspective
- Preserved atheist literature and history in the nation’s largest archive of its kind. The library’s holdings span over three hundred years of atheist thought. Provided speakers for colleges, universities, clubs, and the news media
- Granted college scholarships to young atheist activists
* From the American Atheists, Inc., website.
I know it is difficult to organize us. We’ve all heard the axiom that “organizing atheists is like herding cats.” But it doesn’t have to be that way. Atheists come from all walks of life. Democrat, Republican, Libertarian, Socialist, black, white, Native American, Asian and just about every other combination you can think of. We do, however, have one thing in common, and that is our desire to keep the wall of separation between church and state as high and impenetrable as humanly possible. American Atheists, Inc., does not affiliate with any political party and certainly does not discriminate between race, sexuality or anything else. They do one thing, and do it extremely well.
As is stated on their website:
American Atheists, Inc. is a nonprofit, nonpolitical, educational organization dedicated to the complete and absolute separation of state and church, accepting the explanation of Thomas Jefferson that the First Amendment to the Constitution of the United States was meant to create a “wall of separation” between state and church.
American Atheists, Inc., is organized
- to stimulate and promote freedom of thought and inquiry concerning religious beliefs, creeds, dogmas, tenets, rituals, and practices;
- to collect and disseminate information, data, and literature on all religions and promote a more thorough understanding of them, their origins, and their histories;
- to advocate, labor for, and promote in all lawful ways the complete and absolute separation of state and church;
- to advocate, labor for, and promote in all lawful ways the establishment and maintenance of a thoroughly secular system of education available to all;
- to encourage the development and public acceptance of a humane ethical system stressing the mutual sympathy, understanding, and interdependence of all people and the corresponding responsibility of each individual in relation to society;
- to develop and propagate a social philosophy in which humankind is central and must itself be the source of strength, progress, and ideals for the well-being and happiness of humanity;
- to promote the study of the arts and sciences and of all problems affecting the maintenance, perpetuation, and enrichment of human (and other) life;
- to engage in such social, educational, legal, and cultural activity as will be useful and beneficial to the members of American Atheists and to society as a whole.
- Atheism may be defined as the mental attitude which unreservedly accepts the supremacy of reason and aims at establishing a life-style and ethical outlook verifiable by experience and scientific method, independent of all arbitrary assumptions of authority and creeds.
By joining American Atheists, you will be supporting an institution that has tirelessly fought for us for over forty years. It shows that you care about taking a stand for Reason, civil liberties for Atheists, and the total, absolute separation of church and state. And the cost of membership is tax-deductible and you’ll get a beautiful Certificate of Membership suitable for framing signed personally by the President of American Atheists, David Silverman. Membership also comes with:
- Participation in our on-line discussion group, AACHAT.
- Participation in our special “Atheist Singles” program.
- A special 10% discount on ALL books and products offered through American Atheists Press.
- A special discount when you present your Membership Card for registration at American Atheist Conventions, Regional Atheist Meets and other select activities.
- A subscription to the American Atheists Magazine – a leading source of news about AA activism and First Amendment issues.
- Eligibility in the new American Atheists Scholarship Program. The Scholarships will provide generations of American Atheist families with funds, and help to defer costly education expenses.
- Members of American Atheists benefit from our Savings Partners program of discounts on goods and services from both local and national businesses.
- And there’s a special gift waiting for you when you join American Atheists.
By joining American Atheists, you will be making a major contribution in helping to protect civil liberties for Atheists. As an atheist, you have rights.
- You have the right to say no to mythology and religion, and to realize they are one and the same.
- You have the right to all the information you need to make an informed decision about mythology.
- You have the right to raise your child as an Atheist, free of shame, fear, or embarrassment
- You have the right to send your children to public schools knowing they will not be taught mythology as truth or science.
- You have the right NOT to pay higher taxes to compensate for those with religion-based Tax Exempt Status (every church, synagogue, and mosque in the country, scientologists and Moonies, too).
- You have the right to a voice in politics, and for your elected officials to hear you LOUD AND CLEAR
- You have the right to any job in our government, from School Board to President.
- You have the right to a secular government that takes no stand on religion except to prohibit religion’s intrusion into itself or your life.
- You have the right to a government that does not advance religion, fund religion, or depend on religion for guidance.
- You have the right to be an American Atheist.
Oh, and by the way, it only costs $20.00. Yeah, twenty bucks can still go very far in today’s economy. JOIN HERE, and tell them that Al Stefanelli sent you. No, I don’t get any special treatment for this, nor do I get paid for signing people up. I do, however, get a sense of satisfaction that another free-thinking individual has decided to support what I believe to be the greatest atheist organization on the planet.
Georgia State Director
American Atheists, Inc.
PO Box 3531
Peachtree City, GA 30269