This illustration of religious belief in action, of faith expressed in extremis, an example at once so heart-rending and so affirming, has left behind one prickly question: Where were the humanists? At a time when the percentage of Americans without religious affiliation is growing rapidly, why did the “nones,” as they are colloquially known, seem so absent?
This really highlights the crux of the problem. In the wake of tragedies, common wisdom suggests, people turn to faith. Any faith. It doesn’t matter which. And atheists are automatically excluded from that. The faith groups also have buildings that people can meet up at. Most atheist organizations do not. We do a lot of our best work through the Internet — or we meet up at public places that don’t always carry the weight of solemnity. But even when you do have a building, all you can do is advertise the fact that you’re there for the community in case anyone needs it
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