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Atheists Blood Drives on 'National Day of Prayer'

This article was posted as part of the SSA eMpirical No. 18 - It's Spring, We Think.

For Immediate Release
(from http://www.atheistvolunteers.org/node/20 )


Atheists to Counter 'National Day of Prayer'

with Blood Donations

Lifesaving Action, Not Passive Prayer


Atheist Blood DriveNEW YORK, Mar 1. -What do you do on May 3, 2007, the "National Day of Prayer," if you are an atheist? What positive alternative is there to spending the day praying for healing? One can take actual steps and direct action to bring healing to our fellow human beings.

While Believers are praying on May 3rd (an act that has been scientifically proven to be ineffective*), atheists will be going to Blood Banks in scores of U.S. locales to donate their blood and sign up for organ donation programs. It is a nationwide action which we hope will point out that there are alternatives to silently beseeching a deity to perform miracles.

"While religious people are on their knees, we atheists will be on our feet, giving a part of ourselves for the benefit of humanity," says Kenneth Bronstein, founder of the Center For Atheism, an activist and informational group based in New York City. "We know that prayer does not work--but medical science does."

This year, Center For Atheism will be joined by atheists from The Rational Response Squad, an activist network (RationalResponders.com) formed in 2005 by Philadelphia-based Brian Sapient and Rook Hawkins. The Rational Response Squad has grown from a popular internet radio show into a force of 20,000 members in 15 regional chapters with a youth division.

"We want to make a public statement about how nonreligious people can observe the so-called National Day of Prayer. We atheists are now calling May 3rd Gift of Life Day," says Sapient. "At the same time, we want to let America know that there are millions of us who know that praying simply means talking to yourself. This is hardly the best way to change the world and help other people. So on that day, we atheists will instead be engaging in action. We will be doing rather than saying. We're interested in engaging in action that we can prove scientifically has real-life influence on our fellow citizens."

In the past three years, Gift of Life Day has become a tradition among New York City atheists. Last year, members of NYCA celebrated Gift of Life Day by giving blood at the New York Blood Bank in upper Manhattan. A group of atheists arrived together to donate their life-giving blood and then celebrated together in a small anteroom with coffee, juice and light refreshments supplied by the Blood Bank. "We found that the Blood Bank was delighted to have us, cooperated with us in every way and allowed us to post our atheist banner for the occasion," notes Bronstein.

The Rational Response Squad will focus on logging the effort on one of their new websites (atheistvolunteers.org) to help make the project an International success.

If you want to start a Gift of Life Day in your locale, it's simple. Here's what you do:

1) Find your local blood bank by accessing www.americasblood.org or http://www.givelife.org, then type in your zip code to find your local blood bank.

2) Phone the blood bank to make arrangements for a group donation (You will find them amazingly supportive and accommodating.)

3) Notify your local newspaper, TV and other media that your group is doing this and why. It's important to alert them long before the event.

4) Visit www.atheistvolunteers.org to log your donation.

It's simple, it's positive, it's effective. Come on, Agnostics, Atheists, Freethinkers, Humanists, Secularists, Nonbelievers, Separation of Church and State advocates, join us in our humanitarian protest against the Day of Prayer! Show the world that while religious people are on their knees, Atheists are on their feet giving of themselves to humanity.

For further information, contact:

Ken Bronstein: [email protected]
Brian Sapient: [email protected]


This article was posted as part of the SSA eMpirical No. 18 - It's Spring, We Think.

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