Linda.JPG

I love my pendant and wear it proudly in Panama, Probably it's the only one in the country

I never really thought much about religion in my life. My parents didn't call what they didn't believe in "atheism." Throughout my life they emphasized doing good in the world and they were great examples. No prayers, just hard work and helpfulness.  I grew up in Hawaii, and in high school my family lived in Iraq and Iran, and I went to school in Lebanon and Switzerland. I raised my daughter with the same values I'd been taught: to be a good person. A couple times in middle school she went to Awana meetings with a classmate but did not seem impressed. I've belonged to the US organization Freedom from Religion for years. 

Forward to 2015 when my husband and I moved to Seoul, South Korea where I was a Speech Language Pathologist for US military children on an Army base there. Korea has the largest group of Evangelical Christians outside the US, and the US military did not disappoint them. There were revival meetings, complete with tents, on the base and the military preschool was called "The Mustard Seed." That's when I also became aware that the US military is basically "government-paid missionaries."  After three years in Seoul, we moved to Ansbach, Germany. There was still a lot of religion on the base. In one funny incident, a student's mother tried to recruit me to teach Vacation Bible School (a religious program for kids for a week in the summer).  She was surprised when I said I was an atheist.  Probably thought, "how can that be, she's such a nice person!" Teachers received boxes of tissues at the beginning of the year, complete with scripture on them, from a religious group on the base. I did register my concern with the principal, who was surprised (that I would think it was improper).  

It was during the time in Seoul, and subsequently in Germany, that I became more vocal in my atheism. I am not afraid to speak up and say that I'm not religious if the opportunity presents itself, and happily take the opportunity to do so. In fact, I have always felt some embarrassment with the idea that people might think I am religious.    

I have seven pairs of shoes from Atheist Berlin; two pairs I bought during visits to their shop in Berlin. I enjoy wearing them, and I enjoy wearing my Invisible Pink Unicorn pendant, hoping that someone will ask what it represents, or hoping that I might spot another one. That hasn't happened with the shoes or the  pendant, yet. 

My husband and I moved, permanently (out of the US anyway), to Panama 9 months ago. No standing army, no death penalty, no war-based economy, no gun culture.  Athens, GA where we lived for two years was segregated, and there was too much of god and guns. Totally can't understand the prayer thing for tragedies. We found another couple in the neighborhood who were atheists, but the woman was a professor at the University of Georgia there, and there was a lot of religion in university politics. She recently resigned her position. 

Linda