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← [Update - WCTV Video] Teresa MacBain - coming out - American Atheists Conference March 26, 2012

[Update - WCTV Video] Teresa MacBain - coming out - American Atheists Conference March 26, 2012 - Comments

Quine's Avatar Comment 1 by Quine

Thank you, again, Teresa. On the better video, seeing your face during the presentation will add a great deal. Then folks will see the deep courage and honesty you have in abundance.

Fri, 30 Mar 2012 04:28:08 UTC | #931287

susanlatimer's Avatar Comment 2 by susanlatimer


Clear, pure, honest and moving.

That was really something. I look forward to the better video.

The Clergy Project is a wonderful thing. It's fascinated me since the beginning.

Thanks, Teresa.

Fri, 30 Mar 2012 05:44:03 UTC | #931298

Teresa Macbain's Avatar Comment 3 by Teresa Macbain

Thank you for being so supportive! This has been one of the greatest struggles of my life and I'm so happy that I'm finally out! The Clergy Project is a life saver for me and many others.

Fri, 30 Mar 2012 08:59:43 UTC | #931317

AtheistEgbert's Avatar Comment 4 by AtheistEgbert

Comment 3 by Teresa Macbain :

Thank you for being so supportive! This has been one of the greatest struggles of my life and I'm so happy that I'm finally out! The Clergy Project is a life saver for me and many others.

You have my full support, and I think your leadership skills and experience could still prove to be very valuable as the Clergy Project evolves. There might be challenges which require bravery, but there are also enormous opportunities and possibilities for the project. So good luck and my best wishes.

Fri, 30 Mar 2012 09:56:49 UTC | #931321

sandman67's Avatar Comment 5 by sandman67

Hi Teresa

congratulations and my hearty best wishes for all your future work. It takes bravery and integrty to take the steps you have and I hope your family and friends are as supportive and loving as the crowd in the video;-) They should be proud of you.

The Clergy Project is great and admirable, and your proposals for a support network are excellent. I know it is hard to come out, as I correspond with two more escapees Al Stefanelli and Ernest Perce who underwent that process sans any support and they had a hellish time.

Look forward to the improved audio version of your speech being posted.

Again, well done and all the best!

Fri, 30 Mar 2012 12:23:03 UTC | #931337

BeakOfTheFinch's Avatar Comment 6 by BeakOfTheFinch

Can someone post a link to Teresa's coming out story that she referred to in the video?

Fri, 30 Mar 2012 14:17:48 UTC | #931356

Jumped Up Chimpanzee's Avatar Comment 7 by Jumped Up Chimpanzee

Congratulations to Teresa and the other "outers", and the Clergy Project.

I have to say, as a Brit, I still find it truly astonishing how difficult it is for many Americans to break free of religion. It's yet another point to raise whenever we are accused of being intolerant or aggressive towards religion.

Fri, 30 Mar 2012 15:35:53 UTC | #931368

Quine's Avatar Comment 8 by Quine

I suggest that the Clergy Project may want to send out emails to as many clergy as possible requesting survey participation. The expected reaction would be a warning from church elders to all clergy against having anything to do with the Project, which would of course, spread the message very well to just the folks we want to reach.

Fri, 30 Mar 2012 15:47:21 UTC | #931371

CatherineD's Avatar Comment 9 by CatherineD

In response to your comment Quine, the goal of the Clergy Project is not to engage in atheist proselytizing or to de-convert Clergy that still fall on a believer spectrum. Rather, we want to make it know that, "a non-believing clergy community" exists and that we are here to support those active and former religious leaders who seek our help. I may be belabouring the point, but I do want to make it clear that all of our members concluded that atheism makes the most sense as a worldview through their own process and in their own time. We are confident that new members will seek us out as they discover us. When it comes to our members that are still active, as Teresa formerly was, we are working diligently to find ways to help them transition smoothy out of "religious life".

