(I posted a video link that accompanied this story a day ago in the comments section, but here is the story itself.)
The Godless Rise As A Political Force
Secularist, humanist, freethinking nontheists and atheists are coalescing into a movement with a real agenda.
Saturday, March 7, 2009 by Paul Starobin
''That chaps my ass," Terry McDonald said between bites of a sliced-brisket lunch at the Hard Eight Pit BBQ on the outskirts of Dallas. McDonald, a retired insurance-industry executive who heads a Dallas-Fort Worth group known as the Metroplex Atheists, was expressing his displeasure at Barack Obama's decision to take the presidential oath of office with his hand on a Bible once used by Abraham Lincoln. McDonald is convinced, as are some other atheists, that Lincoln was at most a lukewarm Christian -- maybe not a true believer at all. And McDonald suspects, as do many other atheists, that Obama himself is not really a devout believer but is donning a religious cloak for political expediency.
No matter. McDonald is a committed activist, and like any trench warrior for a social and political cause whose progress will be measured in years, not days or months, he focuses on the positive. The Metroplex Atheists are not a rich bunch -- annual membership dues are $1 -- but the group still managed recently to raise some $2,000 to put up a billboard alongside a Texas highway for a month. The catchphrase is "Don't believe in God? You are not alone," set against a backdrop of blue sky and white clouds. -McDonald, an ex-Catholic who was born on a military base in Georgia , said that his e-mailbox teems with confidential messages from folks eager to confess a ripening disbelief in God -- yet are fearful of being ostracized by family, friends, and work colleagues if that unsettling truth were known.
The Metroplex Atheists are joined by at least a dozen other groups plowing this ground in the Dallas region. Their ranks include students as well as doctors, lawyers, scientists, and other professionals. And their activism, deep in the heart of Texas , ties in to a burgeoning grassroots movement that is national and indeed global in scope. This is the march of the Godless, the cultural and political mobilization of those who variously identify themselves as atheists, nontheists, secularists, freethinkers, humanists, and other labels all intended to denote a lack of belief in a divine entity.
By request, this majority of this article has been deleted to preserve the author's copyright. To read the full story, click on the title above to go to the National Journal homepage.