My first non-believer convention
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04-05-2014, 09:04 AM
My first non-believer convention
So, this weekend, I attended the Freedom from Religion Conference in Raleigh, NC. Having only very recently deconverted, this was my first official conference of non-believers. I learned a lot about activism and about support resources available to atheists and agnostics. I heard some very personal stories both from the speakers and from other attendees. Being in an entire room full of like minded people and being able to speak freely to everyone was very refreshing. I could read my copy of "Coming out Atheist" in the lobby without worrying about being judged. I did halfway expect to have to push through protestors to get in, or even be harassed or given poor service by hotel staff. I had even thought of how I would handle it, and what I would say, but at least in my experience, no one was confrontational or condescending in any way. There was also an LGBTQ event called Out! Raleigh going on the same weekend. I joked that between the godless heathens and the LGBTQs, Raleigh was a writhing mass of godless sin, and would surely be struck by lightening! Laugh out load

I think most people were unaware of our conference, but there was some protest over the LGBTQ event. It was massively overshadowed by the sense of fun, support, and community though. Thumbsup Another attendee said there was a man with his little girl proselytizing on a street corner, and apparently there was a ranting crazy street preacher well known to students at NC State and other colleges. I remember him well from my college days. His name is Gary Birdsong. YouTube him if you want a chuckle. On the way to lunch, I got handed a pamphlet with the equality symbol on it. I took one, assuming it was actually about marriage equality, but when I opened it up, it was a gospel tract proclaiming the we were all 'equal' in that we were sinners in the eyes of god. Laughat
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04-05-2014, 09:20 AM
RE: My first non-believer convention
(04-05-2014 09:04 AM)beeglez Wrote:  ...
I joked that between the godless heathens and the LGBTQs, Raleigh was a writhing mass of godless sin, and would surely be struck by lightening! Laugh out load
...

I think you were safe enough.

God was too busy smiting believers (death by tornado) in Mississippi.

I have never been to a convention like that. It sounds unconventional.

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04-05-2014, 09:43 AM
RE: My first non-believer convention
(04-05-2014 09:20 AM)DLJ Wrote:  ---
I have never been to a convention like that. It sounds unconventional.
---
Thumbsup

They have been popping up all over the US in the past several years. I think rational people just got sick of being publicly shamed for ... everything. With a nod to the "comic-con" events, these get-togethers have become a good way to let everyone know there are secular people in the world.

Beeglez, did you get any good pics? Smile

A new type of thinking is essential if mankind is to survive and move to higher levels. ~ Albert Einstein
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04-05-2014, 10:10 AM
RE: My first non-believer convention
(04-05-2014 09:43 AM)kim Wrote:  
(04-05-2014 09:20 AM)DLJ Wrote:  ---
I have never been to a convention like that. It sounds unconventional.
---
Thumbsup

They have been popping up all over the US in the past several years. I think rational people just got sick of being publicly shamed for ... everything. With a nod to the "comic-con" events, these get-togethers have become a good way to let everyone know there are secular people in the world.

Beeglez, did you get any good pics? Smile

Sadly, no pics. Since I'm not out to anyone yet, I can't share them on facebook or show them to my family, so I didn't bother to take any. I had to lie and tell them I was at a professional conference. Which is stupid and really kind of pisses me off because it is ridiculous for a 40 year old to have to lie to her family about going to a perfectly legitimate event. Kalei Wilson, the high school student who fought to start a secular club at her high school, and got death threats and was harassed at school was there, and I would have loved to tell people I met her because I consider her very brave. Seth Andrews is speaking at a local meetup group next month, and I hope to get my book autographed. It would be cool to be able to say on facebook "hey, I got an autographed book!" I'm actually looking forward to coming out so I don't have to play these silly games any more.
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04-05-2014, 10:44 AM
RE: My first non-believer convention
(04-05-2014 10:10 AM)beeglez Wrote:  I'm actually looking forward to coming out so I don't have to play these silly games any more.

Ah well, this is an important part of your process. Small steps are all you can take at first but, you'll be up and running before long. Thumbsup

A new type of thinking is essential if mankind is to survive and move to higher levels. ~ Albert Einstein
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04-05-2014, 11:07 AM
RE: My first non-believer convention
That sounds like fun! I'll need to look up possible events where I live. Might be hard, though, since I'm right smack in the Bible Belt.


(04-05-2014 09:04 AM)beeglez Wrote:  Another attendee said there was a man with his little girl proselytizing on a street corner, and apparently there was a ranting crazy street preacher well known to students at NC State and other colleges.


