Next year's American Atheists
Convention to be in Salt Lake City
Don’t expect much ado from the Latter-day Saints (Mormons). Theirs is a culture not generally given to public displays. But if you dig protests, fear not. Utah has its share of religious groups that love to carry on. You can see them brandishing signs and shouting slogans outside LDS temple openings, on the sidelines during the Utah Pride Parade (yes, we have one), and outside Mormon Church general conferences in downtown Salt Lake. If they hope to endear themselves to any Mormons who might happen to be reconsidering their faith, we doubt theirs is the best approach. But then, they didn’t ask us.
Atheist organizations aren’t ardent demonstrators, but they are not strangers to needless, fruitless incendiary language. We acknowledge times when incendiary language is needful and fruitful, but slapping people hard across the face as a matter of policy is rarely the best way to win them over. That’s one of the reasons we chose to use humor to take on cults in our book “It’s Not About the Sex” My Ass. But then, the atheist groups didn’t ask us, either.
It is possible to remain true to a cause and mind one’s manners. Hats off to Charles R. Miller, Alabama's regional/state director of American Atheists, who demonstrated as much when he wrote, “I am certain that Salt Lake City will find, like Austin, that atheist convention goers are a friendly bunch of people that share many of the same bedrock American values that many of you hold. We just don't believe in any gods and that is a position that most of us have arrived at after careful consideration of all the facts. I am looking forward to the convention and plan on spending a additional day or two enjoying your city. I hope that you are looking forward to hosting us.”
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