Judgement Day: Not Happening

Oct. 21, 2011 KCAC celebrated Harold Camping’s most recent failed Rapture Day prediction. At the heart of Kansas City’s Power & Light District, KCAC proudly hefted signs with messages such as “JUDGMENT DAY: NOT HAPPENING,” “THE END IS FAR,” and “ATHEISTS BELIEVE IN YOU!”

Check out the full album on our Facebook page!

The reaction to our presence was quite mixed. The patrons of Power & Light were there for a country music concert and were clearly not familiar with evangelical atheists. There were a lot of baffled looks. A few people seemed not to appreciate the parody of our signs. Upon reading our “I BELIEVE IN LIFE BEFORE DEATH” sign, a woman enthusiastically asked if we were a pro-life group. Which we are — we think life is grand! It turns out that she was interested only in protecting a very tiny subset of what she defined as “life.”

The next-most-common reaction was similar to that of another woman, sitting in her car at a stoplight, who smiled and waved at us. After reading our “GOD IS UNAVAILABLE RIGHT NOW. CAN I HELP YOU?” sign, she quickly can you buy viagra over the counter withdrew her wave, averted her gaze and crossed herself.

A lot of passers-by wanted us to know that Jesus loved us. We enjoyed responding, “And we love you!” Several people, after reading our “SMILE: THERE IS NO HELL” sign, thought it important to inform us that there is indeed a hell. The common theme was eagerness to inform us that hell is real, but an awkward silence when we asked for proof. One gentleman laughingly informed Josh that he would be “going to hell for truth” after reading Josh’s “TRUTH: BROUGHT TO YOU BY SCIENCE” sign. And one young man yelled, “Praise Jesus and fuck you!” at David from the passenger-side window of a pickup. He didn’t stop to clarify his position.

Many people were amused. A lot of pedestrians giggled and smirked at our signs, and we had some fun conversations about whether people were happy that the world did not end that day. A few people snapped pictures of us with their phones. Some even wanted their pictures taken with the signs. One young man liked a sign so much that he insisted on buying it! That young man is now the proud owner of a sturdy 2’x2’ particleboard sign that reads, “I’M TOO OLD FOR AN IMAGINARY FRIEND,” and KCAC is the recipient of an unexpected $25 donation! One gentleman played a bit of a trick on Amanda and Sarah Nessel by pretending to be a religious fundamentalist. After a few minutes spent antagonizing them, he revealed he was a businessman from Seattle, fully supported our message and was pleasantly surprised that Kansas City was not at all what he expected – partly because of us!

All in all, the experience was positive. It is equally important for KCAC to have our presence known and message heard by people who do not understand atheism and who fear atheists as it is to be seen and heard by those who do agree with us.

Freethought & Feast

KCAC proudly partnered with the Kansas City Rescue Mission Thanksgiving 2011 for the rescue mission’s new Operation Turkey Convoy program. Thirteen members of KCAC, in our stylish blue T-shirts, worked alongside members of local Christian churches to help deliver 500 turkey dinners to poverty-stricken families as well as elderly and disabled people.

Check out the full album on our Facebook page!

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Counter Evangelism in Westport

Aug. 19, 2011 KCAC took to the streets for the first time! The corner of Pennsylvania Ave. and Westport Road has become a notorious spot for street evangelism. Folks passing out pamphlets titled “Are You Going to BURN FOREVER?”, with Bible quotes, like Matthew 25:41, “Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire,” and other clever phrases, like “Turn or Burn,” stand on this corner and harass the good people of Westport as they attempt to enjoy their Friday and Saturday evenings out.

KCAC decided two can play at that game. We went out, banners in hand, sporting our stylish KCAC T-shirts, superior Biblical knowledge in the steely traps of our minds, ready to do battle. Prepared for an evening of what David Burger, KCAC’s director of activism, has coined “counter-evangelism.”

Check out the full album on our Facebook page!

Unfortunately, those god fearing Christians turned tail and ran as soon as they saw us coming. While we planned for a a night of spirited intellectual debate on the validity and merit of the Christian Bible, with no one to official counter, we simply introduced ourselves to the Westport community.

We waved at cars as they drove past, said hello to pedestrians as they walked by, talked only to those who wished to engage in conversation, and handed out informational postcards to people who wanted to know more about our organization. As it turns out, people like atheist a whole hell of a lot more than street evangelists.

Many cars honked their horns, cheered, and waved in support. Lots of people gave us high fives or shook our hands. Several people thanked us for being there, saying “I’m tired of seeing and hearing these Christians every week.” and “It’s nice to see somebody out here representing my point of view.” Most of our conversations were with fellow atheist who wanted to share stories of dealing with religiosity at work, within their families, or amongst their friends. The obvious need for community building for atheist in Kansas City was never more acute as it was talking to dozen upon dozen of atheist and agnostics in Westport that night about struggling to feel understood and accepted by their religious friends, families, and communities.

Of course, there were a few people who did not agree with our message. We ran into a group of IHOPers who claimed to have witnessed people healed of blindness and cured of paralysis. They claimed they knew Jesus was the son of God because he had transformed their lives personally. One gentleman asked if he could pray for me. After I agreed, he put one hand on my shoulder and his other hand on, what I assume was his wife’s shoulder, bowed his head, and asked Jesus to come into my heart.

All in all, it was a fun evening and a great success. We spoke with a lot of people about KCAC and, if nothing else, spared the patrons of Westport one Friday evening of hearing street evangelists preech at them.

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