Philanthropy and Secularism: Two

Adam and Amanda Brown fam picAdam and Amanda Brown are one of the most charismatic couples in the atheist movement. They are seated together taking turns describing how life was growing up as an Evangelical Christian and a Restoration Mormon [respectively]. Two very different paths brought these two together and as a result some very important things are happening, not just to the community but to the role of atheists as a whole.

After researching questions that his faith brought forward in his mind while attending college, Adam compiled all of his information into a website that is now a widely used resource for those who are seeking answers of their own. The Atheism Resource states that it’s “designed to give easy access to loads of information on the subject of atheism from a historical, cultural, political, psychological, sociological, and scientific perspective.” It does exactly that, and much more. It gives people a place to reach out to other atheists and read blogs written on a myriad of topics.

Adam is also the co-owner and creative director of Voss Visuals, which offers vehicle wraps, marketing and printing services. As such he offers a discount to companies that use their services for atheist, secular or humanist needs. That’s not to say that they will not accept business from other companies or organizations, but for projects that some companies will not touch based on who they represent, Voss Visuals welcomes the opportunity with open arms.

Amanda meanwhile, was busy paving her own path. Focusing on hot-button topics like education, LGBT and women’s rights, she became more active fighting not just equality but in the separation of church and state. Soon, it became apparent that being and fighting as an atheist wasn’t enough. People needed a way to reach out to others and let people know they were atheists at the same time. We Are Atheism was the brainchild of that need with Amanda the driving force behind it. The website is a place to read stories about how others came to understand their beliefs and tell their own stories that will hopefully help those who might not otherwise have the courage on their own. Mostly however, it lets people know that they aren’t alone by sharing those essays and  videos.AGA_Logo

Adam and Amanda then pulled their ambitions together and set their sights one step higher. They created a movement called “Atheists Giving Aid” which is exactly what it sounds like. Funds are raised for various campaigns and the money goes directly to those in need, rather than lining another pocket of another corporate organization. How do they ensure this happens? By working with local organizations they ensure that it’s distributed where it’s supposed to be. Currently they have two separate collections in action on the website.

The first, for the Boston Marathon Tragedy is working in conjunction with Boston Atheists and the Secular Coalition for America (Massachusetts Chapter) is raising money to benefit the victims [and their families] of the bombing that occurred there last Monday, April 15. As of Thursday they have successfully raised over $28,000. The second fund running right now is for those who are suffering as a result of the plant explosion in West, Texas that occurred while the country was still reeling from the Boston tragedy. Currently the amount raised there is building toward the $1,000 mark. This isn’t the first time the Brown’s have pulled fund for those in need either. They also raised roughly $25,000 for the victims of the Sandy Hook tragedy as well.

Amanda Brown on stageAmanda is also one of the primary organizers for ReasonFest in Kansas, which took place this last weekend. Ordinarily she prepares a speech and presents with the other speakers however this year she has devoted part of her time in a different way. Working with Society of Open Minded Atheists and Agnostics, they took donations in the form of non-perishable items . The items collected are then to be delivered to both Harvesters and the Lawrence Community Shelter. Donations requested ranged from non-perishable foods and toiletries to guest needs and linens for the shelter.

When asked what their ultimate goal for all their activism the answer was “tolerance.” They want to help put faces to atheism so that when people hear the term they think of someone close to them. Or perhaps a stranger that helped them out when they were in need. Recently the Brown’s helped a homeless man outside of a chain restaurant near Austin Texas. He was hungry and asking for money. The couple bought him some food, gave him some money, and then did what most wouldn’t think to do. They had a conversation with him. During that talk it came out that the couple were atheist which surprised the man. Everything he had heard before meeting them painted a very unfriendly picture about people who choose not to have faith. He walked away knowing that not only had everything he had heard been wrong, but that in fact the exact opposite is true. Regardless of whatever he believed they were willing to help him in his time of need. That’s their message, at it’s core. People are people, no matter what path they follow or whether having faith is the lamp that lights that path. Adam Brown's painting

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