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American Atheists Meet For National Convention in Salt Lake City

Dan Bammes
Portraits of scientists, including Charles Darwin, Carl Sagan and Neil deGrasse Tyson displayed for sale at the American Atheists National Convention in Salt Lake City

  The American Atheists national convention is underway in Salt Lake City, with its leadership promising to take their message to other cities with a strong religious presence. 

American Atheistsis the group started by Madalyn Murray O’Hair in the 1960’s following the Supreme Court decision that banned Christian prayers in public schools.  Its president is David Silverman, who told a crowd of several hundred people in a hotel ballroom they’ll continue the fight to keep government from endorsing religion.

“Wherever there’s religion," Silverman told the group, "we will bring in atheism to counter it and negate the perceived privilege and the perceived endorsement of Christianity in the public square.”

As part of that agenda, Silverman says the next two national conventions will be held in cities with a strong religious identity: Memphis, Tennessee and San Juan, Puerto Rico.  

Speakers at the convention include Mark White, the bass player for the alternative rock band Spin Doctors.  He says he came to atheism during a troubled period in his life after his wife left him.

In an interview with KUER, White said, “I did a lot of reading, and when I finally came out of that, I was an atheist.  It was almost like I was reborn.  And I remember the feeling.  I felt like this complete weight just left my body.”

White says he knows very few other African-Americans who are atheists, and it’s great to see and meet so many people at the convention who share his views.


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