Shuck and Jive

Thursday, November 02, 2006

Atheists in Elizabethton?

The Kingsport Times-News hosts a citizens blogroll for residents in Northeast Tennessee and Southwest Virginia. I enjoy Tall Tales of the Bible Belt by the Evangelical Spectator. One of the posts was a news item entitled "Atheist Nabbed in Tennessee." Here is an excerpt:

An atheist was nabbed in Elizabethton, Tennessee. The suspect, Charles Van Dodge, allegedly was reading Jean-Paul Sartre and eating a melted cheese sandwich when he was spotted, chased through the streets and apprehended entering a shopping mall. Three Christians recognized him.

"He was big and hairy. Ears big as a rabbit," said Calvin Thobbs. "Personally I never seen a atheist. Somebody said they lived around here. I grew up around these parts. But never come face-to-face with one." Read More...

Since this story was published a few months ago, more atheists seem to be turning up in the Bible Belt. Elizabethton's atheist terror alert has been raised to bright red for this weekend due to the arrival of the Jesus Seminar at First Presbyterian Church. So far 63 people from five states have pre-registered with more expected at the door. Atheists likely will be among this number along with scattered omnitheists, panentheists, humanists, and those hard to pin down agnostics.

The Carter County Sheriff's Department will be watching for any signs of deity defiance and has informed the community to remain calm. "They won't strike unless provoked," a sheriff's department spokesperson said. Residents have been advised to keep a close watch on their New Testaments. "You don't want one of those Jesus Seminar Fellas changin' the words of Jesus in your Bible from Red to Black, or worse, to Pink," a local clergyman warned.

An especially dangerous time will be the lunch break on Saturday when the Jesus Seminar attendees will be infiltrating local restaurants. Suspicious activity will include ordering a Greek Salad when a perfectly tasty BBQ pork sandwich is on the menu. Residents are encouraged to overhear conversations. Telltale signs of atheism and other isms will be references to Don Cupitt, Lloyd Geering, or Karen Armstrong. "Anyone sporting a 'Bob Funk Loves Jesus Too' t-shirt will be arrested immediately," the sheriff said.

If you have not yet registered, you can at the door. The Friday night lecture will be $15 and will begin at 7:30. The Saturday workshops are each $25. The morning workshop will be held from 9:30 until noon and the afternoon workshop from 1:30 to 4 p.m. Student discounts are available, call 1-877-523-3545 for details. I look forward to seeing many of you there!


  1. It's probably a necessity to have a sense of humor about these things if you are going to survive in Bible Belt culture.

  2. (In my best Paul Revere...)

    The skittish are coming!!!

    The skittish are coming!!!

  3. Chris,

    You pegged me exactly. I am skittish to the core!