Atheists Use Black History Month to Target Black Non-Believers

February 2, 2012  |  

Black History Month isn’t just a time for corporations to put out a pro-black diversity message, it’s also recruiting season for African Americans for Humanism, a national organization of non-believers.

On Monday, the Dallas branch of the atheist group will erect a billboard on an Interstate centered amongst a dozen or so black churches in the city. The ad will feature controversial member Alix Jules, who discussed his decision to become an atheist in the July issue of Ebony, alongside Harlem Renaissance poet Langston Hughes. The purpose, he told MyFoxDFW, is to make black people question what they’re being told in church.
“Can I believe in a God that will help me find my keys and win a ball game but allows hunger in places like Africa? Those are really big questions the church does not have answers to.”

Dallas is just the jumping-off point for the billboard campaign which will also show up in New York City, Los Angeles, Chicago, Atlanta, Washington, DC, and Durham, NC. Other prominent African American figures like Frederick Douglas and Zora Neale Hurston will appear on billboards as well. While a local Dallas pastor said the campaign will provide an opportunity for challenging debate and discourse, Alix says he’s not interested. According to him, the billboards are simply meant to provoke thought.

“It’s for the ones that really have doubt,” he says. “Understand you are not alone.”

It will be interesting to see how people react once the ads go up next week.

What do you think about this idea? Do you think black atheists feel particularly isolated given the tradition of Christianity among African Americans?

Brande Victorian is a blogger and culture writer in New York City. Follower her on Twitter at @be_vic.

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