guardian.co.uk, Thursday 23 July 2009 17.30 BST
God omits to strike atheists dead in Alabama
Former pastors, the children of polygamists and assorted freethinkers gathered for an 'advance' in the name of nonbelief
The Alabama Freethought Association (AFA) doesn't like the sound of "retreat". They call their convivial annual gathering at Lake Hypatia an "advance". The 2009 schedule promised an atheists vs agnostics softball game, a ceremony honouring atheists in foxholes, paddleboats, music, cartoons, and barbecue.
Lake Hypatia is named for the Alexandrian scientist and philosopher murdered by a Christian mob in 415 CE, who has become an unofficial secular martyr. (There being no official secular martyr-selection procedure.) It's by Talladega National Forest. The state considers it Lake Joan, but the AFA sign on County Road 303 says Lake Hypatia. ("Joan ... of
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