We're a European project; most everything we do happens in Porto, London and Berlin, which are three reasonably secular cities, the last oft touted as "the most atheistic city in the world", with two thirds of the population having no religious affiliation, thanks largely to the irreligious communist heritage of East Germany. And, whilst it could be argued there are more wholly non-believing cities in Asia, we are very conscious and grateful that we are able to operate in liberal and tolerant societies. Actually, that's not true... often we're scarcely conscious of it at all, as being an atheist in Europe is so often a non-issue.
(here are a couple of very interesting pieces written recently about atheism in East Germany: one the thesis of a student customer of ours, the other by the Guardian).
The same cannot be said for the USA, however. It's curious that the USA should be the country where we sell most of our shoes (perhaps 50% of sales) and, when we hear first-hand stories from customers as to how difficult life can be in the US, it really does feel like our American friends are in the front line of the battle against the undue influence of religious myths. Folk in a front line need weapons and tools of persuasion, and I'd like to think our super soft and dapper shoes have a role to play.
With the launch of Atheist TV this week, many journalists have been taking stock on the progress of the progress of the atheist movement in the US. This piece by the BBC relays the all too common story of young of a young man who had great difficulty coming out as an atheist to his parents. He's not alone and we recall, with pride, hearing the story of one teenager who used a conversation about wanting Atheist Shoes to come out to his parents - after much flowing of tears, his mother told him she loved him for who who he was and bought him shoes for his birthday.
It can be difficult for us sometimes to appreciate, from our European bastions of godlessness, just how difficult it can be to be openly atheist in the US. But we are happy to play whatever role we can in supporting the community there and the work of the American Atheists and other groups is taking great strides towards advancing the rights and liberties of non-believers. The launch of Atheist TV is just one small step... I tuned in to their live stream last night and they already have some awesome content. I enjoyed in particular the speech of David Silverman, President of American Atheists, at the Annual Convention back in April... and we were honoured to have him show everyone his beautiful Atheist Shoes from the stage!