News Archive

On the first Sunday of every June, the Atheist Community of Austin has a booth at the Texas Pride Festival, sponsored by the Lesbian/Gay Rights Lobby of Texas as part of its Texas Pride Weekend

The yearly event at Fiesta Gardens gives ACA members an opportunity to meet other gay and gay-friendly people and to catch up with gay and gay-friendly friends, talking to one and all about our organization's activities and goals. The five religious fundamentalists protesting outside the gates this year also provided yet another reminder about the importance of church-state separation!

The relevance of a secular society to equal rights and individual liberty was also addressed on that day's edition of The Atheist Experience. Co-host Keryn Glasser and producers Steve Elliott and Joe Rhodes had just arrived from the Festival to do our live television program, which begins at 4:30 pm each Sunday. Other ACA members continued to run the booth and enjoy the event, where over a hundred other local organizations also participated.

We, the Board of Directors of the Atheist Community of Austin, resolve to condemn the interference of religious beliefs in the question of same-sex marriage. We are unaware of any compelling secular arguments against same-sex marriage, and in accordance with the principle of separation between church and state, no citizen may be denied any right because of the religious beliefs of others. In its recent decision affirming the right of any two consenting adults to marry, regardless of the gender (Goodridge et al. v. Dept. of Public Health et al.), the Massachusetts Supreme Courtnoted, "Simply put, the government creates civil marriage. In Massachusetts, civil marriage is, and since pre-Colonial days has been, precisely what its name implies: a wholly secular institution." Religious prohibitions on homosexuality are irrelevant here: Marriage is a concept of civil law, and while religious figures can be authorized by the state to perform marriages, no religious ceremony is required to validate a marriage. Whether in Massachusetts, in San Francisco, here in Texas, or elsewhere in the United States, we the Board defend that institution against any attempt to impose religious strictures on it, particularly ones that impinge on individual liberty and equal rights.

The Board of Directors of the Atheist Community of Austin voted on December 14th to oppose the efforts of groups that try to impose the restrictions of their religious beliefs on the health care of the general population of Austin. Specifically, the Board addressed boycott threats made by a religious coalition led by the Texas Contractors and Suppliers for Life against companies involved in the construction of a Planned Parenthood facility in Austin known as The Choice Project.

Board member Allan Campbell stated, "The proposed clinic would be a vital asset to our community by providing women's health exams, contraception and abortion services." These important services have already become less available to poor or uninsured women due to the influence of Catholic Church doctrine at Brackenridge, Austin's public hospital. Now, a minority of religious extremists are waging economic blackmail in an attempt to stop the construction of the Planned Parenthood clinic that would provide health care services that the majority of Austin residents consider valuable.

Religious doctrine must not be allowed to affect the kinds of medical services available to all Austin residents. The ACA Board joins hands with other activists and organizations that promote free choice in health care for all residents, not just those who can afford private doctors and hospitals.

Atheist Community of Austin

The Atheist Community of Austin is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization dedicated to promoting positive atheism and the separation of church and state. The ACA serves the local Austin community through outreach programs, providing informational resources and various volunteer activities. In addition, the ACA serves the community-at-large through free online portals including informational wikis, regular audio/video podcasts and interactive blogs.

We define atheism as the lack of belief in gods. This definition also encompasses what most people call agnosticism.

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