American atheists are elevating their presence in activism and charitable giving. Here's the evidence:
* At Kiva.org - the micro-finance nonprofit - the community group "Atheists, Agnostics, Skeptics, Freethinkers, Secular Humanists and the Non-Religious" leads all other groups in every category. The alliance of apostates has 18,318 members that have lent $5,710,050 in 190,824 loans. In second place are the "Kiva Christians" with 8,328 members lending $3,255,700.
* At reddit.com, the subreddit "atheist" has 301,221 "godless redditors", touting itself as "the web's largest atheist forum." The group has (by 12/6/11) raised $172,564 for the nonprofit group "Doctors Without Border" (Medecins Sans Frontieres). This total far surpasses the $50,000 raised in 2010.
* Foundation Beyond Belief, a newly-formed secular nonprofit, has currently (12/6/11) raised $216,585 from its 991 members. The charity distributes its funds internationally to needy causes; a present focus is the famine in the Horn of Africa.
* Comic Campus Charity Rocks - In September, 2010, secular students at the University of South Carolina sponsored a "Stone-the-Heathen" event, tossing water balloons at atheist volunteers. The even raised awareness of stoning executions in Iran; funds gained were donated to Amnesty International.
* Atheist Actions - 1) The Military Association of Atheists and Freethinkers requested on 12/6/11 that "humanist" chaplains be provide in the armed forces for non-believing service members. 2) In Leesburg, Virginia, a skeleton in a Santa Claus costume, crucified on a cross, was posted on 12/5/11 in front of the Loudon County courthouse. After it was quickly removed, a debate ensued about free speech rights.
In the future, atheists are predicted for increasing visibility in the USA. Surveys indicate an especially strong trend towards secularization in the younger population. The 2007 Pew Research Values Study reports that 19% of the under-30 population identifies themselves as "atheist, agnostic or non-religious."
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About Hank Pellissier
Hank Pellissier is the editor of Transhumanity.net. Previously to that he was Managing Director of the Institute for Ethics and Emerging Technology (IEET). He's also been a columnist at the NYTimes/Bay Citizen, Salon.com, and SFGate.com, and feature writer for numerous publications. He's the author of Invent Utopia Now, and Why is the IQ of Ashkenazi Jews so High?
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