Nonprophet Status is a new blog dedicated to creating community within secular activists, and it’s coming out swinging with its first contest, “Share Your Secular Story”. I am one of the judges, and am really excited! You are cordially invited to share an anecdote, journey or example of a time when being a non-believer resulted in a positive experience. Whether it’s rooted in your career, your art, or your home life, the constant bombardment of religious holidays and well-intentioned seasonal tidings means that we non-religious are constantly having to deal with religion. There MUST be some good stories born out of that.
Since becoming acquainted with Humanism and its role in interfaith work, I’ve acknowledged that political peace and common understanding is more possible when it includes an effort to organize non-believers. It wasn’t a completely natural conclusion to make–most non-religious people only take swipes at people of faith, with a default argument that religious institutions have embedded war, discrimination and isolation into our culture. There is ample horrific evidence that you can point to and say, “XX religion caused XX war, or XX deaths;” arguments I would be not be able to disprove. However, what’s important about Nonprophet’s general point of view and this contest in specific, is that looking at the religious as the enemy does absolutely nothing. It doesn’t help anything to simply identify the negative and try and keep away from it. If anything, isolating ourselves from the reality that the world and the United States are driven by politically powerful varieties of faith is complacent. It’s a resignation to being a voiceless minority, and what progress could that possibly result in? I’ve met so many artists, activists and community organizers through Think Pink Radio and would never expect any of them to be content with being a voiceless minority. The thought of that is laughable, actually. Queer people in particular tend to be without faith and also have powerful stories of communication and triumph.
“Share Your Secular Story” is a contest that I believe will add to political progress. Whether we want it or not, non-believers have a lot in common, and it doesn’t all have to revolve around how much we hate religion. There are three categories for stories: youth, for submissions by individuals 25 years of age and under, interfaith, this category is for stories about engaging with religious people in a way that is positive and/or collaborative and finally moral imagination, this category is for stories about how secular values have motivated you toward social justice / civic engagement work, or just about values you hold as secularist. Prizes include signed books, DVD’s and a publication of your work in established online publications. For all the details, see the contest page, and spread the word through your facebook!