My name is Philip Copeman. I an an atheist in South Africa. I have bene unable to find an active organised atheist group in South Afrinca, where we have similar issues to the ones that you cover. I am particularly interested in working in a group that has defined objectives and an organised structure.

Are we able to work under the umbrella of your organisation at tackle local South African issues.

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You're not alone.
Hi Phillip. I'm Kris. I co-host the Aussie, Kiwi and South Pacific Atheists forum here. We have over 120 members of our group (mostly Australian) and over 140 Aussie members of Nexus.

We are now starting to put those numbers to good use. We have just completed a 300 page submission to the Australian Human Rights Commission, giving the atheists' perspective on "Freedom of Religion and Belief in the 21st Century".

The Commission called for papers last year, and we decided we needed to make our voice heard.

Our paper has been submitted under the name of Atheist Nexus (Australian Members).

Public submissions will be reviewed by a committee of academics and human rights experts. The end result is to be a report which will be used to guide government policy in areas such as religion, anti-discrimination exemptions, funding of religious schools, and faith-based health, welfare, counselling and charitable services. So, it was vital that we put forward our views to counter the many submissions they will receive from religious institutions and theists. Being able to submit as 'Atheist Nexus' rather than as individual members will hopefully give it greater credibility and impact.

We will also be making a submission later this year regarding a proposal to adopt a Federal Charter of Rights. This is another issue that could be hijacked by religionists, so we'll make sure to offer an alternative perspective.

Australians have 'pioneered' the use of Atheist Nexus for advancing the cause of atheism and secularism on a national level. I seem to recall that the Canadians group has also got involved in some political activism.

Just a note. A few things we were careful about:

1) Keep in close contact with Brother Richard at all times so that he knows exactly what you're doing under the name of Atheist Nexus and has the absolute right of veto.

2) Make sure that it is not just your personal opinion that is being put forward under the Atheist Nexus name. Be sure that all the members from your country are kept informed and up to date with what is being done in their name - and that they have an opportunity to comment or disagree with any opinions being advanced on their behalf.

3) Be flexible. Be prepared to accommodate conflicting views, or at least acknowledge that 'not all atheists agree with this view'.

If you would like a copy of the Submission we sent to the Australian Human Rights Commission, just send an email to atheistnexus.australia@gmail.com and I will send you the document as an attachment. The Introduction to the Submission has been posted here on Nexus as a blog.

My co-'conspirators' the Irreverent Mr Black and funk q, who host the Australian forum and helped in producing the submission, and I would be happy to keep in touch and add our 2c worth regarding any plans you might have to follow our lead.

Cheers
Kris
Thankyou - its my first day here and I already feel at home.

A good freind of mine (now deceased and gone to heaven) told me that the key to activism is to choose single issue and drive that through before moving onto the next one. Let me focus on that.

I like brother Richards idea of removing "So help me God" from the Presidents oath. I felt agrived when our prsidnet was recently sworn in over a Bible.

Once I have my "single issue" I will get back to you.
Have you been able to find an active, organised atheist group in South Africa with similar issues?
I had a go at another athiest group, but found it like herding cats. They seemed very proud of "going nowhere".

What I like about Nexus is that they have direction. There are scattered South Africans here. What we need si s simple single issue around which to rally the troops.
I don't believe in luck, so I'll say I hope statistical probability is in your favor.
You will only see me using the word "luck" with Muggles. I have three degrees in Statistics. I read post graduate text books on stochastic processes in the bath.
I have yet to take a statistics class, but what little I know about it, I find interesting.
I know this is an old thread, if you thought finding an atheist in south africa was tough, try finding a black south african atheist, i generally socialise and associate with black south africans, and so far i have not met one atheist, slowly i'm getting a break through into knocking some sense onto some of my close associates. I have joined this forum today mainly for support. thank you
Themba is a black name right? Are you telling me that I have met my first Black South African Athiest? If so, this is the end of a 40 year search for me. If we can get one, we can get 40 million.

I have been a member of the PAC for 20 years and one of the things that really pisses me off, is opening every meeting with a prayer. As if God actually cared about Africa. Nkosi Sikelele. We are going to have to start with the National Anthem...
Atheist Nexus is a wonderful thing for bringing people together. I hope you two can join together and start a national movement. Black and white in unity against religion. Yaaaay!
If you're still looking for South African orgs, try these.

The Free Society Institute at http://fsi.org.za/

The South African Atheism Website at http://homepages.infoseek.com/~satheism/index.html

The South African Freethinkers Movement at http://www.eec.co.za/free/FREE3.HTM

The SA Non-theist Forum http://www.eec.co.za/saforum

I can't vouch for any of them, but a Google search under "Atheists in South Africa" turned up most of them, albeit indirectly.

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