God Less America: Atheists Want Your Soles
On July 16, atheists will take over the St. Paul Saints minor league baseball team for the 5th year in a row! The Minnesota Atheists organization is joined by Freedom From Religion Foundation to sponsor this year’s game. As with the previous years, the goal of this event is to celebrate secularism, promote positive atheism, and showcase our fun-loving ways to the general public.
In addition to switching “Saints” to “Aints” we will again re-brand the capital city’s name from “Saint Paul” to “Mister Paul” as a way (an amusing way?!) to revere secularism. There is no legitimate attempt or protest to actually change the name of the city, but during the Mr. Paul Aints game you can imagine that the city’s namesake has changed from the misogynistic Paul the Apostle to Paul Molitor, Paul Westerberg, or some other Paul from Minnesota. Incidently, the St. Paul Saints mascot is a pig because that is in direct reference to the city’s name before a French Catholic missionary re-named the area “Saint Paul” from “Pig’s Eye” in 1841.
“Positive atheism in action” is the motto at Minnesota Atheists, and we weave this concept into our Mr. Paul Aints game. Just like last year we’ll be asking fans to leave their soles at the gate for a shoe drive benefiting Soles4Souls who distributes gently used shoes to those in need all over the globe. We’ll also be donating proceeds from the Mr. Paul Aints player jerseys auctioned off during the game to Camp Quest. Past beneficiaries include the Family Place shelter in downtown St. Paul, The Food Group food bank in New Hope, and Foundation Beyond Belief.
The motto at the St. Paul Saints is “fun is good”, and fun will be on display throughout the game. Besides the secularized player jerseys, there will be other atheist-themed antics between innings. One such antic this year will include a tug-of-war involving some of our very own local supporters and members. Also, none other than Dan Barker, co-president of Freedom From Religion Foundation, is scheduled to perform the pre-game National Anthem. Before all of that though, be sure to join us for free pre-game tailgating around 3pm in the south east parking lot next to the Lafayette Bridge.
The 7th inning stretch will be free from religion (as it always should be) at this game because fans will not be asked to stand and remove their caps while somebody performs God Bless America. It should be noted that the St. Paul Saints never feature these performances at any of their games. The Major League team across the river, however, has injected this religious song into the 7th inning stretch as a patriotic gesture after the 9/11 terror attacks. I doubt we could convince the St. Paul Saints to play Dear God by XTC, but maybe Woody Guthrie’s, This Land is Your Land? It’s patriotic, and he wrote that song to protest Irving Berlin’s God Bless America. Of course the most inclusive and consistent thing for Major League teams to do is refrain from religious songs altogether and just stick to baseball’s anthem: Take Me Out to the Ballgame.
There are a few tickets left in our group sections, which come with a free Saints hat. You can purchase these tickets by going to SaintsGroups.com (password: 2016atheists). If you can’t attend the game but still want to support the secularized baseball team — and the only professional sports team to hold an atheist night — you can purchase the newly designed Mr. Paul Aints t-shirts for $20 (2 for $35) by visiting the online store at MinnesotaAtheists.org