Delaware Valley AU was named as a “hate group” on a “bigotry map” made by the Religious Right group “American Family Association.” DVAU President Janice Rael and some local atheist leaders were interviewed by Philadelphia Weekly about their feelings on being called “bigots” by the AFA. http://www.philadelphiaweekly.com/news-and-opinion/uncomfortable-whole/Do-Atheists-and-Humanists-Hate-Christianity-295031781.html
“We believe in true religious freedom through a separation between church and state,” she says, noting that Thomas Jefferson favored the same thing. “We defend the First Amendment. We host a lot of speakers, such as authors and clergy members, who support separation.”
Hang on a minute. Clergy? Ordained followers of Christ are part of this supposedly “anti-Christian” group?
“Americans United’s executive director is a minister with the United Church of Christ,” Rael says. “We simply want the government to be neutral [in relation to the various faiths] and not to favor one over another. We worry about the encroaching effects of religion in our government, and we make efforts to stop them. Some people,” she sighs, “may find that threatening. I would ask the AFA why they think that government neutrality is hostility to their faith.”
Aside from disputing the AFA’s characterization of her group, Real also has another bone to pick with their “Bigotry Map”: its fact-checking professionalism. For some reason, the AFA got a few key details wrong about her organization’s name and location. “If they are going to go through the trouble,” she laments, “I’d prefer that the accurate info be posted. We might get some new members that way.”
This is of particular importance to our Cherry Hill group, as it was one of the “groups” identified on the AFA’s map! I wrote to them to ask them to place our map marker in Philadelphia, but they never replied.
Don’t forget to visit our Meetup to RSVP for upcoming events, we have a lot going on! http://www.meetup.com/churchandstate-48/