Free Thought 

werec-freethought.jpg

Jamila Bey doesn't believe in God, a fact she realized at an early age and one that greatly displeased her staunchly religious African-American mother.

"The look I got from my mother left no question that I would be beaten to death if I said another word. There are certain things you do not question," Bey says about the time she complained about the fanaticism in her religion class when she was 12.

Bey, a comedian, journalist, and former editor of NPR's Morning Edition. will speak on the need for critical thinking in the deeply religious African-American community at the Benjamin L. Hooks Central Library on Sunday, August 21st, at 1:30 p.m. The event is sponsored by Memphis Freethought Alliance.

Flyer: When did you realize you didn't believe in God?

Bey: I was raised Catholic, and, frankly, I never bought it. I was always getting thrown out of religion class for asking questions. I was told my questioning was blasphemous. In retrospect, I've been an atheist since I learned about Santa Claus, and that was around 4 years old. I needed proof. You can't show me some cookie crumbs on a plate and tell me he was here.

Why is atheism rare in the African-American community?

Blacks have been taught wrongly that the civil rights movement was a religious movement. The movement happened in churches, and it had a lot of pastors working very hard for greater justice. But why was that? It was practical. Every community had a church, and there was a level of respect and restraint afforded when a pastor said, "Here's what my people are asking for." In the South, where the Jim Crow laws were such that more than two black people gathered is a congregation, the easiest way to get a whole bunch of black people together is to say it's a church meeting. The church was a little sanctuary, and when you're an oppressed people who could be slaughtered in the street, a sanctuary is a good thing to have. But that's outlived its utility."

"Critical Thinking: A Problem in the African-American Community." Sunday, August 21st, 1:30-2:30 p.m. Benjamin L. Hooks Central Library. memphisfreethought.com

Comments (12)

Showing 1-12 of 12

Add a comment

 
Subscribe to this thread:
Showing 1-12 of 12

Add a comment

ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT

Blogs

Film/TV/Etc. Blog

Eight Days A Week

News Blog

Film Row Gets MEMFixed Saturday

Fly On The Wall Blog

Mural Project Brings Hope to Affluent Neighborhood

Hungry Memphis

Huey's Downtown to Mark 20 Years, etc.

News Blog

City's Zoo Parking Plan Gets A 'Nope, Nope, Nope'

News Blog

Prosecution Dropped Against Lipscomb

Hungry Memphis

A Look at Catherine & Mary's Menu

Intermission Impossible

"Opera Doesn't Suck": Opera Memphis' General Director Ned Canty

ADVERTISEMENT

More by Bianca Phillips

Readers also liked…

ADVERTISEMENT
© 1996-2016

Contemporary Media
460 Tennessee Street, 2nd Floor | Memphis, TN 38103
Visit our other sites: Memphis Magazine | Memphis Parent | Inside Memphis Business
Powered by Foundation