We’re still gearing up for Minnesota Atheists’ conference and “Night of Unbelievable Fun: The Second Coming”. (Early bird pricing on the conference ends today!) Since one of our ongoing missions in MNA is making sure that atheists in Minnesota know we’re here, and another is promoting a positive image of atheists, it’s really good to see both the game and the conference in our local press.
Eric Jayne is the president of Minnesota Atheists and the guy behind those atheist billboards that featured a baby and text in Chalkboard (not Comic Sans!). While a lot of people from outside Minnesota didn’t care for the billboards, the folks around here, who put up with a lot of bad Pro-Life America billboards, generally found them funny. The St. Paul Saints management found them very funny and contacted MNA about partnering up. As a big baseball fan, Eric sold the board on the idea, last year’s Mr. Paul Aints game was a big success for us and the Saints, and thus was the “Second Coming” born.
It’s only fitting therefore, that Eric talk about what the game means to him and to local atheist families in the Community Voices section of MinnPost:
By partnering with the St. Paul Saints, for what is being billed as “A Night of Unbelievable Fun: The Second Coming,” Minnesota Atheists is working to dispel unfavorable and unfair preconceived notions about atheists while emphasizing our desire and ability to have fun like everybody else.
Part of the fun on display will be the unique Mr. Paul Aints jerseys the players will wear during the game. These secularized jerseys will be auctioned off at the end of the game and a portion of the proceeds will go to the Family Place homeless shelter in St. Paul. There will be several other atheist-themed gags during the game which I don’t want to fully disclose at the moment, but don’t be surprised if you see a Doubting Thomas at Midway Stadium questioning some of the calls from the evening’s umpires.
There were nearly 300 atheists in our group section at last year’s atheist-sponsored ballgame and it was great to see that a large portion of that number consisted of families with children. It’s oftentimes difficult for these families to connect with other freethinking families even though Minnesota Atheists holds several family events throughout the year. Publicly celebrating our atheist identity with other families at a popular local venue was incredibly empowering and I am certain that it will be the same experience this year.
Somewhat weirder is the coverage the game and conference received in the CityPages, our local alt rag.
The players’ jerseys will later be auctioned, with some of the proceeds going to the Family Place Shelter in St. Paul, a local shelter where Minnesota Atheists volunteers prepare monthly dinners for families in need. So you see, they’re not all Godless jerks.
No Saints officials are quoted in the press release, but before the organization’s first atheists night last summer, General Manager Derek Sharrer said folks shouldn’t read too much into the team’s nickname.
“The team name itself is just that — it’s a team name,” Sharrer said, adding that “we didn’t name the team the Saints to make any sort of religious statement.”
Somewhere, Jesus frowns.
Because what kind of jerk writes the equivalent of “So, uh, I got this press release, and maybe the people who sent it aren’t 100% awful, but don’t, like, think real people think like them or anything, ‘cuz, uh, religion”? The kind who thinks a 22-year-old pop reference is an edgy way to start his article, I guess. Or the kind who compresses for space but still manages to add incorrect information. (This is the Minnesota Atheists’ Regional Conference, with some sponsorship from American Atheists. Last year’s conference was an American Atheists Regional Conference.)
Oh, well, we’ll just have to have a good time without him. I think we can do that.