Okay.... stop the wagon. This is NOT COOL. I have been here, I've done that, and I hang my head low in shame (and rightly so. There is every reason for me to be ashamed of this). But even while I was still fully-entrenched fundy, I grew a brain and a backbone and stopped doing this and had my then-husband stop doing it.... though I had to do some semantics and pleas to the girls' safety and stuff... and even then he didn't take me seriously, especially if a man disagreed with me. But I (mostly) got him to stop for the following reasons:

1. I've been on the street preaching scene, handing out tracts, etc. It's usually pretty peaceful, but sometimes it can get very ugly. Police are often involved just to keep an eye on things and it makes THEM nervous too. They know people, and they know how emotions can get hot and lead to some serious conflict, including violence.
If a street preacher is going to do this, they need to keep their kids at home... it's simply too unpredictable, and the kids need to stay safe.

2. The kids don't have a clue what they're doing. I've seen people's kids (LITTLE KIDS!!!!) out there distributing Christian literature. This is a little bit ironic for a fundamentalist to do, as many of these same kids do not yet have a profession of faith, and for some of them it's because they're just too young to understand! My daughter was 2. TWO! and he was having her help him pass out tracts. First of all, she needs to be informed (he said,"she's informed! I told her we're telling people about Jesus!" She's TWO) and second of all.....

3. ....human shields and manipulation! "People take more of the tracts when I have her. I hold her and have her be the one to hand them the tract. They have a really hard time saying no to a two-year-old." No! No, THAT's manipulation to a horrid degree and it is sicksicksicksicksick! Also, when I'd worry about things getting ugly with the girls around.... "Don't worry, nothing's going to happen. Besides, people aren't going to act violent with me when I'm holding Chloe." You're... you're using my baby as a human shield?????? WTAF????? Even our dearest Taq couldn't come up with enough colorful language to do this justice!

A person very dear to me was badly hurt through a misunderstanding and miscommunication. For this, I am sorry, and he knows it. That said, any blaming me for malicious intent is for the birds. I will not wear some scarlet letter, I will not be anybody's whipping girl, and I will not lurk in silence.
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04-05-2014, 11:33 AM
RE: My first non-believer convention
I haven't made it to a convention but am keeping my eyes open for one in this area.

I did go last year to hear Seth speak on his book signing tour. He was hosted by a local freethought group so there was also some group business discussed. Once I am done with school and have more time, I hope to attend some of their meetups.

Also got to meet Aron Ra there. He is part of the group. It was kind of nice to be in a room with others that also don't believe.

I wish Aron and Seth and Matt would have selected Dallas for a stop on their recent tour. I keep on eye on things going on here and in Austin in the hope that I can attend one soon.

See here they are the bruises some were self-inflicted and some showed up along the way. - JF
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04-05-2014, 03:31 PM (This post was last modified: 04-05-2014 03:34 PM by beeglez.)
RE: My first non-believer convention
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04-05-2014, 03:36 PM
RE: My first non-believer convention
For some reason, my last post showed up blank. I was trying to reply to Charis.


Charis, North Carolina is in the Bible Belt too, though Raleigh is fairly progressive compared to the rural areas. Overall, nothing like living in the Deep South (or so I've heard). I think NC is more like the little stray thread on the edge of the Bible Belt!

I don't like using kids in that way either. The more extreme or controversial the cause, the worse it is. I feel almost physically sick when I see the Westboro Baptist church kids carrying signs.
I hate it when people use kids for political protests or for proselytizing. Though, I will admit when I see them used for causes with which I agree, my first reaction is positive, then I have to take a step back and remind myself that that isn't right either.

Have you seen the vomit worthy Rick Santorum ad that the Duggar family put out during his campaign? You might want to keep a vomit bucket on hand before watching it. The little kids have NOT A CLUE what they are promoting, and the older kids and adult children are clearly parroting what they have been told. You aren't going to tell me that out of 19 kids, not one of them has a single original thought or idea. I think they are either afraid to express their thoughts, or have expressed it and had the thoughts punished or shamed out of them.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=go_-gxksOQg
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04-05-2014, 03:46 PM (This post was last modified: 04-05-2014 04:01 PM by Charis.)
RE: My first non-believer convention
If I'm correct, the Duggars get many of their family principals from fundamentalists including Bill Gothard. Gothard.... he's a monstrosity. I can say that no, those kids probably do NOT, at this point, have an original thought in their heads. I wish I could say otherwise, but the term "rebellion" is used for a very wiiiide range of attitudes and behaviors and is often dealt with severely. Do not think for a moment that their public face is the whole story. I know what goes into a public face.... and what goes on behind-the-scenes within a fundamental mindset to ensure that the children remain obedient in public.

I've been thinking of joining up with the Freedom From Religion Foundation for reasons such as these. I hope there is one around here.

For more on Bill Gothard from insider perspectives: http://www.recoveringgrace.org/ (note: this is a Christian site, but exposes a lot of abuse within fundamentalism)

A person very dear to me was badly hurt through a misunderstanding and miscommunication. For this, I am sorry, and he knows it. That said, any blaming me for malicious intent is for the birds. I will not wear some scarlet letter, I will not be anybody's whipping girl, and I will not lurk in silence.
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