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From: Jane E.
Sent on: Saturday, June 23, 2012 10:00 PM

I've updated this Meetup. For more details, see the full listing:

When: Thursday, June 28,[masked]:30 PM

Where: SLC Conference Center
352 Seventh Ave. (30th St.) - 16th Floor
New York, NY 10001

This Meetup repeats on the 4th Thursday of every month.

If the changes affect your plans to attend, please take a moment to update your RSVP. (You can RSVP "No" or "Yes".)

You can always get in touch with me through my group profile on Meetup.


And Now for Another Point of View:

How African-Americans View Atheism

You’ve probably never met anyone like A.J. Johnson: bright, perky, self-confident, outspoken and totally “out” about everything that a smart young African-American girl from North Carolina can be out about. She also happens to be the new Development Director for New Jersey-based American Atheists, Inc., (AA).

On Thursday, June 28, A.J. Johnson is coming to NYC Atheists’ monthly meeting to tell us how a young Black woman raised Southern Baptist in Wilmington, NC got to be a high-level staffer at what is probably the biggest and best-known nonbelievers association in the nation. Presumably her great -grandparents are turning over in their graves...

But A.J. Johnson kind-of knew she was slated for different things since she was about 14. She is the only child of a psychology professor at the University of North Carolina; her Mom is a nurse. How did she make the precipitous turnaround from Southern Baptist to Atheist?

“I usually reference my bisexuality as being important for that process,” she says. “It meant going back to the Bible and reading what it has to say about homosexuals and learning that it doesn’t like homosexuals no matter what. After that, talking snakes and Noah’s Ark don’t make sense either.”

Sparkle and Audacity

But it wasn’t until she went off to college at 18 that the word “Atheist” jelled for A.J. After she graduated from college (with honors), she worked at the University of North Carolina in the college’s development department and learned fundraising skills. She joined American Atheists  about nine months ago through the good offices of Ed Buckner, former AA president.

At the New Jersey headquarters of AA, A.J. Johnson handles membership, fundraising, gives speeches and frequently co-hosts Atheist Viewpoint, the AA Cable TV show. And of course, she brings a kind of sparkle and audacity to the Atheist community--in which African Americans are generally more known for their absence than their participation.

High Cost of Coming Out as Atheist

A.J. Johnson is going to talk about that: why there is not more diversity in the Atheist community. “I get asked that all the time,” she says. “I tell them, we’re getting there. But keep in mind that when people come out they have to suffer the consequences, so for political or social or interpersonal reasons, certain communities--including African Americans--will be less likely to come out. There’s a higher cost for African Americans to come out of the Atheist closet because they already have labels that stigmatize them.”

She notes that if indeed President Obama were an Atheist--and she doesn’t know if he is--he could never come out about it; the political cost would be too high.

Support Our Talented Young Atheists

Come on Thursday evening to hear this politically alert, incisive young woman who has the courage of her convictions; she is “out” and enjoying it, speaking her mind freely about every aspect of the human condition.

Come and ask A.J. the questions that have been haunting you--and all of us-- about why the Black community is so immersed in religion, why they flock to churches, why they believe the myths of the Bible.  Come and support our brave new young people, our talented youthful Atheists; come and see the outstanding calibre of those who will follow in our footsteps!



VIEWS ATHEISM,”  a talk by A. J. Johnson,

Development Director, American Atheists Inc.

WHEN:        Thursday, June 28, 2012 at 6:30 p.m.


352 Seventh Ave. (bet. 29th & 30th Sts.)

16th Floor

COST:          We appreciate a voluntary donation of $5

to help cover the cost of the conference space.

New York City Atheists Inc. is a 501C not-for-profit association dedicated to the separation of church and state and to the advancement of the Atheist lifestyle and values.


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