After reading a few letters in the Wisconsin State Journal and the Reedsburg (Wisconsin) Independent it occurred to me that anyone who reads the letters column in these publications would think that this is a christian-only part of the country. The first time I wrote an atheist-slanted letter suggesting that parents who are not religious themselves should take their kids out for a nice Spring nature walk instead of going church on Easter Sunday, the editor of the Independent called me to confirm that the letter wasn't a prank. Since then, I seldom miss the opportunity to write a letter refuting or countering something religion-oriented that gets printed in the newspapers I read. My letters don't always get printed but I feel that I have to try. It helps to have a bible at hand (only $1.19 at the Dollar Store) and it helps even more to have reference material from an atheist website that lists outrageous biblical statements and contradictions. One of the best ones I managed to get into the Wisconsin State Journal was in response to a letter by a mother who proudly admitted using corporal punishment on her children. She quoted a verse from the bible that encourages it. I was able to quote Deuteronomy 21:18-21, which says that a rebellious son should be stoned to death, and commented that I really felt sorry for her kids.
We all need to take as activist a stand as we feel safe in doing. I am retired, so I have no fear of losing a job due to some good christian who hates me because of my atheistic views, but I realize that not all of us have that advantage. On the other hand, I have had several letters and phone calls from folks who told me how much they appreciated reading my letter in their newspaper. I admit that I have also been invited to bible-study classes by several good christian folks who are sure that I am ripe for conversion once I have been shown the error of my ways. I thank them for trying to use persuasion to affect a conversion rather than the fire and sword method that was so popular just a few hundred years ago, and I invite them to read the parts of the bible that their minister neglects to study, since a good, open-minded reading of the entire bible often serves as the first step towards atheism.