Some of my happiest childhood memories involve summer camps. Camp was the place where I made friends with kids from other places, went swimming every afternoon, bought candy at the camp store every day, learned goofy songs, performed silly skits by the campfire, and learned to appreciate the natural world. When I was a teen, camp was all of those things, plus smoking contraband cigarettes (or joints) behind the cabins, making out with guys in the woods…I’ll leave it at that.
The downside to my camp experiences was that they were saturated with god-talk. Campers, counselors and other staff members were obligated to sing grace at every meal:
We thank you, Lord, for the world so sweet;
We thank you, Lord, for the food we eat.
We thank you, Lord, for the birds that sing,
We thank you, Lord, for everything.
We attended daily Bible lessons, held cabin devotions every night and attended full-blown church services on Sunday mornings. Camp in my childhood was designed to be a godly affair.
Not all children’s camps are venues of intense indoctrination. A coalition of secularists has organized a camping network called Camp Quest.
The purpose of Camp Quest is to provide children of freethinking parents a residential summer camp dedicated to improving the human condition through rational inquiry, critical and creative thinking, scientific method, self-respect, ethics, competency, democracy, free speech, and the separation of religion and government.
By now, you’re probably saying things like, “Cool!” Or, “I wish I’d had that when I was a kid.” And even, “How can I help?” I’ve got the answer to that question. You can help by donating to Camp Quest via this link. Several atheist bloggers are having a friendly competition to raise money for Camp Quest. PZ Meyers is one team. He and his supporters have already raised more than $5,000.00. The other team is an informal association of bloggers – Greta Christina, Hemant, the Friendly Atheist, Jen at Blag Hag, JT Eberhard, Adam Lee. And me.
I’m honored to have been invited to join Team
Underdog Awesome in its two-fold challenge to
a) beat PZ Meyers’ ass and force him to shave his beard, and
b) raise money for a great cause.
I can’t wait to see what PZ’s hiding under all that hair. And I want to help rationalist families. If you want to help too, all you have to do is click here. It’s a great way to start the summer.
— the chaplain
UPDATE! Digital Cuttlefish, master poet of nonbelief, has joined our team! Yea, Team