August 25, 2007

Founder of San Francisco Atheists Honored

According to an Inside Bay Area article by Julia Scott, the founder of San Francisco Atheists, Jim Heldberg, will be honored tonight with a public dinner in San Francisco. Heldberg is the rare sort of atheist activist who fully embraces atheism and is not afraid to speak out against the importance of keeping religion out of government and politics.

Like most American atheists, Heldberg was indoctrinated into Christian superstition. Fortunately, it didn't stick.
"I couldn't square religion with my goal of being a scientist," says Heldberg, now 66. "How does prayer work? Nobody can explain it. How can there be invisible people in the sky? I wanted it to fit, and it frustrated me that it didn't fit."
Although he initially felt alienated, Heldberg was fortunate enough to find fellow freethinkers in the Bay Area. He certainly was not going to find support in the Christian community.
Declaring himself as an atheist in public has caused Heldberg to receive harassing phone calls and e-mails from Christians who tell him he's going to hell.
Not only did he found San Francisco Atheists, but Heldberg also became the national affiliation director of American Atheists.

Heldberg will be honored for his service tonight at a public dinner beginning at 6 p.m. at Schroeder's German Restaurant, 240 Front St.

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