Friday, August 5, 2011

Howdy from Houston, the night before...

Greetings from Houston-town! What's the nickname for Houston? Oil city? Crazy driver town? I'm too tired to google it. It's late and I'm tired. Good thing I don't drink.
I drove out to Houston this afternoon with Paul Mitchell, another member of the San Antonio Skeptic/Atheist groups. We talked about the Skeptic/Atheist movement, TAM, and the upcoming Texas Freethought Convention (tickets available now! sign up now!). FYI: Even though Paul heads up the Convention organizing, I would have plugged that anyway. We went our separate ways for the evening. Paul went to a dinner meetup sponsored by the Freedom From Religion Foundation. Sounded like a fun social and networking event. Apparently Dan Barker also performed a full set of his songs.
I chose to go to the "Family Faith and Freedom" event at the Mt Ararat Baptist Church. The event was sponsored by Americans United for Separation of Church and State and the ACLU. There was a imam, a Hindu, a Unitarian Reverend, a stand in for a Rabbi (who couldn't come because of sabbath services), and a Humanist/Atheist. Oh yeah, and several Christians. The evening opened (and closed) with a prayer...a very thinly veiled Christian prayer. I don't think everyone got the concept of the evening: that a christian prayer only event is NOT inclusive. The imam made the focus of his speech that, to paraphrase, "all of you believe in the one god, whatever you call him, so go out there and tell these divisive christians that they don't speak for you." When I'm told to pray "in the name of the father" or that we're all together because we believe in the one true god I got ticked off. Not just for me the atheist, but for the hindu and the Unitarian as well!
So not everyone got the concept of including everyone because we're all humans and we're all Americans, but the two main speakers DEFINITELY got the point. Those were AU's Rev. Barry Lynn and Rev. William Lawson. They are believers, but they really got it right. It's not a governor's job to instigate a religious event. When government and religion are mingled BOTH are corrupted. Perry's supposed to represent ALL Texans, not just particular christians. Good stuff. Because of open minded people like this we can have "interfaith" events that are ACTUALLY inclusive. 5-10 years ago no "interfaith" event would have a hindu, a unitarian, and (especially) no atheist.
Side note: I met some audience members who were pagans. Not the pagans evangelicals accuse atheists of being, but *actual* pagans. Good mix of audience members too.
OK, this may not be a particularly coherent post, but it's 1 AM. You get what you pay for. I'll be getting some sleep now and then getting up early to join the protests outside the Response rally at 8AM. It's looking like about 8 or 10 thousand people RSVP'd for the a ~75,000 seat stadium. Don't know if that includes the bus loads being driven in from out of state by influential preachers participating in the Response, but that stadium is gonna be mega-empty. And a lot of those RSVP's are from people who just want to watch the train wreck that will be Perry's Evangelical revival.
I'll let ya'll know how it goes. There's gonna be a live feed and I'm sure that if Perry decides to declare his run for president you'll know before I do. G'night

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