• An Atheist’s Vacation

    atheist townAs an atheist activist and blogger, I spend a lot of time thinking about religion, talking to the religious, and intercepting religious evangelists so others don’t have to be bothered. When it comes time to go on vacation, I decided to go to a place where I don’t have to do any of those things – Vermont.

    I didn’t remember it at the time, but Vermont is the least religious state in the country with a third of the state claiming “no religion.” Only 24% of the state claim to attend church regularly and 23% consider themselves, “very religious” – the lowest in the nation.

    The state is also really liberal in an independent sort of way.
    Marriage equality – check
    Medical marijuana – check
    Medically assisted suicide – check
    Call for a Constitutional Convention to get money out of politics – check
    Ben & Jerry’s ice cream factory – check
    Ethnic diversity – not so much — Vermont is one of the whitest states in the nation and that is definitely a problem.

    Aside from the diversity issue, Vermont is a paradise for atheists and liberals. It got me thinking about what it would be like if liberal atheists actually fully controlled a state or a town. Vermont is the closest we have, but this type of thing has of course been tried before and Christians came in en masse to ruin it, but times are different now and atheists are now much more organized. Would an atheist state be a place you would want to live in?

    Yes, I know there is this rift within the atheism community right now and people on one side might not want to live in a town or state with people on the other side, but I have to think that at the end of the day we are all pretty much on the same side. If you had to pick a next door neighbor, would you rather have an atheist blogger you disagree with on some minor point of political correctness or the fundamentalist Christian who believes that you deserve to be tortured for all eternity, and that homosexuality, masturbation, and sexual arousal outside of marriage are sins?

    I guess I am curious to know whether atheists should move en masse to a state like Vermont and seek to make it our state. Should we create an atheist homeland?

    One final point of observation from my trip: We drove passed a Planned Parenthood and the two escorts outside were sitting there bored to tears because there were no fundamentalist Christian protesters harassing anyone. How awesome is that?

    Category: AtheismfeaturedPersonalPoliticssecularism

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    Article by: Staks Rosch

    Staks Rosch is a writer for the Skeptic Ink Network & Huffington Post, and is also a freelance writer for Publishers Weekly. Currently he serves as the head of the Philadelphia Coalition of Reason and is a stay-at-home dad.

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    7 comments

    1. I have had similar thoughts for a while. But, for many people, it’s not just a trivial exercise to move to a new area. Families, children, elderly parents to take care of. A house which may or may not be sellable, and what about jobs? While some people work on-line, others can’t and must be near their jobs. While, I would like to move to such a system, I doubt that I could.

      Instead, I think we turn to virtual communities. There was an article a few weeks ago about not knowing your neighbors. I have much more in common with my various virtual communities than I do with anyone in my physical community. Ignoring the significant issue of physical infrastructure, I’d much rather have government based on virtual communities rather than physical communities, but that has it’s issues as well.

    2. For me, the question I have is not “Why don’t we all move to Vermont?”, but “How did this come to be?” and “How can we encourage duplication where we live?”

    3. It is certainly interesting to think about, but moving is not always a viable option. Personally, I’m still waiting for all the fundamentalist Christians to move to South Carolina like they keep saying they will.

    4. How is being the whitest state in the union a problem? I’m sure as
      liberal as Vermont is all minorities are welcomed with open arms If
      they don’t choose to live there what can be done other than to encourage
      them do so? I would personally never move to any New England state
      simply due to the fact that I hate cold winters. To quote Yogi Berra,

      “If people don’t want to come out to the ballpark, how are you going to stop them?

      1. I’m a Vermonter, now living in NYC. I’d love to see Vermont be more diverse, but you’re absolutely right. Vermont simply isn’t an appealing destination for many minorities (it lacks job opportunities), but Vermont is already welcoming immigrants and minorities with open arms:

        http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/the-fix/wp/2014/07/17/vermont-is-already-home-to-more-undocumented-immigrants-than-youd-think/

        (P.s. if the numbers of refugees in that article looks small, remember that the population of the whole state is only 630,000)

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