Why Give Away Free Atheist T-shirts?

NewAtheistNation.com is getting a strong response to our free atheist t-shirt design contest. Here is why we're doing it,

Make no mistake, these t-shirts cost money to design, print and mail. That's why atheist shirts normally cost around $20. The graphic artist, the printer, and the cartoonist all got paid for their service. Why are we pulling dollars out of our pockets to give you a free t-shirt?

Thomas King got the idea because of the positive reaction he got wearing atheist gear. He says, "It feels like people treat me *even better* than usual. People seem to go out of their way to be nice to me when I'm wearing the word 'atheist'! It's amazing."

Then Thomas heard an interview with David Silverman, the president of American Atheists. David is a notorious, very visible atheist, whose group goes out of its way to jolt the public. But David reports that people react almost universally to his atheist gear. And if a guy who publicly paints a bullseye on himself gets a strong positive reaction, you will too.

So, the goal is to create a line of atheist t-shirts with a positive message. Good for volunteerism, outreach, tabling, and campaigning, but also fun to wear for the positive reaction they get *you*.

And there are lots of proud atheists who don't feel the need to piss off every person they meet. Women are coming out as atheists in larger numbers, and they may have a softer style than the warfare model many men use. We have all felt the rage, but many non-believers realize the "angry atheist" stereotype won't change unless we change it.

And finally, many atheists dream of wearing atheist apparel, but they think they will be attacked in public. So we hope a free t-shirt will get them *out* there, to discover how positive the experience is.

All in all, everybody benefits from more atheist visibility, especially the atheist wearing the shirt. The friendly smile, the thumbs up. The people who turn around to say hello and tell you they wish *they* could come out as an atheist. The people who are questioning their faith, who have a quick question. Imagine the astonishment of some religious people who think regular decent people can't be atheists, but there you are--that puts a smile on my face.

So other atheist t-shirts go for $20-25 apiece. (And NewAtheistNation plans to make some available at that price, too.) But we will give away hundreds of free atheist t-shirts, paying the costs, forgoing the profit and doing some of the work ourselves, because we want people like you to discover how good wearing an atheist t-shirt will make you feel!

Comments

Thomas, I'm thrilled to see somebody emphasizing a more civilized approach to being publicly atheist. That "angry atheist" approach does far more harm than good--just ask anyone who remembers Madalyn Murry O'Hair's nasty behavior in the 1960s. She was deliberately obnoxious, and we're still paying for that. I don't want to be associated with that behavior, which is why I'm grateful that you are drawing attention to the fact that most of us are decent folks who can hold a polite conversation. Thank you so much!

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