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The Atheist Community of Austin
  • 2023-04-10 17:12 | Vern Graner (Administrator)

  • 2023-04-10 16:35 | Vern Graner (Administrator)

    As we noted previously, the last freeze we had here in Austin brought ice and sleet. The trees ended up coated with thick ice and the wind broke the branches so they were hanging rather precariously above the building.

    We had a local arbor company come by today and trim all the branches before they fell on the roof damaging people or property. Just more of the day to day operational things we have to deal with to ensure things are "ship-shape"! 


  • 2023-03-14 20:49 | News Update (Administrator)

    We get this kind of question often. "Why do you care what people believe?" "Why can't you just leave religious folks alone?" "Where's the harm?"

    The thing is, beliefs inform actions, and actions have consequences. People who are convinced by religious arguments take those convictions to the voting booth. I'm reminded of a quote:

    “Almost any sect, cult, or religion will legislate its creed into law if it acquires the political power to do so.”― Robert A. Heinlein

    And what happens when they do legislate their creed? You get laws like we have in Texas now- and those laws lead to law suits such as this:

    Three Texas women are sued for wrongful death after allegedly helping friend obtain abortion medication

    In the first lawsuit of its kind since Roe v. Wade was overturned, a husband seeks damages from women who allegedly helped his ex-wife obtain the medications to terminate her pregnancy.

    Read the terrifying full article here:

  • 2023-03-06 12:26 | News Update (Administrator)

    As part of our ongoing process to create new and interesting ways to reach folks with our messages, we have added a new 24x7 live stream to our Atheist Experience YouTube channel. To do this, we collected clips from various episodes of The Atheist Experience show and placed them on a dedicated laptop computer that is delivering these clips in random order non-stop.


    The new channel can be found here:

  • 2023-03-06 12:06 | News Update (Administrator)

    We're in hot water again- in a good way! The old leaky water heater has been replaced and the new unit is working great! Also, the leaking valve that was outside in the front of the building has been repaired as well. Thanks again to our stalwart volunteer Phoenix for alerting us to the leak before it could cause any problems. 

  • 2023-02-14 12:28 | News Update (Administrator)

    When it rains, it pours it seems. The Austin ice storm not only cracked a bunch of branches, but it created a backlog for arborists and tree trimming companies as they struggled to keep up with the sudden demand. So, though we reached out right away to the tree company that trimmed the branches above our building, we are still in a 3 week wait before they would be able to get to us.

    In the meantime, we had some windy days and one of the broken branches did come loose and fall on the roof- though it doesn't appear to have done any damage.


    And, if that's not enough, it seems that the little hot water heater we have in the building decided now was the time to spring a leak and attempt to flood the hallway outside the control room! Lucky for us, we had a volunteer in the building that day cataloging library books. They heard the dripping, found the leaky water heater, and got a bucket under it before the water could do extensive damage.


    We had Austin Water come by and turn off water to the building and now we're getting bids to replace the dead water heater.

    Once again, it just goes to show how all these things require vigilance and maintenance in order to keep them ready to support the mission of the ACA!

  • 2023-02-08 13:12 | News Update (Administrator)

    As many of you may already be aware, Austin, TX has had recent bouts of somewhat extreme weather. Most recently, we experienced an ice storm that led to wide spread power and internet outages.

    Luckily, the Freethought Library escaped the power outages and internet interruption, but we did have some tree damage.  

    The tree branches that cracked have not fallen on the roof .. yet.. but they look as if they could. As such we have reached out to the company that did the tree trimming last fall to come back and remove these limbs before they cause damage.

    Just another example of the myriad of things that require maintenance and attention to keep the wheels turning for our little non-profit. 



