come out, come out…

Richard Dawkins recently introduced the Out Campaign, an effort to get atheists to come out of the closet:

Today, the bestselling books of 'The New Atheism' are disparaged, by those who desperately wish to downplay their impact, as "Only preaching to the choir."


Our choir is large, but much of it remains in the closet. Our repertoire may include the best tunes, but too many of us are mouthing the words sotto voce with head bowed and eyes lowered. It follows that a major part of our consciousness-raising effort should be aimed, not at converting the religious but at encouraging the non-religious to admit it – to themselves, to their families, and to the world. This is the purpose of the OUT campaign.

One may quibble over the announcement’s wording, or disagree with the slogans, or prefer a different logo design; there is, however, no doubt that it is a movement whose time has come.

update (8/1 @ 10:53am):
Vjack at Atheist Revolution has some comments on coming out as an atheist:

Atheists are increasingly looking to the gay rights movement as a model for how to gain respectability, political power, and to ensure that our rights are protected. The key lesson many atheists seem to have taken from the GLBT community is that "coming out" solves all ills. The idea is that if more atheists were to come out, we'd be impossible to ignore, we'd have tremendous strength due to our large numbers, it would no longer be possible to discriminate against us, etc.

This sounds good in principle, but it strikes me as naive and more than a little condescending. Those of us not fortunate enough to live in the UK with Dawkins or in progressive regions of America may have realistic concerns over our personal safety. [...] Others of us are worried that publicizing our lack of religious belief would only increase our alienation or interfere with our careers.


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