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Atheist food drive at Metro State gives donors ideas to chew on

It's not enough that a national survey released Tuesday found atheists were the highest-scoring group on basic religious knowledge — now members of Metro State Atheists are being regular goody-two-shoes.

The group began a three-day campus food drive Tuesday dubbed "Food for Freethought."

The atheists take in nonperishable food items or cash donations from fellow students or other passers-by. In return, they hand out free books.

These are books that have been banned, censored or at least roundly criticized, said group co-founder Joel Guttormson.

The event dovetailed with "Banned Books Week," the last week of September, when hundreds of libraries and bookstores draw attention to what they believe is the mounting problem of censorship.

When best-selling atheist authors Richard Dawkins and Daniel Dennett heard about the Metro State event, they sent signed copies of their books for Guttormson to give away.

The atheist group's little table of books on an Auraria campus plaza attracted quite a bit of attention.

"It think this is great," said Anna Parsons, 32, a junior at the University of Colorado Denver. "I'm a devout atheist. That's what I believe in."

Other atheist groups have held "fiction for fiction" drives, in which they collect Bibles and hand over novels in exchange. But that struck Guttormson, 24, as disrespectful.

"I'd much rather try to change our image by giving food to the homeless," Guttormson said.
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