  • 2023-01-27 14:52 | News Update (Administrator)

    I'm sure you've noticed the regular drumbeat of news stories and social media commentary from religious folks claiming they are suppressed, censored,  or put-upon in some ways- persecuted for their faith. Its rare to hear news about how folks that are not religious are being directly, measurably harassed. So, as we are interested in evaluating real data, and not someone's personal perception, here's a recent PEW research study on the topic:

  • 2022-11-22 12:12 | News Update (Administrator)

    You may not know, but there is a U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) that serves as an independent, bipartisan U.S. federal government agency created by the 1998 International Religious Freedom Act. The USCIRF exists to monitor the universal right to freedom of religion or belief abroad; makes policy recommendations to the President, Secretary of State, and Congress; and tracks the implementation of these recommendations. 

    The USCIRF just published their 2022 Annual Report, and (with all the appendices) it is 100 pages of information regarding what's happening in nations where governments repress religious freedom through laws and policies that coerce compliance with a particular religious interpretation, typically one that aligns with an official or state-favored religion. Governments. Coerce. Religion.

    This report centers on violations of religions freedom. It is a federal agency publication--so it is almost a technical read. (Hard to grasp that adjective being used on some levels, when the word 'torture' appears 32 times, 'killing' appears 17 times, 'flogging' appears 3 times, 'genocide' appears 35 times...well, you get the idea.) Documenting these violations is certainly important work, and getting the information out to decision makers (and the media and the world) matters, but it invariably feels so remote.

    But as I read through the report, I think about the ACA's programming. We hear from people from these countries (calls, comments, emails) because our shows on YouTube and other platforms have a reach that is remarkable. The work of the Atheist Community of Austin, for twenty-five years, has been to create programming dedicated to promoting atheism, critical thinking, secular humanism, and the separation of religion and government. There have been hundreds of program hosts through the years. There have been tens of thousands of volunteer hours donated by individuals who have been on camera and on the crews that make it happen.

    All to keep the space intact, the space where the conversations happen. The space where it is safe to declare oneself an atheist, or uncertain. A space that we should never take for granted. And if we do, a look at the report from the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom will remind us why this matters.

    Deepest respect for everyone who contributes their time and talent to this work. And profound gratitude for the hundreds of thousands of individuals who have found our shows and given even greater value to the investment of everyone involved in ACA programs.

  • 2022-10-02 20:01 | News Update (Administrator)

    The work of Matt Dillahunty as an Atheist Community of Austin (ACA) member, board member, board president, volunteer, and popular show host for the The Atheist Experience is but a part of his role in the greater world of atheism, secular humanism, and skepticism. Our organization, our members, and years of viewers have benefitted in countless ways from his engagement and passion. We are thankful to have been one of the many settings where an icon, a legend, and a friend has chosen to invest his energy and intellect.

    Matt has hosted ACA’s The Atheist Experience for almost 18 years, becoming a stand-out personality on a roster of charismatic hosts since that show’s inception in October of 1997. Beyond his work on The Atheist Experience, Matt has been seen on countless stages around the world in the company of other luminaries who promote and protect the perspective and rights of an appreciative and growing demographic of non-believers. His commitment to the value of debate is such that losing an argument to Matt Dillahunty is almost the conferring of an honor–or at least a recognized rite of passage. Vern Graner, Board Chair, President and CEO of the ACA, remembers, 

    “The first episode of The Atheist Experience I ever watched featured Matt Dillahunty and Jeff Dee. Over the years, so many hosts on The Atheist Experience and other ACA shows have made a huge positive impact in so many people's lives. Matt in particular has been a central figure in the atheist movement and has performed an amazing service for the ACA and for our fans.

    I agree with Matt that the mission of the ACA is the most important thing to consider in the current regressive climate in which we find ourselves. It is crucial that we stay focused on the mission and work to carry it forward. Over the last 25+ years, Matt and other volunteers have given countless hours of their time to make all the shows at the ACA possible.

    I am truly grateful for anyone and everyone that helps carry the burden with us. I wish Matt the best in his future endeavors, and I look forward to the continued success of the ACA, its shows, and its mission.”

    All this to say that the Atheist Community of Austin has much respect and affection for Matt Dillahunty and we wish him all the best as he leaves the host chair of The Atheist Experience. We look forward to hearing from him and about him for Matt will certainly continue to challenge himself and all of us to bring our “A game” to the work.




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Austin, TX 78756


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