The Other Believers: Mark D. Hatcher, a black atheist

Tagged: activism / atheism / campus / DC / Mark Hatcher

The Washington Post asked AAH Advisor Mark D. Hatcher about his experience as a black atheist:

What is it like to be an African American who doesn’t praise Jesus Christ or Allah? Or one who doesn’t ascribe to a denomination of Christianity, such as Baptist, Methodist or Pentecostal, that’s part of a historically black church?

A 2009 Pew Research analysis found that 59 percent of African Americans were members of black Protestant churches, but there were others — many others — who fell into the category of “Other.” Five out of the 59 percent were grouped as an Other Historically Black Protestant. Two out of 15 percent of black Episcopalian Protestants fell into the category of Other. Then there are Buddhists, Scientologists and yes, atheists, who fall into their own realm of Other. They ascribe to a way of life or belief system that is outside the mainstream of religions often followed by African Americans.

What are the others like? How do they fit into a society that skews to mainstream Christians, and a culture in which so many black gatherings start or end with a gospel brunch, prayer breakfast or Christian church service?

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