Black atheists search for sense of belonging

Tagged: atheism / diversity / local groups

Several members of the Black Nonbelievers of Metro Orlando weigh in on the difficulties of being an atheist in the black community, and the difficulties of being a black person in the predominantly white broader atheist community.

At funerals, Warren Hughes always finds a seat in the back where, when the preaching and praying begins, he can slip out discreetly. He doesn't bow his head pretending to pray because he hasn't believed in prayer, or God, since he was 30 years old.

"If I stay there and bow my head, I am sanctioning what they are doing. I don't sanction it because I think it's wrong," said Hughes, who grew up in the Christian Science church. "I give no validity to mysticism at all."

Warren Hughes is 79, and until a year ago, he had never met anyone like himself: a black atheist. In the atheists groups he has joined, he was often the only black person.

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