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Literally an Atheist Community

A few months ago, I saw the Academy Award nominated film, Milk about gay activist, politician, Harvey Milk. One of the things that I noticed about as I saw the movie was that the main character was able to gain political power because he formed a strong gay community to elect him. I remember wondering if atheists could form a local community and elect leaders.

Last night, I was checking out some other atheist blogs and the Friendly Atheist did a story on a small town called Liberal, Missouri. I did a little more research on this because it sounded interesting to me. The town of Liberal was founded in 1880 as a town for atheists only. There was actually a law to keep Christians out of the town.  There were no churches and on Sunday mornings school children would learn about science and philosophy.

Of course, a town which advertises as a town for atheists only is going to be a target for Christian missionary groups. Sadly, Christians started moving into the town on the “down-low” and holding secret worship services. Some Christian groups even bought up property next to Liberal and erected giant signs pushing Jesus.

Don’t get me wrong though, Liberal was no paradise, it certainly had its problems. For one thing, while I understand the desire to outlaw religion I do see that level of authoritarian control to be detrimental to society. Nevertheless, I think that modern atheists can learn a lot from Liberal, Missouri. Maybe the time has come to try this experiment again in a more modern way.

I don’t think we can actively exclude Christians and other god believers, but we can certainly find a place where we can form the majority and use the democratic process to create a community of our own. Of course, fundamentalist Christians will undoubtedly come to proselytize and we would have to deal with that. First things first however, what are people’s opinions about the idea? Where would be the best place for such a town? How willing and able would you be to move to an atheist town?

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