I grew up in southern Ohio, and by the time I was old enough to know that saying god didn't exist could be problematic, I didn't care. My friends were mostly like me. Either they didn't believe in god outright, or they didn't like the idea of any unquestioned authority.
It was easier for me to figure things out because my mom didn't put any constraints on what I was allowed to think about. Questioning was a virtue, not a sin.
As for my name, I write letters to my newspaper and they are published with my name, and I occassionally get responses. Some of them are in my favor, and some of them want to save me. I've only been sort of threatened once on the Jackson Sun message board. A guy told me that "they take care of" people like me in the south. How nice.
I think that preist was just jeolous. Either he was jeolous because someone was having sex, and it wasn't him!
What what the final straw for you and religious faith?
What did your friends think, or did they even know, that you were an atheist? My brother first refused to keep going to mass at about 21, then an old priest yelled at me in the confessional after I admitted having sex. But, it wasn't until fairly recently that I realized that the whole "god" thing is bogus. Good for you for putting your entire name out there! Most members put nicknames, or whatever.