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Ask An Atheist…at the fair

What do you want to Ask an Atheist? Submit your questions here

The Inland Northwest Freethought Society and the Spokane Secular Society will join forces again this summer and host a booth at the Kootenai County Fair in Idaho (Aug. 21 – 25) and the Spokane County Interstate Fair (Sept.6-15).  This will be our second year at the Idaho Fair and the third for the Spokane shindig. I heartily invite any of the Spokane Faith & Values contributors and readers who may be visiting either fair to stop by our table and say hi.

Our experiences at the fairs have proven quite gratifying.  The primary purpose has been to show the community we exist, and afford likeminded people to learn about us (many people, especially young folk, had no clue we are here and we have got many a thumbs up as a result).  We had much the same experience at the Garland Street Fair last month, where we had a small table as well.

Although there are religious groups represented at the fairs also, we have had no unpleasant moments on that account (one bunch at the Idaho fair even stopped by to give us a box of donuts as a gift), though we do occasionally have some spirited (but nonetheless civil) chats with religious visitors.  Though we do get a few “I just swallowed a bug” disparaging glances from some passersby, those who take the trouble to stop in and talk discover we don’t bite after all.

We’ll be having an “Ask an Atheist” placard up at the tables again this year as well, affording those of a non-atheist persuasion to learn more about what we actually believe, and help dispel some of the cobwebs that still cling to the concepts among some of the public.  As always, a civil exchange can go far in bridging what seems at times to be chasms between believers and atheists.

One delightful addition to the Spokane Fair table this year will be Spokane native Julia Sweeney, who will be in town and will help staff the table on the final day, Sept.15).  Her accomplished wit (from “Pat” on Saturday Night Live to the wonderful performance theater of “Letting Go of God”) will be a splendid cap to what I hope will be another fine chance to meet with the people of our region at the fair and get to know one another better.

What do you want to Ask an Atheist? Submit your questions here

About Jim Downard

Jim Downard is a Spokane native (with a sojourn in Southern California back in the early 1960s) who was raised in a secular family, so says had no personal faith to lose.

He's always been a history and science buff (getting a bachelor's in the former area at what was then Eastern Washington University in the early 1970s).

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