I found the site thru the Atheist News Podcast, which I love. Nice to see some like minded folks. I'm from northern California-the Bay Area, a pretty liberal/secular place. I would say that I've been lifelong atheist, never really had much use for religion, and not a lot of close exposure to it. I was baptized as an infant, not even really sure what denomination. In youth, my small amount of one on one contact with religion was generally unpleasant. I've been assaulted physically by a customer at work for wearing ankh earrings. My parents were/are addicts, so they weren't really too invested in instilling any values, let alone religious ones. Because of this, I cared for my younger sibling quite a bit. I often did grocery shopping with my sister in tow. A woman must have decided I was a teenage parent, so she grabbed me and shook me violently on the street while screaming about jesus into my face. I was 12, my sister was 4, we were alone. These early and memorable encounters with religious people left me with the very strong impression that religious people are crazy and dangerous. Not alot I've seen since has disabused me of this opinion. Religiosity pretty much baffles me. I feel kind of unarmed when confronted, so I usually just keep quiet.

In the news and public life I see the insidious influence of religion growing in all kinds of ugly ways. Prop 8 was an especially disturbing moment. So I'm happy to be here, it is comforting to know others share my worries and sentiments.

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Welcome, Casey! I hope this site offers some "armor" for you so you don't have to keep quiet all the time. Some of the time, but not all of the time. Your story about the woman grabbing you and shaking you because she thought you were a teen parent is chilling. How presumptuous! Regardless of her religious convictions, she should have been polite enough to ask and get some information before she accosted you. Then again, the religious very rarely ask any questions because they are absolutely, totally, irrevocably RIGHT ABOUT EVERYTHING and don't need any evidence to prove it. Anyway, I hope you like it here. :)

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