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The Out Campaign is a public awareness initiative for freethought and atheism. It is endorsed by Richard Dawkins, who is a prominent atheist himself. The campaign aims to create a more positive image of atheism by providing a means by which atheists can identify themselves to others by displaying the Scarlet 'A'. It encourages those who wish to be part of the campaign to come out and re-appropriate, in a humorous way, the social stigma that in some places persists against atheism, by branding themselves with an ironic scarlet letter.
|“||... there is a big closet population of atheists who need to come out.||”|
Dawkins, a proponent of the movement, has suggested that the gay rights movement was a source of inspiration for the campaign. The campaign, however, encourages one to 'OUT' only oneself; it urges atheists to:
- Reach out and talk to others about atheism and help spread a positive view of atheism
- Speak out about their own beliefs and values without feeling intimidated, thus helping people realize that atheists don't fit stereotypes and are a very diverse group
- Keep out, meaning to promote the idea that religion should be kept out of public schools and government, and that nobody's religious agenda should be allowed to intimidate
- Stand out and become visible in their communities by becoming involved and by wearing the Scarlet A.
The campaign produces discreet attire that is centered around the Scarlet 'A', and the term 'OUT' which is usually typographically isolated from the rest of the containing phrase. There is no overt mention of atheism other than the use of the symbols. The scarlet A is one of the most popular symbols for atheism on the Internet. The campaign does not target any single religion, rather theism in general. Nonetheless, American Christian organizations have begun to respond - the campaign has even been called "a wake-up call" (for Christians).
The campaign currently produces t-shirts, hoodies, bumper stickers, stickers, and lapel pins sold through Richard Dawkins's online store, with the proceeds going to The Richard Dawkins Foundation for Reason and Science.
There is also a Facebook application for those wanting to publicly come 'OUT' on Facebook to their friends. It displays the 'Scarlet Letter' on the profile of those who fill out the application and encourages the user to send the application to other Facebook users so they can come out.
- ↑ "The Out Campaign (original announcement)". The Official Richard Dawkins Website. 2007-07-30. http://richarddawkins.net/article,1471,The-Out-Campaign,Richard-Dawkins. Retrieved 2007-12-30.
- ↑ MacAskill, Ewen (2007-10-01). "Atheists arise: Dawkins spreads the A-word among America's unbelievers". Guardian Unlimited. The Guardian. http://books.guardian.co.uk/news/articles/0,,2180660,00.html. Retrieved 2007-12-30.
- ↑ Chittenden, Maurice (2007-12-23). "Dawkins to preach atheism to US". The Sunday Times. Times Newspapers Ltd.. http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/uk/science/article3087486.ece. Retrieved 2007-12-30.
- ↑ "Dawkin's [SIC] Call to Atheists 'in the Closet' is a Christian Wake-Up Call". ChristianPost.com. The Christian Post. 2007-08-11. http://www.christianpost.com/article/20070811/28864_Dawkin's_Call_to_Atheists_'in_the_Closet'_is_a_Christian_Wake-Up_Call.htm. Retrieved 2007-12-30.
- ↑ "OUT Campaign Launched, 'Scarlet Letter' Shirts Now Available!". RichardDawkins.net. 2007-07-28. http://richarddawkins.net/article,1467,OUT-Campaign-Launched-Scarlet-Letter-Shirts-Now-Available,RichardDawkinsnet. Retrieved 2007-12-30.
- ↑ "Come OUT on Facebook". AtheismIsGood.com. 2007-10-31. http://atheismisgood.com/2007/10/31/13/come-out-on-facebook/.
- The Out Campaign
- Richard Dawkins Foundation for Reason and Science
- Dogma Free America podcast interview with Josh Timonen, organizer of the Out Campaign