Minnesota Atheists

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Minnesota Atheists
Minnesota Atheists Logo.png
Formation 1991 (1991) Minnesota, U.S.
Type 501(c)(3)
Purpose Promotion of atheism, secular humanism, education
Location
President Eric Jayne
Website www.mnatheists.org

Minnesota Atheists is the largest atheist organization in the state of Minnesota. A 501(c)(3) non-profit organization that seeks to promote the positive contributions of atheism and to maintain the separation of state and church.[1] They are affiliated with Atheist Alliance International, and the American Atheists. Minnesota Atheists is also part of the Alliance of Secular Humanist Societies, which is connected to the Council for Secular Humanism. The organization currently publishes a monthly newsletter, a weekly radio show and podcast called Atheists Talk, and a community access television show by the same name.[2]

History[edit]

Originally founded as the Twin Cities Chapter of American Atheists in 1984, Minnesota Atheists was founded in 1991 as a democratic organization of atheists.[3] The Minnesota Atheists promote education and visibility in the community[4] and responds to the push against atheism in the state of Minnesota.[5] In 2013 the Foundation Beyond Belief awarded the "Humanist Communication Award" to the group for their work in 2012.[6]

Public Outreach[edit]

Atheist Talk[edit]

Atheists Talk first aired January 13, 2008. The weekly program airs every Sunday Morning on AM 950 KTNF. They discuss areas of interest to the community including atheism, humanism, state/church separation, religion, ethics, science, and art.[7] Guests include notable persons locally, nationally, and internationally including Ira Flatow,[8] Neil DeGrasse Tyson,[9][10] Richard Dawkins,[11] and PZ Myers.[12]

Nancy Hertz wears Aint t-shirt

Sports Sponsorship[edit]

In August 2012 the Minnesota Atheists, as part of their regional conference, sponsored the St. Paul Saints who changed their name to "Mr. Paul Aints" as part of "A Night of Unbelievable Fun".[13] The St. Paul Saints' general manager reported some complaints, mostly from out of state. A representative from the group stating that "sponsoring a baseball game seemed like a good way to show that apart from religion, atheists are like everybody else."[14] The same was done for their conference in 2013, "A Night of Unbelievable Fun, The Second Coming".[15] The general manager states "We're looking forward to being an "Ain't" for the day."[16]

Minnesota Atheists Billboard

Billboard Campaign[edit]

In 2012 the Minnesota Atheists bought billboards one in St. Paul and one in Minneapolis to reach out the local atheists.[17][18][19][20][21] Citing that similar types of billboards had been going up around the country, the billboards promote the idea that religious indoctrination should not happen to children. One critic called them "eye catching,"[22] another questioned one of the billboard placement near "religious centers."[23] The billboards tied for second place in an "atheist billboard of the year" poll on the Friendly Atheist blog.[24]

Legal Campaigns[edit]

In March 2004, the Minnesota Atheists spoke out against President Bush's speech supporting a U.S. Constitutional ban on same-sex marriage. Stating that the Minnesota Atheists support the religious making and following their own rules but against these becoming civil laws.[25] In July 2011, Minnesota Atheists filed the only amicus brief in support of the appeal of Benson, et al. v. Alverson to support the couples in their effort to get rid of the law and argues the unconstitutionality of the Minnesota Defense of Marriage Act, noting the law’s theological basis.[3] Stating “By denying the Plaintiff couples the right to marry solely because they are of the same sex, Minnesota law violates the due process, equal protection, freedom of conscience, and freedom of peaceful association provisions contained in Article I, Sections 7, 2, and 16 of the Minnesota Constitution.”[26] Representatives from the group stated that when the case Baker v. Nelson was originally heard in 1971 they did not address the issue of religious freedom.[3] A representative from the group also testified at the state senate hearings in March 2013.[27]

Publishing[edit]

The Minnesota Atheists managed a compilation of stories from atheists throughout Minnesota[28][29][30] with a foreword written by Greta Christina. The publisher states "I wanted there to be a book out there that isn't a diatribe against religion, but just personal stories.”[31] A review from Lavender Magazine called it an "intriguing exploration of atheism."[32] A review from the Humanists of Minnesota called it "absorbing, unique, and compelling."[33]

Compilation (2012). Atheist Voices of Minnesota: an Anthology of Personal Stories. Freethought House. ISBN 0615598579. 

