A one-way trip to hell and that lifelong bunsen burner

The Heresy Club is great value, as you probably know.

Siana Bangura has a great post on “Black Atheism and why it’s something to talk about.”

For me, the biggest battle I face is dealing with the confusion and pity that my lack of belief often stirs in some. I remember an episode at school one lunchtime when I was surrounded by ‘The God Squad’ who chanted and prayed *AT* me with their Bibles and Rosary Beads. They said my ‘soul’ needed ‘saving’ and that I was on a one-way trip to hell and that lifelong bunsen burner if I didn’t ‘repent’. It was truly terrifying and also extremely laughable all at once. They simply didn’t understand me. I didn’t fit into their box, their little world, their narrow world view. They told me I was trying to be ‘white’. I was often called a ‘coconut’, or a ‘milkyway’ or an ‘Oreo’ if the mood was right. You know, black on the outside and white on the inside? I didn’t see it as bullying, and I don’t think it was. It was a terrifyingly real demonstration of the power of religion though. These girls quite often behaved in Un-Christian ways (although there was a wave of “Born Again” business just before we finished year eleven) and I didn’t quite understand why they felt they had the right to preach at me. But then again, the hypocrisy of religious people is something I have always known. The type of black community I was surrounded by was the type that accepts crooks, cons, thugs, woman beaters, drug dealers, absent fathers, womanizers and adulterers, but never gays and never non-believers. The latter did not exist.

She has a lot to say.


  1. John the Drunkard says

    And people wonder why minorities, especially black americans, are underrepresented in freethought/atheist groups?

  2. says

    Siana Bangura

    Organised religion has allowed man to rule man like slaves once again, under the false guise of ‘freedom’ and ‘free-will’.

    I am pleased to see that my “Free Will” fetish gets a mention.

    Otherwise, I am sympathetic to the use of churches as a base for political organizing. For oppressed people it can be, tragically, the only safe haven they have.

  3. Neil Schipper says


    Since this post is related to racism and the black experience, I have a question.

    Sikivu Hutchinson recently wrote a piece critical of Romney’s comments about culture and prosperity during his trip to Israel. The piece is here:


    So I disagree with her characterization of an America in which the lag in black educational and economic achievement is only understood as the consequence of white power elites incessantly and energetically conspiring to oppress blacks. Nor do I appreciate her “Israel’s apartheid regime” sideswipe.

    Now I’m not trying to draw you into a debate about these issues. It may well be — and I don’t wish to presume to much — that your position(s) are closer to hers than mine. Fine.

    Well I left a comment and it’s been “awaiting moderation” for over a day (and she’s since commented on another more recent post).

    Let me proclaim: it’s her blog, so it’s her perogative. I get that, and this is not my question.

    First, my comment:

    Ms. Hutchinson,

    Which African country would you suggest Americans look to for inspiration regarding (1) the challenge of wealth creation, and (2) the problem of severe economic inequality?

    Only a fool would claim that racial animosity, the history of slavery (and more generally, the history of numerous violent conflicts) are unimportant explanatory features of present American (and global) wealth distribution. But you construct a fantasy world where they are the only things that matter. In this world, intelligence, initiative, foresight, delayed gratification, and the nurturing of the young, matter either not at all, or, if they do matter, it’s only insofar as governments have “bought” them for some people and not others.

    So you believe untrue things. And you believe untrue things that specifically favour the religion-like notion of redemption through ethnic conflict.

    Also, can you name two or more among the dozens of countries in the middle east where citizens openly express a wide variety of political viewpoints and routinely change their political leadership bloodlessly? I can only name one, so I need help.

    If you have ever expressed a harsh word about Tunisia or Yemen or Libya or Egypt or Syria regarding how they deal with ethnic or tribal conflicts, kindly remind me.

    So Ophelia, my question is: do you think my comment violates a reasonable threshold for robust disagreement? (This is a question with a one word answer.)

    In case your answer is no, I invite you to comment on whether you feel the level of skittishness and self-protection she demonstrates is appropriate on a site falling under the freethoughtblogs umbrella?

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