When President Obama wants to burnish his credentials amongst African Americans he knows he will always be welcome in one place: a black church from central casting. From scripture spewing politicians to high octane Baptist gospel choirs to the ubiquitous prayer circle and Tyler Perry’s bible-thumping Madea caricature, religion and black culture are virtually synonymous in the American popular imagination.
When I began researching my book Moral Combat: Black Atheists, Gender Politics and the Values Wars in 2009 I was interested in discovering what other Black writers had published on the intersection of non-theism, feminism, and Black liberation. Historically, Black writers and scholars have been marginalized by what might be dubbed the To Kill a Mockingbird or The Help effect...
It seems that every few months, a media outlet discovers that black nonbelievers actually exist out there—and that some of us even meet and organize! Then there’s a surge of attention, and curiosity, and occasionally even more colorful reactions. As the director of African Americans for Humanism (AAH), I often get phone calls and e-mails from journalists looking for real live black atheists to talk to.
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