Black Nonbelievers Speak Out

2 Feb

African Americans for Humanism (AAH) has launched an ad campaign, highlighting the rise in religious skepticism among African Americans. Coinciding with Black History Month, the campaign features prominent African American humanists from history along with contemporary activists and organizers.

AAH is a program of the Council for Secular Humanism that supports nonreligious African Americans.

Ads began appearing January 30 and January 31 in New York City; Washington, DC; Los Angeles; Chicago; Atlanta; and Durham, North Carolina. On February 6, the campaign will be launched in Dallas. Advertisements will be placed on roadside billboards and in public transit sites. The Stiefel Freethought Foundation provided substantial creative and financial support for the campaign.

African Americans may be the most religious minority in the United States, but many feel that the churches don’t speak for them. AAH hopes that the campaign will bring attention to the presence of and increase in religious skepticism within the black community, encourage those who have doubts about religion to share their concerns and join other freethinkers in their local communities, and educate many about the history of black freethought.

All of the ads display the same message: “Doubts about religion? You’re one of many.” On the ads, images of writer-anthropologist Zora Neale Hurston, poet-activist Langston Hughes, and social reformer-publisher Frederick Douglass are paired with contemporary freethinkers. Representing their respective hometowns are activists leading the way for African American nonbelievers, including Mark D. Hatcher of the Secular Students at Howard University, Mandisa L. Thomas of Black Nonbelievers, Inc. (Atlanta), Kimberly Veal of Black Nonbelievers of Chicago, Jamila Bey of African Americans for Humanism–Washington, DC, Veronique Matthews of the Triangle Freethought Society, Leighann Lord of the Center for Inquiry–Harlem, Alix Jules of the Dallas–Ft. Worth Coalition of Reason, and Sikivu Hutchinson of Black Skeptics Los Angeles.

“African Americans who question religion often feel rejected by religious family and friends, and by the greater black community,” said Debbie Goddard, director of AAH. “But there is a rich heritage of religious skepticism and humanism in black history. By featuring the historical faces as well as the modern in our ad campaign, we show people that questioning religion is not new and that there are many of us here.”

Between 1990 and 2008, the number of Americans without any religious affiliation nearly doubled, from 8 percent to 15 percent, according to the 2008 American Religious Identification Survey (ARIS). Among African Americans the increase was also nearly double, from 6 percent to 11 percent.

One Response to “Black Nonbelievers Speak Out”

  1. Bhushan December 16, 2014 at 6:06 am #

    Entech, I really reecpst your stance. Moreso than Jon’s I think. Jon and henry are equal in one thing, complete denial, no acceptance of anything, period. You and me, are similar in that we accept some gray areas when it comes to God and Atheism. I accept there’s a chance in this universe or multiverse there’s nothing more than humans. I accept that there’s a possibility Earth is all there is for life, and that there’s no designer of anything.I’m curious though Let’s say for a second there’s no political and/or financial agenda. And this is strictly about a God of some type. What evidence does there need to be of there not being and being a God? Some would say, we exist on a planet that is so perfectly position to support our lifeforms, that the chances of that being totally random are so astronomical that it would be hard to believe there wasn’t someone or something behind our existence.Can that be counted as evidence or a really really really really really lucky lotto winner for us? So, the question becomes, what is valid evidence? And what is invalid evidence? If we were to go about a hypothesis and state I hypothesize that there is no God or divine being, or well any being that designed anything around human civilization. How would do that?Or the opposite, what proof would be sufficient to say there was at least something out there that impacted our civilization.And what rules would need to apply to define that (or those) beings as God(s) ?

Come on, tell us what you really think.

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