User Name:

Password:

FAQ Donate Join

Scrapbook

ACA at the Pride Festival, June 9, 2007
We usually have a booth at the Gay & Lesbian Pride Festival and this year was no exception. It was a fun event for everyone involved, but also on the hot side. The festival had about 116 booths and about 8 different groups performing. Once again, we were pretty close to the bandstand, which made conversation difficult at times.

Our booth had the ACA banner, information about ACA, and atheism in general. We estimate that we had about 50 people pick up items from us, which was fewer than last year. I suspect that the festival was not as well attended as last year, due in part to the heat. We hope those visitors will turn into new members.

We had a number of people drop by that visited us last year and some old friends and previous visitors to the ACA. Our presence was important in that it sends a message that we're a tolerant group with something to offer. Yes, there were some other religious groups including the Metropolitan Community Church (a Christian church catering to the G & L community, a Baptist Church, and even a Buddhist group.)

Speaking of "religious groups", we were treated to a performance by the Austin Baptist Women, a gospel lip-synch drag group (composed of gay men) that has raised over $6M for charities over the years. They were fun.

Many thanks to our volunteers:

  • Don Baker (organizer)
  • Chuck Clark
  • Matt Dillahunty
  • Steven Elliott
  • Leon Harvey
  • John Iacoletti
  • Marla Repka
  • Shelley Roberts
  • Mike
  • Joe Zamecki

Photos


Chuck, Matt, Shelley, and Mike.


Volunteers Don, Leon, Marla, John, and Joe.


The booth from behind the scenes. (The kids were organizing the stones we were using to keep the fliers from blowing away.)


One of Austin Baptist Women during the performance.


Another colorful band.


A brief sighting of the Atheist Community News and Atheist Eve.

Flier

We produced a flier to explain why an atheist group was there at the Pride Festival. The front page appears below. On the back, we reproduced our press release on the 2005 passing of the Texas State constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage.

Why Atheists Care about Gay Rights


Austin Pride Festival, June 9, 2007

The Atheist Community of Austin supports same-sex marriage and opposes legislation that seeks to discriminate against individuals based on race, sex, religious belief, or sexual orientation. We view the freedom to marry as one of many freedoms and rights granted to all citizens as the natural consequence of true equality and the complete separation of church and state. Our nation has made great strides toward ensuring equal rights for women and minorities, yet true equality remains elusive and some segments of our population remain "fair game" for bigotry, prejudice, and discrimination.

With regard to same-sex marriage, we have yet to hear of a valid secular reason for barring consenting adults from entering contracts, which is what marriage is. Nearly all of the obstacles to gay rights stem from religious conservatives as a result of their religious beliefs. While they are entitled to their opinions, the First Amendment to the US Constitution guarantees that the government cannot make laws that favor particular religions, even if they are in the majority. Our Constitution exists to protect the minority from the whims of the majority.

While religious conservatives may think they somehow own the institution of marriage, they don't. Marriage licenses are granted by the state, not churches. Furthermore, the government has never been in the business of sanctifying marriages-nor should it ever be. That's the business of churches and nobody is demanding churches to perform same-sex marriages. In fact, the First Amendment also protects them from being forced to perform ceremonies outside the scope of their religious views. The state isn't meddling in the church's business and the church shouldn't be meddling in the state's business--or yours! For these reasons, we view same-sex marriage as primarily a church-state separation issue. ACA is a proud supporter and defender of the First Amendment to the US Constitution, especially the "establishment clause" that prevents religious practices from becoming government practices. Even if you're religious, we can all agree that any state religion won't be your religion.

Atheism is simply the lack of a belief in gods. It's the sensible position, given the lack of evidence for the supernatural. Atheists value evidence, reason, and scientific thinking. These are without a doubt the best tools we have to make good decisions-both for an individual and for public policy. Atheists value autonomy, having the education to make good choices, and accepting the responsibility for those choices. We see no benefits from religious belief that cannot be attained through secularism, which is free of the divisive baggage that generally accompanies religion. We reject the idea that any religion can serve as the basis for a superior morality or healthy worldview.

The Atheist Community of Austin is organized as a nonprofit educational corporation to develop and support the atheist community, to provide opportunities for socializing and friendship, to promote secular viewpoints, to encourage positive atheist culture, to defend the first amendment principle of state-church separation, to oppose discrimination against atheists and to work with other organizations in pursuit of common goals. We welcome new members!

See the back of this sheet for a press release we issued in response to the Texas same-sex marriage amendment to the Texas State constitution. We have addressed gay and lesbian rights many times in press releases and on our cable access TV show and Internet radio show over the years. For more information about us, see our web site at www.atheist-community.org.

Follow us on:

twitter facebook meetup

blip.tv ustream.tv

From the officers:

The audio and video from Steve Bratteng's July 13th lecture are now available.