1. Refusing My Religion Trailer


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    REFUSING MY RELIGION Sometimes Finding Salvation Means Losing Your Faith www.refusingmyreligion.com This story could only happen in America. What happens when preachers lose their faith and become atheist activists? WHAT IS THIS DOCUMENTARY ABOUT? Our feature-length documentary, REFUSING MY RELIGION, examines through intimate first-person accounts the experiences of clergy members who have left their careers in ministry, renounced religion, and gone on to become prominent figures in the secular movement. When ministers lose their faith and “come out” not only as non-believers but as atheist activists, this is a clear indication that our society is transforming right before our eyes. We are making the definitive film about the unprecedented and rapid changes to the religious and cultural landscape of America. As the internet and access to information continue to shape our world, religion now finds itself in a place it has never been before. The Clergy Project is an online safe haven for former or active ministers, priests, rabbis, imams, etc. who have “moved beyond faith”. The website went public in March of 2011 with 52 original members; since then it has increased to 425. The Clergy Project grew indirectly out of the 2010 Tufts University study “Preachers Who Are Not Believers” conducted by Daniel Dennett and Linda LaScola. In 2011 The Richard Dawkins Foundation for Reason & Science provided funding to help launch TCP. Some of TCP’s founders include Dan Barker, co-president of the Freedom From Religion Foundation, clinical research consultant Linda LaScola, Clergy Project Executive Director Catherine Dunphy, and Executive Director of the RDFRS Dr. R. Elisabeth Cornwell. WHY IS THIS FILM IMPORTANT, AND WHY SHOULD YOU SUPPORT IT? Education and awareness are integral to creating the policies and laws that foster a just and moral society. If these matters are important to you, please contribute to this film. We are at a tipping point. The stronghold religion has had on our society is “all breaking down,” as Daniel Dennett recently told us in an on-camera interview. The latest Pew Forum On Religion & Public Life survey and statistics reveal that there is a never-seen-before momentum shifting away from traditional American religious institutions, both at the societal and individual levels. The evidence proves that church attendance has significantly decreased in the past decade, particularly among young Americans. This is your opportunity to be active in closing the final chapter of America’s civil rights battle. Helping us complete this film will raise awareness of the personal hardships and discrimination a number of atheists face in pursuing the truth of who they are. These former clergy realized that they must live aligned with the truth inside themselves. But once they “came out” as non-believers, many were immediately shunned by their communities, had their marriages and families torn apart, were fired from their secular jobs, had businesses ruined, personal property destroyed, and some have received threats of physical harm, sexual abuse and even death. Some have had to uproot their lives entirely and move far away from their homes to start anew, simply because they no longer believe. Atheists encounter many similar social justice issues that affect women, gays, and minorities. Our documentary explores this crucial cultural divide between the secular and the fundamentally religious. In our exploration of the subject matter, we have gained a greater understanding of the diverse and complex nature if religion in America. We have been moved and inspired by the efforts of those creating dialogue with and building bridges toward the secular movement. We can see the energy of what could evolve into what we hope is a more tolerant and compassionate community. This is something we think the world should know about. HOW WILL WE USE YOUR DONATION? As you know, making a film of this magnitude is expensive and time-consuming. Your donation will enable us to complete it. The funds will be used for production, post-production, licensing fees, marketing, and distribution.

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    • The Humanist Hour #81: The Clergy Project


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      In this month’s podcast, Todd Stiefel’s co-host is Margaret Downey. Together they interview three representatives of the Clergy Project, acting Executive Director Catherine Dunphy, Jerry Dewitt and Teresa MacBain. The Clergy Project is an online home that provides “a safe haven for active and former clergy who do not hold supernatural beliefs.” Catherine, Jerry and Teresa are just three of more than 400 members of this growing community that just marked its two-year anniversary on March 21. In order to maintain anonymity, membership is only available to those who have been invited. The resources of the Clergy Project include not only offering a way for clergy members (and former members) to communicate with and support one another, but also a program to help members find secular employment, as well as a quick path to become a humanist celebrant through the AHA’s Humanist Society. Listen as Catherine, Teresa and Jerry tell their very personal stories to Todd and Margaret, revealing the joys and hardships of making the transition from a religious believer preaching from behind the pulpit to a nonbelieving secular citizen making a new path for themselves. Also listen when Todd and Margaret fill you in on the incredible success of the partnership between the Foundation Beyond Belief and the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society, raising $430,000 through last year’s Light the Night Walk program. Those looking to help with this continuing effort, visit the Foundation Beyond Belief’s LLS web page. For complete episode details, visit the Humanist Hour website: http://podcast.thehumanist.org/2013/03/the-humanist-hour-81-the-clergy-project/

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