You've seen the interview, right? The one after that massive EF5 tornado that literally LEVELED Moore, Oklahoma, where Wolf Blitzer is interviewing a woman in the aftermath of that horror. He asks her, probably thinking that this is bible belt territory and EVERYONE believes in god, if she feels as though she has to "thank the lord" and gets an answer he NEVER expected.
Well here, as Paul Harvey would say, is the REST of the story, told by Rebecca Vitsmun herself. She describes what happened, what she was thinking and doing in the face of that seemingly impossible event, her clear desire to survive and to protect her son, her clear thinking even in the wake of that disaster, and most notably, her refusal to lie in response to Blitzer's specious question.
Here also is the beginning of something new and important: the organization of a secular support group, sponsoried by the Foundation Beyond Belief, which can provide aid and assistance after natural disasters, even as church groups have for years and years. About. Damned. Time.
As for Rebecca ... they don't come tougher.
I had not heard of Foundation Beyond Belief, or if I did, it slipped my mind. After the Hatian earthquake, the Richard Dawkins Foundation started up NBGA, Non-Believers Giving Aid, but I think what they do is fund relief organizations. Secular ones. FBB actually organizes first responders and other volunteer activities. I'm IMPRESSED!
I tried to edit "Hatian"...to Haitian ("I left My Hat and My Brain in Haiti")...and everything froze.
Also, I'm curious, how many us in here have heard, "But...but...but you're so NICE!" when we tell people we are atheists? I need to take my shoes off to count the number of times I've heard it, and I've been outing myself to friends and co-workers since the early 1980s.
My crowning moment came when I was working for JCPenney Advertising in the downtown Los Angeles garment district. I went out on the afternoon break to buy cigarettes (the olden days when we could still smoke at our desks), and all the places where I knew I could get them were closed. It was not only Passover, it was Good Friday. I stormed back in the office and said rather loudly "Where the *bleep* can an atheist buy some smokes around here today?!!!?"
Many jaws hit the floor, but the three guys in my department, who knew me well, fell about laughing. I will cherish that laugh forever.
I loved her answer. Never expected it. If we keep speaking out openly will we ever get respect and a place in the world? Politics and such?
She had a good, though gentle answer. I didn't expect that answer either. Yes, we must keep speaking out openly, with pride, confidence and competence. Coming from a place of wanting to please others and finding it is impossible, especially when my values differ so widely from others, I give up pleasing and focus on what works to empower others to flourish. The closed minded ones aren't worth my time and effort. I think long and hard about what I believe and then let it rip!