Fri, 30 Mar 2012 17:48:46 UTC | #931390

Quine's Avatar Comment 10 by Quine

Thanks Catherine. I understand that and was not suggesting proselytising, just getting the word out by polling. No information going out, just requests. When I am told something by one of my religious friends that supposedly came from the pulpit, I ask if the preacher was privately asked if he/she actually believes it is true. That is because some believe that it is okay to preach so long as no one asks that.

Sat, 31 Mar 2012 04:06:12 UTC | #931492

/Mike's Avatar Comment 11 by /Mike

Comment Removed by Author

Sun, 01 Apr 2012 02:19:56 UTC | #931596

squeegee's Avatar Comment 12 by squeegee

Nice work Teresa, it's hard to imagine as an Australian how hard it must be in America to denounce religious faith, especially from someone involved in the church as you were. All the best to you for the future.

Maybe I'm being over optimistic but I do get the feeling we're on the brink of finally beginning to make a difference in political circles [particularly in the US] in that, soon it will be unacceptable to make grandiose religious statements that ostricize and put down non believers.

Sun, 01 Apr 2012 03:37:12 UTC | #931605

Neurotraveller's Avatar Comment 13 by Neurotraveller

Powerful stuff. Congrats Teresa.

Sun, 01 Apr 2012 03:39:07 UTC | #931606

aroundtown's Avatar Comment 14 by aroundtown

It just gets better from this point on Teresa but I want to pass along a tip for you. You will most likely go through a blaming phase (blaming yourself) for your susceptibly and weakness to religion that robbed you of time that could have been spent in full awareness and not mired down in the delusion. Let those episodes pass because we cannot live in the past, we have today and tomorrow only so please keep your eyes on the road ahead and avoid looking in the rear-view mirror to often. All the best and I am happy for you.

Sun, 01 Apr 2012 05:30:31 UTC | #931613

Al Denelsbeck's Avatar Comment 15 by Al Denelsbeck

I just wanted to highlight something here. I can only imagine the underlying struggle that has to take place with abandoning not just one's career, but their identity and perhaps even their entire adult life, because they feel that the principle is more important. Many commenters on this site have struggled with 'coming out' and the difficulty of dealing with family, friends, and co-workers - it must be exponentially harder for everyone like Teresa Macbain who have their livelihood and entire social structure built around not just believing religion, but instilling this belief in others, and being a mentor and role model.

I'm not sure how many of us could tear up our entire lives like this. I know a lot choose to keep our mouths shut at work or school because we fear the negative consequences are too much of a risk, and I honestly can't fault anyone for that, especially in these economic times. Being 'true to yourself' seems like an empty platitude when bills have to be paid.

So thank you, Teresa, for a remarkable and very moving speech. On top of that, you have my respect and awe for taking a huge leap, not just because I agree with your reasoning, but because you risked so much to stand up for your beliefs. I hope others take heart from your actions, experiences, and strengths, and that your story helps make this path just a little bit easier for everyone following. I can't wish you luck without feeling like it's a silly superstition, but I can say you deserve it anyway.

Sun, 01 Apr 2012 06:25:43 UTC | #931622

Michael Gray's Avatar Comment 16 by Michael Gray

You have my hearty support in your decision to cease being a vector for these pernicious memes.

Sun, 01 Apr 2012 07:52:31 UTC | #931630

Capt. Bloodeye's Avatar Comment 17 by Capt. Bloodeye


Sun, 01 Apr 2012 08:29:10 UTC | #931634

Stafford Gordon's Avatar Comment 18 by Stafford Gordon

Good news.

Sun, 01 Apr 2012 09:12:56 UTC | #931638

drumdaddy's Avatar Comment 19 by drumdaddy


Sun, 01 Apr 2012 10:10:37 UTC | #931645

caseyg5's Avatar Comment 20 by caseyg5

You will have the best armor in the world in dealing with the inevitable backlash of your speech: rationality, common sense, facts, science and a horde of non-believers to watch your back. I don't have to include courage because you already have that. Welcome to daylight and clear skies!

