Today we’re thrilled to share with you statements from two high profile folks. Speaking exclusively to NonProphet Status, Eboo Patel and August Brunsman explained why they think our ongoing Share Your Secular Story contest is so necessary as an avenue for secular folks to give voice to their experiences.

Eboo PatelEboo Patel

Founder / Executive Director

Interfaith Youth Core

At the Interfaith Youth Core, we are building a world where people live together in equal dignity and mutual loyalty: this world includes people of every religion and no religion at all. It is my firm belief that non-religious communities — Agnostic / Atheist / Humanist / Non-Religious / Non-Theistic / Philosophical / Secular — have important stories to tell, and this story contest provides an important place for these communities to contribute to the world we are building.

August BrunsmanAugust Brunsman

Executive Director

Secular Student Alliance

We are so lucky to be living at a time when so many people see pluralism as an important value. However, when it comes to religious pluralism many people’s approach is to try to shoehorn everyone into the religion box. About a year ago I was invited to participate in a cable access show about religious diversity in Columbus, OH. One of the other panelists suggested that all of us can be considered religious inasmuch as we all have a source of our highest values. I thanked him for trying to be pluralist, but also explained atheists and other secularists feel excluded by such language and that the city’s efforts at pluralism were falling short if they expected everyone to fit inside of the religion box. By telling our secular stories, we let more people understand that their notion of pluralism isn’t big enough if it doesn’t include people who have a secular source for their values.

Stay tuned to NonProphet Status for more exclusive statements on the significance of sharing secular stories, follow us on Twitterfind us on Facebook, and don’t forget to make your secular story heard with our Share Your Secular Story contest!

Eboo Patel is the Founder and Executive Director of the Interfaith Youth Core. Named  one of America’s Best Leaders of 2009 by US News & World Report, he is the author of the award-winning book Acts of Faith: The Story of an American Muslim, the Struggle for the Soul of a Generation (available for purchase in our Amazon store). Eboo is a member of the Advisory Council of the White House Office of Faith Based and Neighborhood Partnerships and holds a doctorate from Oxford University, where he was a Rhodes scholar.

August Brunsman is the Executive Director of the Secular Student Alliance. The winner of the 2006 Apex Award for Distinguished Service, August is also the Director of Camp Quest Ohio and is a Humanist Celebrant.

We recently announced the launch of our Share Your Secular Story contest, a call for stories that aims to give secular folks an opportunity to paint a picture of what their life a secular individual is like. We couldn’t be more excited about the great response the contest has gotten so far!

Today we’re thrilled to share with you exclusive statements from Hemant Mehta and Erik Roldan on the importance of this contest and why it is so necessary that secular folks give voice to their experiences — be sure to come back in the coming months for more.

Hemant MehtaHemant Mehta

Atheist Activist / Public Speaker

The Friendly Atheist

I think one of the most important things atheists, agnostics, secular humanists and the like have to do to help our movement is to “come out” about our identity. In order to get others to be open and proud, they have to know that it’s ok to say so. Telling stories about our own battles with being an atheist is a powerful way to help other atheists deal with similar situations. I encourage all atheists, agnostics, and secular humanists to share their stories, whether it’s through an essay, a blog, or Twitter. Let’s help others realize that they are surrounded by atheists, agnostics, and secular humanists everywhere.

Erik RoldanErik Roldan

DJ / Blogger

Think Pink RadioShare Your Secular Story Panel of Judges

Since becoming acquainted with Humanism and its role in interfaith work, I’ve acknowledged that political peace and common understanding is more possible when it includes an effort to organize non-believers. It wasn’t a completely natural conclusion to make – most non-religious people only take swipes at people of faith, with a default argument that religious institutions have embedded war, discrimination and isolation into our culture. There is ample horrific evidence that you can point to and say, “XX religion caused XX war, or XX deaths;” arguments  I would be not be able to disprove. However, what’s important about NonProphet’s general point of view and this contest in specific, is that looking at the religious as the enemy does absolutely nothing. It doesn’t help anything to simply identify the negative and try and keep away from it. If anything, isolating ourselves from the reality that the world and the United States are driven by politically powerful varieties of faith is complacent. It’s a resignation to being a voiceless minority, and what progress could that possibly result in? I’ve met so many artists, activists and community organizers through Think Pink Radio and would never expect any of them to be content with being a voiceless minority. The thought of that is laughable, actually… “Share Your Secular Story” is a contest that I believe will add to political progress. Whether we want it or not, non-believers have a lot in common, and it doesn’t all have to revolve around how much we hate religion.

Stay tuned to NonProphet Status for more exclusive statements on the importance of sharing secular stories, follow us on Twitter, find us on Facebook, and don’t forget to make your secular story heard with our Share Your Secular Story contest!

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