An Atheist Behind Enemy Lines
by Noah Lugeons
It’s a long story, but my wife and I bid a fond farewell to NYC this week and moved south. Our destination? The duodenum of the bible belt; south Georgia.
I can hear the incredulous echo of “Why!?” already, so I should note that Lucinda’s family lives there, I grew up there, we both have a number of friends there and it costs about as much to rent a house there as it costs to park a car for a month in the Big Apple. So when I got laid off and the most expensive city in the US was no longer a viable option, Georgia was the first option we considered. And as much as there is to hate about this part of the country, I was wearing shorts and short-sleeves this afternoon.
But I’m also a firm believer that if we want to make progress as a movement, we’re going to need vocal atheists in every part of the nation. The disturbing national trend of voluntary relocation for the purposes of political hegemony is certainly a factor in our gridlocked government. And while I would never recommend that anybody move to or even visit South Georgia for any reason whatsoever, I also wouldn’t recommend that anyone shy away from a place they’d like to be just because the religiots got there first.
And sure, there’ll be issues. My new landlord let us know that if there was an emergency we could call him on Sundays, but otherwise it’s the lord’s day. I’ve already been asked three times if my wife and I had chosen a church yet (we’ve been here almost two days). The guy who came to hook up our cable was really friendly until he saw Lucinda’s Bible (and the Atheist sticker on it). Not to mention the witless church signs packed so densely they could be knocked over like dominoes. And the bumper stickers. And the confederate flags…
But I don’t see any of this as a negative. After 46 diatribes in a row, I was starting to worry that I’d run out of shit to be pissed about. Now I’m fairly certain that I’ll be good through episode 348 at least.