We are wasting our time if we can't help these gay teens.

Often when I reflect upon my day, I am amazed how much of my time is wasted going through hate mail. No, I'm not talking about those "my god loves you and enjoy the fires of Hell" letters I get from those wacky and kooky theists. I'm speaking of the emails I get from other atheists. Yeah, I actually get more from our team.


The last four emails I have received could be boiled down to this:


"There is no such thing as a new atheist!"
"Once a preacher always a preacher!"

"Stop trying to herd cats you asshole!"

"How dare you ask for donations!"


I used to take time and answer each one,  but have learned it is best to ignore them. Yeah, I have good answers, but it all simply adds to the time I've wasted. 


If I'm completely honest (which often is not a good thing for me), I have to admit it is easy for me throw a pity party for myself. This was exactly what I was doing this evening. I had just closed a 10 hour day of working on the Bylaws for our nonprofit, and had a headache. My wife was pissed at me because I just had knee surgery and wasn't supposed to sit at my desk for more than 30 minutes. Blah, blah, wha, wha. I know. The martyr thing is so last year's Christian and I need to drop it.


As I was about to go to bed, I came across this YouTube video of a typical Youth Pastor calling out homosexual young people to repent.


How disgusting. These freaking kids are being abused. Period. End of discussion. We can fight and argue all we want about semantics. Who cares? We can complain whether Atheist Nexus, or American Atheists, or American Humanist Association should ask for money. Who gives a crap? All of the money our groups make combined wouldn't equal half of what one mega church brings in. And we're the ones who have open books! Big Whup.


It is so easy for us to be proud about how brave we are to "come out" (at least online) to our friends about being a nonbeliever. But what about the kids in this video? They are suffering? Look at their faces. They are not simply full of shit and need to get over their deception.


Who is going to provide a safe place for them? Who is going to provide the communities and friendships needed to fill the emotional gap and mend the mental abusive they have been forced to endure. Are we providing this? We, the "atheist" community? Perhaps on a very small scale we have. But it's not enough. Not yet. 


Frankly, whether you love or hate me, I don't care (or I'm trying not to). Whether you join or leave Atheist Nexus, so be it (I probably need a real job anyway). But I can no longer apologize for being who I am. Perhaps my training as a minister did give me a lot of baggage. But it also fostered an oversensitive and caring passion for my fellow human beings. It's who I am.


Any way, sorry for the rant. I hope it wasn't too over-the-top. I blame the pain meds. Perhaps, I should go back and edit before I post this? Nah. I'll roll the dice. Those kids don't get to redo their time wasted. 


Brother Richard

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Comment by Tammy S on May 31, 2012 at 8:45pm

I for one will support you whenever I can. This site of late has been a source of joy for me, I'm so happy to have returned here. Hate from the 'atheist community' in other forums and blog sites had all but sent me back to my cave, but I decided to give A/N another try. This site seems to be populated more by mature, sensible people than most of the blog sites and forums found on the web, there's a sense that there's something for everyone here and it takes all kinds to form a community, our community is no different.

Thank you Richard, you 'are' appreciated.

Comment by Carolyn R on May 13, 2012 at 9:28pm

This site & your podcast have given me so many hours of entertainment, enrichment, food for thought, and long-distance camaraderie; let me take a minute to say THANK YOU! You have done a great service to us freethinkers. Somehow people with a bone to pick are more motivated to bang the keys about it, where praise and thanks don't come as naturally to people, in our US culture anyway it's so much more comfortable to flame someone than to say a general "good job & thanks for all your thought, energy & effort!" But your work here is so worthwhile - sorry if it too often goes unappreciated. 

Comment by Grace Fitzpatrick on June 23, 2011 at 10:52pm

I don't have a lot of spare cash, but when I do, I usually give to veterans' service organizations.  Although, I have great sympathy for these young people, AN, FFRF, etc, I only have so much energy and money to devote to the issues I care about.  Since, I am a disabled vet, one of my primary goals is to find ways to help my fellow veterans get the help they earned, deserve and were promised in writing from the Veteran's Administration.  The VA is often more of an adversary to vets than a helper. 


There are so many vets who are screwed up and in need of care.  Regardless of their stand on religion (and many vets are deep into it), I want to help them.  Someone helped me when I was down and out (and it sure wasn't god).  I try to do the same for my fellow vets. 


 I don't have a problem with AN and other atheist groups asking me for money.  I don't have it to give, but it doesn't hurt to ask.  Atheist groups have expenses too.  I understand that.  One day, I may have money to give and when I do I will.

Comment by Katie Ranting Redhead Smith on June 23, 2011 at 11:29am
Why I adore Dan Savage and the It Gets Better campaign!
Comment by Jim DePaulo on June 23, 2011 at 8:22am

I don't see how anyone on AN can disagree with your post.  We should welcome and provide a positive environment for anyone who is a victim of the legions of delusion and hate.

Comment by El Solo Lobo on June 22, 2011 at 11:51pm

Never blame the pain meds, Richard. Great post. I understand it is REALLY hard to be yourself, especially when you're trying to do something really worthwhile, like AN. In my humble opinion, we the "nonbeliever" section, could do with just a bit more respect and humility, especially of each other. I think you're an excellent minister, and you know I mean that in the best possible way.


Comment by Charles Cranford on June 22, 2011 at 11:35pm
Your justified in your rant.  A place needs to be created for ousted homosexual teens to go to for counseling or just a place to talk.  If we are to be Humanist then we need to put our money where our mouth is.  It is no good to say we need to get rid of religion and then not offer an alternative for that.  We are working on it as a whole but still are behind the curve.
Comment by Ruth Anthony-Gardner on June 22, 2011 at 11:27pm
I see Atheist Nexus as a gay friendly place. You created it. Give yourself credit for that. It might even provide a quantum of solace to an outed teen from this video.



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