I received this query second hand. I have never communicated with the professor in question, so I'm not in a position to evaluate her agenda. Here is her letter of inquiry that a third person forwarded to me:
---------- Forwarded message ----------
Date: Tue, Dec 22, 2009 at 1:02 PM
Subject: [AFSforum] Sociological Research on Black Religious Skeptics
I received a request from an Associate Professor of Sociology for contact with black religious skeptics. Does anyone want to respond? The letter from Dr. Nash is below.
(AFS does NOT give out anyone's name, address or phone number.)
In a message dated 12/20/2009 2:50:43 P.M. Eastern Standard Time, email@example.com writes:
To: Mr. Steve Yothment, President of the Atlanta Freethought Society, Inc.
From: Shondrah T. Nash, Associate Professor of Sociology, Morehead State University
Re: Research on Black Religious Skeptics
Dear Mr. Yothment,
I hope this correspondence finds you well!
My name is Dr. Shondrah Tarrezz Nash. I am an Associate Professor of Sociology in the Department of Sociology, Social Work, and Criminology at Morehead State University in Morehead, Ky. I have studied and published on the nexus of domestic violence and religion for more than ten years now. My work and interests focus on abused women’s coping via religion, while maintaining a critical analysis of religious teachings and authorities and how they can obstruct women’s escape from abusive relationships.
Recently, my research endeavors have extended to religion and African American men and women’s lives. I currently am researching African American religious skeptics. In this research, religious skeptics would include self-identified atheists, agnostics, secularists, humanists, brights, and/or freethinkers. Using audio-taped interviews, I want to learn their views of the Black Church and its influence in the Black community. I also want to learn African American religious skeptics’ journey toward skepticism and, in light of their beliefs on religion, their experiences with family, friends, and members of the African American community.
Although the interest in African American religious skeptics is there, Black religious skeptics are harder to attain, I fear. However, I hope that you can help me in this regard. If you or your membership are aware of even a single African American religious skeptic, who may be interested in learning more about this research, please share my contact information. I am most readily contacted via email. My email address is firstname.lastname@example.org. In addition, do not hesitate to place this call for research on African American religious skeptics in your organization’s newsletter or list serve. Again, I will be more than happy to share the objectives of this research as well as answer all questions.
African American religious skeptics – whether self-identified as atheists, agnostics, secularists, humanists, brights, and/or freethinkers – are seldom asked about their viewpoints or the development of those views. With this research, I hope to expand the current discussion and scholarship addressing the belief systems of African Americans. Please, consider this request.
Dr. Shondrah Tarrezz Nash
Associate Professor of Sociology
Morehead State University
Department of Sociology, Social Work, and Criminology
330 Rader Hall
Morehead, Kentucky 40351
E-Mail Address: email@example.com
Sociology at MSU: http://www.moreheadstate.edu/sswc/sociology/index.aspx?id=2226