Godless choir mixes fellowship with a full-throated defense of atheism

Religion News Service | 4/22/2018 | Heather Adams
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LOS ANGELES — Eight years ago, Amanda MacLean enrolled for a singing course at Santiago Canyon College, a community college where she worked in Orange, Calif. All students were required to sing together as a choir. She was surprised when she found that the mandatory sessions not only included hymns but performances at religious events.

After singing at the City of Orange’s Christmas tree lighting three years in a row, she couldn’t stand it anymore. She went online to find herself an atheist choir.

Nonbelievers - Place - Jesus - MacLean - Assistant

“I knew there had to be nonbelievers out there who felt like I did, who had no place to sing without being forced to sing about Jesus,” said MacLean, now 40 and an administrative assistant at the J. Paul Getty Museum here. “I actually thought atheist choirs were a thing.”

They were and they weren’t. MacLean’s search led her to Bobbi Kirkhart, whose home near Dodger Stadium in Angelino Heights is familiarly known as Heretic House. In 2001, Kirkhart had co-founded the Voices of Reason with a fellow nonbeliever named Michael Jordan. Three years later, after Jordan’s death, Voices of Reason had disbanded.

Help - Yari - Schutzer - IT - Consultant

With the help of Yari Schutzer, a 45-year-old IT consultant for Apple and an original member of Voices of Reason, MacLean rounded up a new batch of songful skeptics.

Voices of Reason is now, as it was in the beginning, the only atheist choir in the United States, its members say, and one of only a very few in the world.

Group - Events - Science - Presentations - Universalist

The group performs at atheist events, science presentations, Unitarian Universalist churches, public libraries, and they are hoping to expand into nursing homes and schools in the future.

James Underdown, executive director of the Center for Inquiry-Los Angeles, where Voices of Reason has performed several times, said the choir is a natural philosophic fit for their organization, whose mission is...
(Excerpt) Read more at: Religion News Service
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