April 18, 2009

To shirt or not to shirt, that is the question

The other day I was in my Gmail account reading email and I noticed an ad for the American Humanist Association.  I clicked over and looked around a bit, ending up in the store.   One of the first items for sale is the shirt with "Why Believe in a God  Just Be Good for Goodness Sake".  You know, like the atheist bus ads.  My first thought was, "I wonder if they will pay me to put that on the van and drive around town!"  Since my birthday is coming up, I thought I'd keep the shirt in mind but I didn't think too much more about it.    Then today, while shopping with the girls, I noticed a few people wearing their religious t-shirts.  One was a young girl, the other was a father pushing his young son.  Both shirts seemed to be a bit more than just "such and such whatever church", which is what I usually see.  The young girl's was a light gray and had a purple crucified Jesus with lots of blood coming from the thorny crown.   I couldn't see the man's shirt from the front, but the back was a cross with words like "sin" and "blasphemy", among other words in various fonts and sizes.  It occurred to me that I've seen a lot more of these in-your-face tees lately.  I first noticed them around Easter, but I thought it was related to the holiday.  Now I'm not so sure.  

So here is a question.  Have you or would you wear a shirt with an atheist message on it as a parent with small children?  Despite my money-making plan to use the van as a billboard, I wouldn't actually do it with my kids being so young.  We don't live in an area that is free thinking enough for me to not fear for our safety on the roads, let alone parking lots.  I have refrained from even putting a bumper sticker on the van, instead opting for science slogans.  But a t-shirt is different.  It's  not as likely that someone will say something to my face with my children there, and people aren't nearly as brave face-to-face as they are in their vehicles.  However, it is possible that someone will say something.


  1. I have a darwin-like emblem on the car that's a rocket ship with the word SCIENCE, and I have a few science/skeptical t-shirts. But I'd much rather promote science/ skepticism than atheism.

  2. I have a shirt with a mantis whose arms are folded - not praying - and it says Atheist underneath. I wear that with my kids (one is 3 and the other is 3 months). I also am looking for some good anti-creationism, pro humanist stickers for my car.

  3. Teacherninja, an excellent point and I totally missed it! I'm trying to teach the kids to be thinkers, not promote an atheist message, why would I do any differently with anyone else?

    webster69- love that shirt! I've kicked around the idea of getting a Darwin "fish" or just putting the Humanist logo on the van, but I haven't. I do have a physics sticker though that has gotten a few kudos.

  4. Go For It! You can pull it off!
    But 'round here, I think you are wise to leave the van alone...

  5. I'm not into proselytizing, so I probably wouldn't do it (and don't have any bumper stickers, either).

    On the other hand, I do think "Be good for goodness sake" (without the in-your-face "Why believe in a god?") would make a cool T-shirt. Especially when worn during the rest of the year. Of course, it would probably be too subtle to get the point across.