A group gathered in MU’s speaker’s circle Thursday to speak out against the Bangladeshi government and advocate for freedom of expression.
Nearly 15 atheists participated in the Defend Dissent protest. The demonstration was inspired by the arrest of several bloggers in Bangladesh who spoke out against the government and against Islam. Columbia is one of several cities across the globe participating in Defend Dissent.
Joe Eversole, an atheist from Oklahoma, felt a great sense of freedom when he embraced his atheist identity. He got this tattoo before coming out as an atheist, but he said it describes the feeling he got from being an open atheist.
Religion was one of those things Cliff Cain's mother raised him not to talk about in public – that, along with politics and sex.
With religion alone, he's breaking that rule – in his words, "Religion is as polarizing as politics and as passionate as sex."
Cain is a religious studies professor at Westminster College in Fulton, and he was the chair of the committee for the school's annual symposium. This year, the topic was religion, and more than 40 experts came to give lectures and facilitate discussions.
For 19 years, Dan Barker preached from a Christian pulpit. Now, he’s co-president of the Freedom From Religion Foundation and is an atheist activist. He said he outgrew his religious beliefs. These days, that’s not unusual.
“Agree with it or not, atheism is really growing," he said. "Millions and millions of good Americans don’t believe in a God.”