September 9, 2008

Be an Atheist Activist in 30 Minutes a Week

Sign of the Freedom from Religion Foundation, ...
Sign of the Freedom from Religion Foundation, in Denver, Colorado. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
The links contained in the original post from 2008 were updated in December 2013.

Many atheists care deeply about maintaining the separation of church and state, promoting atheist equality, correcting popular misconceptions about atheists, and all sorts of other important goals. The number of worthy causes may even seem overwhelming at times. How can one person with limited time and resources hope to make a meaningful difference? Fortunately, one can be an effective atheist activist by investing merely 30 minutes a week.

Preparation

Maximizing the impact of a limited time investment requires a little preparation. After all, one must know where best to direct one's efforts. Therefore, I recommend using your first 30 minute period to do the following, each of which will make future efforts even easier:
  1. Install an RSS reader if you do not already have one. There are too many free ones out there to list them all. I am currently using NetNewsWire on OS X and Vienna for cross-platform applications.
  2. Add each of the RSS feeds for your favorite atheist blogs to your reader. Be sure to include: Internet Infidels News WireAmericans United for Separation of Church and StateFriendly Atheist, and of course, Atheist Revolution.
  3. Bookmark the following webpages for information of relevant legislative issues and other action alerts: Americans United - Legislative Alerts, Freedom From Religion Foundation - Action Alerts, and Secular Coalition for America - Activism. You can add this content to your RSS reader if you prefer.
  4. Join Reddit and StumbleUpon.
The 30-Minute Activist

Now that you are set up, it is time to figure out how best to use your 30 minutes a week for the good of atheists everywhere. In no particular order, here are several things you can do on a regular basis to benefit the atheist movement:
  1. Vote up good atheist-related material on Reddit and StumbleUpon. If you use Facebook, Google+, and/or Twitter, consider using these platforms to promote atheist content too. This helps others find it, magnifying its influence.
  2. Take action on relevant action alerts you receive. This is typically as simply as making a phone call, signing an on-line petition, or sending a letter to an elected official.
  3. Write letters to the editor of your local newspaper and learn how to use your local paper's website effectively.
  4. Learn who your elected officials are, how they vote on issues of importance to atheists, and how to contact them.
  5. Find out if there is a local atheist group in your area.
  6. Give blood.
  7. Learn how to work toward ending anti-atheist bigotry.
  8. Learn how to complain about church-state violations.
Just imagine what could happen if even 25% of atheists wrote one letter to the editor of their local newspaper once a month! We would be impossible to ignore. Atheist activism does not have to be arduous. Together, we can do amazing things in only 30 minutes a week.

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