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Minnesota Atheists About Page". MNA. Retrieved 2009-03-18. 
  2. ^ "Atheists Talk Cable Show-Audio". Retrieved 8 June 2013. 
  3. ^ a b c Walsh, Kaitlyn (October 20, 2011). "The Secular Side of Marriage Equality". Lavender Magazine. Retrieved 8 June 2013. 
  4. ^ Philip Norris, David (11 December 2012). "With talk of tolerance and equality, one group is still forgotten: atheists". MinnPost. Retrieved 15 August 2013. 
  5. ^ Jayne, Eric (3 August 2013). "Your Turn: Atheism not gloom and doom". St Cloud Times. Retrieved 14 August 2013. 
  6. ^ "Announcing the 2012 Heart of Humanism Award winners". Foundation Beyond Belief. 3 September 2013. Retrieved 5 September 2013. 
  7. ^ "Atheists Talk". AM 950. Retrieved 15 August 2013. 
  8. ^ ""Science in the Public Forum" Ira Flatow on Atheists Talk #89". MN Atheists. 24 October 2010. Retrieved 3 August 2013. 
  9. ^ ""Science Communication" with Neil deGrasse Tyson on Atheists Talk #110". MN Atheists. 3 April 2011. Retrieved 3 August 2013. 
  10. ^ ""Space Chronicles" Neil DeGrasse Tyson on Atheists Talk #170". MN Atheists. 3 June 2012. Retrieved 3 August 2013. 
  11. ^ "Richard Dawkins - Atheists Talk #001". MN Atheists. 13 January 2008. Retrieved 3 August 2013. 
  12. ^ ""Zebrafish and Dictionary Atheism," PZ Myers and Greg Laden on Atheists Talk #104". MN Atheists. 20 February 2011. Retrieved 3 August 2013. 
  13. ^ Gryboski, Michael. "Minn. Baseball Team Changes Name From Saints to 'Aints' for Atheist Event". Christian Post. Retrieved 15 June 2013. 
  14. ^ Telvin, Jon (31 July 2012). "Tevlin: Saints have a prayer? Not on atheists’ night". Star Tribune. Retrieved 6 August 2013. 
  15. ^ Jayne, Eric (29 July 2013). "Atheists and the 'Aints' — seeking to dispel preconceived notions about our (non)beliefs". MinnPost. Retrieved 3 August 2013. 
  16. ^ Block, Melissa (8 August 2013). "Minn. Minor League Baseball Team Goes Atheist For One Night". NPR. Retrieved 13 August 2013. 
  17. ^ Best, Eric (31 January 2012). "Marketing atheism to the Twin Cities". Minnesota Daily. Retrieved 2 August 2013. 
  18. ^ Hines, Bob; Alimoradi, Michelle (31 January 2012). "Minnesota Atheists launch ad campaign". Twin Cities Daily Planet, KFAI Radio. Retrieved 2 August 2013. 
  19. ^ Chin, Richard (26 January 2012). "Minnesota atheists borrow from abortion foes, employ smiling babies in billboard campaign". Pioneer Press. Retrieved 15 August 2013. 
  20. ^ Rupar. Aaron (27 January 2012). "MN Atheists sponsoring anti-dogma baby billboards". City Pages. Retrieved 15 August 2013. 
  21. ^ Best, Eric (31 January 2012). "Marketing atheism to the Twin Cities". Minnesota Daily. Retrieved 15 August 2013. 
  22. ^ French, Rose (27 January 2012). "Minnesota atheist group sponsors Twin Cities billboards featuring babies". Star Tribune. Retrieved 2 August 2013. 
  23. ^ Pescovitz, Naomi (29 January 2012). "Atheist Billboards". KSTP-5. Retrieved 15 August 2013. 
  24. ^ Mehta, Hemant (2 January 2013). "The 2012 Atheist Billboard of the Year Is…". The Friendly Atheist. Retrieved 15 August 2013. 
  25. ^ Minnesota Atheists (March 2004). "Minnesota Atheists support equality". Newsletter. Southside Pride. Retrieved 14 August 2013. 
  26. ^ "Press Release: Minnesota Atheists File Court Brief to Support Marriage Equality". Retrieved 8 June 2013. 
  27. ^ McIntee, Michael (12 March 2013). "Video Replay: Legislative Committees Approve Minnesota Same-Sex Marriage". The Uptake. Retrieved 15 August 2013. 
  28. ^ Henderson, Alison (21 December 2012). "Nonbelievers navigate tricky waters". Twin Cities Pioneer Press. Retrieved 13 August 2013. 
  29. ^ French, Rose (15 October 2012). "Fastest growing group in religious circles? The 'Nones'". Star Tribune. Retrieved 13 August 2013. 
  30. ^ Cropp, Avery (30 August 2012). "Local woman published in Minnesota Atheist anthology". Stillwater Gazette. Retrieved 13 August 2013. 
  31. ^ Winston, Kimberly (12 April 2013). "Atheists, the Next Generation: Unbelief Moves Further into the Mainstream". Publishers Weekly. Retrieved 3 August 2013. 
  32. ^ Boatner, E.B. (9 August 2012). "Books: 449". Lavender Magazine. Retrieved 13 August 2013. 
  33. ^ Curland, Nathan (August 2012). "Book Review: Atheist Voices of Minnesota". Minnesota Humanists August Newsletter. Minnesota Atheists. Retrieved 13 August 2013. 

External links[edit]