“Cinched in the Bible Belt! - Journey of an Atheist Mom” will be presented by Jennifer Lovejoy, an organizer of Western North Carolina Atheists, at the Sunday, July 21st meeting of the Ethical Society of Asheville 2:00-3:30 PM, at the Friends Meeting House, 227 Edgewood Road in North Asheville (off Merrimon Avenue near UNCA). Jenn, will share experiences she and and other atheists receive and how it affected her parenting. There will be a discussion period following the presentation. Following the meeting, there will be time for informal conversation. All are welcome!
Jenn is a wife, mother, activist, and disabled veteran. Raised by an agnostic father and a pentecostal Christian mother she entered adulthood seriously questioning the biblical teachings she heard as a child. Jennifer enlisted in the US Army in 1997. It was while serving in the Army that she got her first real taste of activism by marching in uniform in support of gay rights.
When medical issues abruptly ended Jennifer's military career, she and her family moved to Asheville, NC. Her early retirement brought newfound free time; she immersed herself in separation of church and state issues after being shocked by the amount of biblical references in her children's school work and the pamphlets sent home with her children that promoted local churches and discriminating organizations such as the Boy Scouts of America.
Jennifer's activism took a back seat after 9/11 when her husband - also a US soldier was deployed to Afghanistan. The needs of her children and family became her primary focus during her husband’s absence, but the hiatus from activism was short lived when her husband returned a year later with a spine injury. Jennifer came to realize that, as the war progressed, the idea that to be a "good and proud American" meant supporting the war and the troops with "under god". Jennifer then took up the fight to recognize atheists within the military.
Jennifer's life was forever changed in the summer of 2010 when she agreed to become the Asheville spokesperson for the "One Nation Indivisible" billboard campaign in North Carolina. The international attention catapulted Jennifer into the spotlight and under the microscope. She had to learn how to juggle motherhood, being a wife, and being recognized as an atheist activist on a much larger scale.
While Jennifer has since stepped down as the WNC Atheist spokesperson, her eldest son, Steven Lovejoy, has recently taken on that role. She is proud and amazed to see her children bravely following in her footsteps.
Jennifer Lovejoy is now busier than ever and wears many hats. She is the founder and current president of WNC Humanists, the co-chair of the North Carolina Chapter of the Secular Coalition for American, and the president of the Carolinas Secular Association, a regional organization that supports secularity in North and South Carolina. Jennifer also sits on many other boards in the region for organizations that focus on secular issues and humanist values.
In the future we may see her name on a ballot for public office or running a national group. Jennifer is determined to change the world and wants to serve her community. Her dream is to have a secular community center in Asheville. A center that feeds the homeless without having to hear a sermon first. A center that can provide after school tutoring and activities for children. A center that hosts potlucks, has game nights and nurtures the community.