Sharp-eyed visitors to this blog might have noticed a recent addition to the sidebar in the form of the Scarlet A. This is the logo of the OUT Campaign.
So, what is the OUT Campaign? The best way to find the answer to that question is to go to the Campaign’s Website and get an explanation from the horse’s mouth. You can do this by clicking on the logo in the sidebar or on the left. I will say a few words about it here but for an authoritative view, visit the site.
The easiest way to explain in a nutshell what the Campaign stands for is to quote a couple of sentences from the front page of the Website:
Atheists are far more numerous than most people realize. COME OUT of the closet! You’ll feel liberated, and your example will encourage others to COME OUT too.
What does signing-up commit you to? Nothing. In fact there is no signing-up. You cannot become a “member” or put your name on the “roll”. There are no beliefs to agree to, no duties. You can, if you wish, display the Campaign’s logo, the Scarlet A, on your blog (if you do so, they ask you to let them know by email) or you can go to the Shop and buy a Scarlet A lapel badge and other goodies, but you don’t have to.
Therein lies the strength of the Campaign in my opinion. There are plenty of organizations that subscribe to a secular or humanist philosophy (among them the British Humanist Association and the National Secular Society, to mention but two) but these, quite properly, publish a set of beliefs and intentions, pursue a programme of activities and engage in campaigns on numerous issues. That’s as it should be, but not everyone necessarily agrees with all of these views and policies. I know I don’t. There is therefore a need for a movement with the simplest of bases that allows atheists to say “Here I am and here is where I stand.” The OUT Campaign does this.
Some people will probably be muttering at this point “So what? If you want to be an atheist, be an atheist and don’t bother the rest of us with it.” Sorry, no, I don’t agree. There is a need to bother the rest of you with it, just a little bit. That is because there are many atheists who for various reasons keep the fact to themselves. They may be nervous about declaring themselves or afraid of the consequences of doing so. This is frustrating for them and means that their voice is never heard on issues involving religious interference in politics, education and the life of the community. As more people stand up to be counted, more will have the courage to do so. At least, that is the hope.
If you are an atheist, you will presumably know what you want to do. If you have atheist leanings but are not sure, then visit the sites I mention above, follow the links and read what they say. Read Julian Baggini’s little book Atheism and see if it fits with what you think. If it does, a new world might open to you. Welcome to the club!