Sun, 01 Apr 2012 15:53:34 UTC | #931678

Mr DArcy's Avatar Comment 21 by Mr DArcy

Teresa, thank you for confirming my impression as a Brit, that envangelial US Christians really are full of hate! You wonder what happened to Jesus with those people! There again, they do say that empty vessels make the most noise.

We ll done!

Sun, 01 Apr 2012 16:09:42 UTC | #931682

quarecuss's Avatar Comment 22 by quarecuss

I can hardly make out a word but the message comes through loud and clear. If only Irshad Manji could do this!

Sun, 01 Apr 2012 18:55:03 UTC | #931702

phil rimmer's Avatar Comment 23 by phil rimmer

Teresa, I didn't know how much I needed to hear this until I found tears on my face also. Though a Brit, like Hitch did, I put a lot of store in the potential for the USA to champion a better moral path for everyone. So, when the American "moral" majority said I was less trustworthy than a rapist, it hurt a lot more than I realised.

I tend not to blame the religiously afflicted, but have always felt the burden of infective guilt really does lie with those who afflict others for money. In my mind I demonise religious leaders and the new class of religious/political exploiters. The clergy project has made me understand how the more honest such leaders can be merely afflicted too, and may wake up one morning trapped in a loveless marriage with religion, but needing to keep up appearances or lose the house, your friends and seemingly all trace of public respect.

Teresa, thank you for your words. Your courage will beget plenty more, and as for respect I think you have a lifetime's supply.

Sun, 01 Apr 2012 19:11:54 UTC | #931706

Born-Again Atheist 's Avatar Comment 24 by Born-Again Atheist

Maybe Dan Dennett could start a Politician Project...

Mon, 02 Apr 2012 03:38:58 UTC | #931808

PERSON's Avatar Comment 25 by PERSON

Comment 24 by Born-Again Atheist

That's what the census follow-up survey was about.

It's a terrible idea in the case of politicians. All it would do is weed out the most principled.

Mon, 02 Apr 2012 18:48:19 UTC | #931970

Born-Again Atheist 's Avatar Comment 26 by Born-Again Atheist

Yes, the comment was tongue-in-cheek. First the electorate has to come out and politicians will out themselves.

Mon, 02 Apr 2012 22:42:36 UTC | #932012

Teresa Macbain's Avatar Comment 27 by Teresa Macbain

Thanks to all of you for your kindness and support. The backlash has begun and it's tough for me right now. It helps to know that I have friends like you guys.


Tue, 03 Apr 2012 03:55:21 UTC | #932054

susanlatimer's Avatar Comment 28 by susanlatimer

Comment 27 by Teresa Macbain

The backlash has begun and it's tough for me right now.

I'm sorry to hear that, but I'm not exactly surprised. It must be very difficult. I admire your courage and your honesty. I'm sure I'm just one among many cheerleaders out here.

Good luck. Let us know how it's going.

Tue, 03 Apr 2012 06:10:28 UTC | #932073

debonnesnouvelles's Avatar Comment 29 by debonnesnouvelles

Comment 27 by Teresa Macbain :

Thanks to all of you for your kindness and support. The backlash has begun and it's tough for me right now. It helps to know that I have friends like you guys.


There is no better reason to change your life from the roots up than the one you chose - not wanting to delude yourself any more. You do what you have to do and probably nobody in your immediate community thanks you for it. Whenever you are desperate, remember that there is a worldwide community out there who thanks you for your coming out. We cheer you and support you. And we are very grateful to you, because you show us that it is possible for a human to reason their way out of superstition.

Teresa! Teresa! Teresa!!!

Tue, 03 Apr 2012 09:11:06 UTC | #932086

susanlatimer's Avatar Comment 30 by susanlatimer

Comment 29 by debonnnesnouvelles

Teresa! Teresa! Teresa!!!

Rah, rah, rah!!! :-)

I agree with debonnesnouvelles completely. There is no better reason to change your life from the roots up than the one you chose.

It won't be easy but you give every impression of being an individual who's up to the task. We're with you. You've moved a lot of us. Thank you.

Tue, 03 Apr 2012 09:17:22 UTC | #932088