The Tea Party in Mississippi

MSteabaggers.jpgAccording to, Tea Party groups are springing up across Mississippi, but it is difficult to get an accurate count of the membership. Given how conservative our state is, I don't imagine that it will come as much of a surprise to see Tea Party groups here. Frankly, I'm somewhat surprised that they haven't been more visible.

Those interviewed for the article made it sound like they have little interest in forming a political party or running candidates for office. Instead, they seem to be more interested in pressuring elected officials to do what they want.

It also sounds like they are upset at being portrayed as racist in the media (despite some disturbing reports of sponsorship). Since Mississippi has a sizable proportion of African Americans, I assume this will mean that their proportion will be reflected at the local Tea Party rallies.

From recent reports I've received via Twitter, at least one local group has devoted considerable time to pushing the Christian nation myth. I suppose this is going to need to be something we keep an eye on.

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Mississippi Dignity Caravan

MSDignity.jpgOn May 22, 2010, a series of rallies against hate and discrimination will be held in Mississippi. According to the organizers' facebook page:
In light of Mississippi's recent negative headlines regarding homophobia, discrimination and the planned presence of Westboro "Baptist Church", we need to take a stand and declare that Mississippians and Americans do not support hate and discrimination... Not in our schools, not in our workplaces, and not in our legislation. This is an issue of human dignity!
That certainly sounds like a worthwhile event for a great cause. The following rallies are planned:

  • Rally at Mississippi's Capitol - 8AM

  • Caravan to Fulton leaves Capitol - 10AM

  • Rally in Fulton - 3PM

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Atheist - Theist Dialogue at the University of New Orleans

demons-of-stupidity.pngAn atheist - theist dialogue will be held at the University of New Orleans on April 22, 2010, at 6:30 p.m. titled "Is Religion More a Force for Good or for Evil in the World Today?" It will be held in Kirschman Hall, Lecture Theatre 122 and will involve a two panel discussion including participants such as the UNO Secular Alliance, UNO Campus Freethought Alliance, UNO Baptist Collegiate Ministry, New Orleans Baptist Seminary, etc. The discussion will conclude with an audience Q&A session.

The event is sponsored by the UNO Campus Freethought Alliance. For more information, contact Paul Hebert at [email protected]

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Happy Black Spring Break

According to WLOX, organizers of Black Spring Break are expecting approximately 3,000 people coming to Mississippi's Gulf Coast this weekend. Prior to moving to Mississippi, I had never heard of Black Spring Break. I guess I always assumed that Spring Break was for everyone and that segregated celebrations seemed a bit old-fashioned. And yet, the puzzling emphasis on the adequacy of law enforcement in the brief WLOX article tells me that the needs of Black students just may be different in this part of the country than in other regions.

To those celebrating Spring Break, Black or otherwise, have fun and be safe.

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Constance McMillen Says Stand Up For Who You Are

Constance McMillen recorded this brief message to thank her many supporters. It is not always easy to stand up for oneself or even to be oneself in the face of bigotry and intolerance. Constance's courage is truly astounding, and I think we could all learn a great deal from her example.

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Enjoying Zombie Jesus Day a Bit Too Much

zombie-jesus-day.gifI woke up this morning to see a dense layer of fog. Visibility was severely limited, and there was a fine mist in the air. As I walked outside to inspect the size of the tree limb that came down during a recent storm, I remembered that it was Zombie Jesus Day. I couldn't help but think that this sort of fog would mean I'd never see the monstrosity until it was right on top of me. I was unarmed, surrounded by fog, and not in any mood to share my brains.

I turned sharply to face a nearby rustling in the bushes. Was it "Him" or had I let the dog out too? Surely the dog would warn me of approaching danger if she was outside with me. And if not...well, I didn't want to think about that. Time to get back inside and make sure the chainsaw was fully gassed.

Short on supplies, I set out for the store. The first church I drove by had an electronic sign in front that confirmed what I had feared all along: "He is risen." I would need more ammo.

Many people have told me I'm being silly and that there is absolutely no historical evidence that the Jesus of the bible ever lived. The thing is, I've seen what he can do. I've seen the mindless behavior of his victims as they congregate each week like drones devoted to a cruel master. I've seen how they offer up their own children and even go door-to-door to trick others into surrendering their brains.

I'm going to have to remain vigilant today. For it is the one day of the year when Zombie Jesus returns to find fresh brains, brains from the few of us left who haven't been infected.

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Presentation on Atheist Proselytizing at LSU

Doug Stewart, the Godless Evangelist, is going to be giving a presentation on Monday, April 12th, at LSU on the subject of atheist proselytizing. The presentation is sponsored by LSU Atheists, Humanists, and Agnostics. It will be held at 7:00 pm in Coates Hall, Rm. 228 on Tower Drive in Baton Rouge.

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Have a Great Prom, Constance!

Constance.jpgAccording to the facebook page, "Let Constance Take Her Girlfriend to Prom," tonight is prom night in Fulton, MS, and Constance will be there. The prom is being held at the Fulton Country Club, and all the students of Itawamba Agricultural High School are invited. Constance can wear a tux and bring her girlfriend. Why this couldn't have happened as initially planned is beyond me, but I am glad to see it happening now.

On behalf of Mississippi Atheists, I hope you have a fantastic night, Constance. You certainly deserve it. You are an inspiration to us all.

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ACLU of Mississippi Apologizes to American Humanist Association

This story has been dealt with more thoroughly elsewhere, but I wanted to provide a brief synopsis because of the direct relevance to atheists in Mississippi. As you know, the Itawamba County School District decided to cancel Itawamba Agricultural High School's prom rather than permit a lesbian student to bring her girlfriend. Not only did this spark nationwide outrage, but offers of support poured in as various groups offered to sponsor an inclusive prom. One of the larger donations came from the American Humanist Association in the form of a $20,000 gift by Todd Stiefel. One little problem with Stiefel's gift...the ACLU of Mississippi rejected it.
“Although we support and understand organizations like yours, the majority of Mississippians tremble in terror at the word ‘atheist,’” Jennifer Carr, the fund-raiser for the A.C.L.U of Mississippi, wrote in an e-mail message to Roy Speckhardt, executive director of the humanist group.
The good news is that this situation seems to have been resolved now, with an apology by the ACLU of Mississippi. They are calling the rejection an error by a staff member who evidently did not have the authority to do any such thing.

What I want to highlight about this story will not surprise you in the least: the majority of Mississippians do indeed tremble in terror at the word "atheist." This needs to change. However, refusing the use the word "atheist" not only is not going to change that, it helps to perpetuate it.

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