Monday, February 28, 2011

Black Skeptics to Dialogue with Baptist Church

The Black Skeptics of Los Angeles met recently to discuss directions for the new year. The group meets monthly and is comprised of a diverse swath of black Angeleno freethinkers concerned about social justice, civil rights, community organizing, and black cultural identity. As part of its outreach to the local African American religious community, the group will sponsor an interfaith dialogue with Zion Hill Baptist Church in South Los Angeles on April 20th. The dialogue will spotlight black humanist, atheist, and freethought traditions in contemporary African American culture, allow black freethinkers to talk about their lives as humanists/atheists, and debunk myths and stereotypes black believers have about non-theist belief systems. According to Zion Hill Pastor Seth Pickens, the dialogue is the first of its kind in the church’s history. Like many churches in South L.A., Zion Hill is located in a predominantly African American neighborhood, but had an all-white congregation up until the dismantling of restrictive covenants and ensuing white flight in the late 1940s and early 1950s. The dialogue is the first of a series in ongoing outreach to build community by educating and engaging African Americans about the social history of black freethought traditions and the cultural relevance of humanism to social and economic justice.

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