I just want to spend this post saying some things about some very important people that I have met, interacted with and been inspired by. I won't use names because I live in a place where being an Atheist can cost you your job, cost you your family and even cause you bodily injury. I accept those possibilities and refuse to allow myself to be censored, even if it would be easier, safer or more comfortable. I am not saying that anyone should make that same decision, I understand how hard the subject of openly displaying a lack of faith, in this area, can be.
I am a member of The SouthEast Alabama Freethought Association. There are over 400 current members in our little corner of the South. I have not met each one, but we have a very active group of people who love to socialize, are active in the community and are outspoken about their ideals. We have Liberals and Conservatives, Libertarians and Socialists, Atheists, Agnostics, Freethinkers and Anti-Theists. We are young and old, male and female, straight and gay, vociferous and silent. It is a great pleasure to call these people friends and acquaintances. I have met doctors, lawyers, stay at home moms, single parents, military personnel, college students, professors, radio personalities, computer experts, expectant parents, social workers, food inspectors, retail workers, restaurant workers, digital art enthusiasts, comic book lovers and so many different types of people. And the only thing we all have in common is our skepticism of religion. But it is enough to form a cohesive group that comes together to do great things.
I have seen these people rally around our local homosexual community. I have seen our members stand in the rain to speak out against injustices. I have seen them sweating in the Alabama summer sun to pick up trash to make a small stretch of road (in front of churches, no less) just a little nicer. I have seen them taking gifts to women who have been abused. I have seen them invite speakers to our little community to interact and explain positions on many different issues.
I just want to thank them for being such outstanding individuals and such an awesome group. For being here, in such an adverse climate. They are an inspiration, a source of strength and a well of encouragement. Anything I do, or write or say is always due, in part, to the examples they set and the courage they show. It is impossible to measure the worth of their acceptance of me, and all the things they do amaze, embolden and inform what I do.
I forgot to mention... SEAFA has a light the night team walking this Friday to fight Leukemia and Lymphoma.