Phoenix, AZ—On Easter weekend, April 6–9, hundreds of atheists will gather in Phoenix for the 2023 American Atheists National Convention. The event will focus on supporting atheist activism, serving local communities, and fighting back against the rising threat of Christian nationalism, especially in states like Arizona.
American Atheists is pleased to welcome two nationally recognized experts on the threat of Christian nationalism: Dr. Bradley Onishi and Andrew Seidel. Onishi is the author of Preparing for War: The Extremist History of White Christian Nationalism—and What Comes Next and also co-hosts one of the most listened-to religion and politics podcasts in the country: Straight White American Jesus. Seidel, a renowned constitutional lawyer, recently released American Crusade: How the Supreme Court Is Weaponizing Religious Freedom.
“Arizona has a Christian nationalism problem, and we must work together to stop it,” said Jeanne Casteen, Secular Coalition for Arizona’s executive director. “We are pleased that the American Atheists National Convention is coming to Phoenix. This is an opportunity to strengthen our movement.”
Many Arizona politicians have embraced white Christian nationalism. In February 2022, Christian extremist State Senator Wendy Rogers spoke at a white supremacist event. In November, failed gubernatorial candidate Kari Lake welcomed Rogers on the campaign trail. Before losing her election, Lake compared her supporters to Jesus. Following her loss, her supporters reenacted the biblical Battle of Jericho, blowing horns as they marched around the Maricopa County Tabulation and Election Center in Phoenix.
“Our 2023 National Convention will energize and empower atheists from Phoenix and all across our country to come together and take action,” said Nick Fish, president of American Atheists. “In Phoenix and elsewhere, Christian nationalists want to force their theocratic vision on everyone. We cannot allow them to succeed.”
American Atheists’ convention will include activist workshops and training sessions, plenary talks, and panels focused on a range of issues confronting Arizonans, including threats to public education, abortion access, and LGBTQ equality. Speakers include Arizona State Senator Juan Mendez and Arizona State Representatives Athena Salman and Stephanie Stahl-Hamilton, who have dealt with Christian nationalism first hand in the Arizona State Legislature.
On the last day of the convention, Easter Sunday, attendees will come together for the “Two Hands Working” Service Project. This volunteer project is named after Madalyn Murray O’Hair’s famous quote, “Two hands working can do more than a thousand clasped in prayer.” During the event, attendees will pack 25,000 meals for people in need in the Phoenix area.
Tickets are available at the door. Area residents can receive a special discounted admission rate of $99 for the weekend. For more information, visit convention.atheists.org.
Journalists and photographers interested in attending the event are encouraged to contact Tom Van Denburgh for press passes at [email protected].