Sunday in the Park

The first of three potluck picnics sponsored by one of our regional godless groups is being held Sunday, 10 June, at noon, at Columbia Park—Skatje, my wife Mary, and I are planning on being there. Come on out and join the freethought community in the Twin Cities area!

By the way, it’s weird how we’ve got all of these infidel organizations here — the Campus Atheists, Skeptics, and Humanists at the University of Minnesota, the Humanists of Minnesota, the Minnesota Atheists, and the Atheists for Human Rights (who in this case aren’t participating in the picnics). The Twin Cities has an embarrassment of riches, while the rural parts of the state are just embarrassingly pious. We have a few students who are going to try and start up a CASH chapter here in Morris next year, and we’ll see how well that goes—if there are any other atheist groups in outstate Minnesota, let me know…and if there are any lonely, isolated atheists scattered here and there (and I know there are), let me know that, too. We should try to build a wider community.


  1. says

    I’m going to be a sophomore at Purdue next fall, and I was brainstorming with a friend of mine so start some sort of atheist organization here. I know at least many of my friends would join, but I was always sort of confused at what we’d actually do. A lot of atheists (especially the college variety) are amazingly apathetic, so I’m not sure how many would turn up for meetings. Plus, the 40+ various Christian organizations scare me just a little bit (Campus Crusade for Christ? Why in the world would you want to be named after a Crusade?)

    By the way, I love your blog. This is my first comment. I’m a Evolution and Genetics Major, so I really get a kick out of it.

  2. says

    The Campus Atheists, Skeptics, and Humanists group at the UMTC is exceptionally strong. You might want to read this interview with some of the organizers that talks a bit about what they do and what their goals are. If you want to know more, drop me a line and I can connect you up with some of the student leaders — they’re an enthusiastic group and love to help.

    I’m the new faculty advisor to the group, but really, I’m just along for the ride.

  3. says

    Thank you so much! This is really helpful. I think my main concern is finding a faculty advisor…don’t know if I should just be stereotypical and email all of my biology Professors, heh. But again, thanks! Hopefully this club will become a reality…I’ll let you know how things turn out.

  4. Heather says

    A picnic? Don’t you have to have someone say grace at one of those things? I’ve never heard of a picnic that wasn’t a “church picnic.”

    I wonder if the food at atheist picnics is better than at religious picnics? Is there a special dish that has served (like the Mormons and their lime jello/carrot concoction?) If not, someone needs to invent something – “atheist salad” or “humanist slaw” would be possibilities.

    Have fun at the shindig, and may the ants leave you alone.

  5. says

    This is Minnesota. I don’t have high hopes for exotic foods.

    “Humanist slaw” sounds like something you’d make with a woodchipper…which would be appropriate for Minnesota.

  6. Molly, NYC says

    So what are you bringing? Around here, my local Democratic club keeps holding potlucks where reliably, everyone else has either brought (a) something they bought at a deli; (b) some kind of starch salad (potato, pasta, etc.) or (c) a starch salad they bought at a deli. (1)

    I hope they do things differently in Minnesota.

    (1) I probably wouldn’t notice, except I do cook for these things. Love the people, hate their food.

  7. says

    It doesn’t surprise me that Minnesota has so many nonbelievers. The parts of the U.S. like Minnesota settled by German & Scandinavian immigrants during the 19th Century tend to display cultural standards influenced by the Enlightenment. America has an ongoing “culture war” in part because the waves of European immigrants who settled here came during different stages of the continent’s intellectual development and perpetuated like living cultural fossils the world views of their respective times and places. America’s christian fundamentalists, for example, largely descended from Scotch-Irish immigrants during the 17th and 18th Centuries before the Enlightenment reached the Celtic regions of the British Isles — and the difference shows down to this day.

    BTW, has someone notified the police about your atheistic picnic? Everyone knows that when you collect a bunch of atheists together, you create the ideal conditions for violence, theft, sodomy and fornication.

  8. Carlie says

    If not, someone needs to invent something – “atheist salad” or “humanist slaw” would be possibilities.

    I’d go for the signature dish being a red velvet cake cooked in the shape of an anatomically correct heart – that’d give the fundamentalists something to talk about.

  9. DCP says

    …and if there are any lonely, isolated atheists scattered here and there (and I know there are), let me know that, too. We should try to build a wider community.

    Hey, I’m somewhat lonely and isolated and an atheist! Thus I qualify, right? So, what kind of community do you propose and more important how far does “here and there” extend? To Europe, by any chance?

  10. Chinchillazilla says

    Thanks a lot, Minnesota. Hogging all the atheists. I KNEW there was a reason there aren’t any others in Kentucky.

  11. Eric P says

    First post for me as well PZ. I’ve been an avid reader for some time. I live in one of those parts of Minnesota that is still infested. Central area around Aitkin. I also wish we had a set of groups like that up in Duluth when I was in Collage.

    On of these days I’ll have to show up for an event. It would be great to talk to others with the same kind of ideas. Keep up the good work.

  12. Greg Peterson says

    I was at the picnic and had a blast, but got antsy to go fishing so left a little early (caught one decent catfish, by the way). I decided that the most “atheist” thing I could bring is ham sandwiches since pork offends two major world religions. Christians are probably harder to offend at the picnic table since their religion depends more on nonsensical beliefs than on nonsensical practices.