Meet the Atheopagan Society Council!

This year, terrible as it has been in so many ways, has seen Atheopaganism evolve to a new level. We have created a legal entity which can carry on the work of the path beyond the life span of any individual: The Atheopagan Society.

This nonprofit corporation is as remarkable for what it isn’t as for what it is. It isn’t a membership organization: no one is going to make you pay just to be an Atheopagan. Instead, it is simply an organization designed to create resources, provide education and training, and organize support for Atheopagans and for the promulgation of Atheopagan values in the world.

The Atheopagan Society has its own website, found here. There you can find details about what it is and what it does.

But I wanted to write today about some very special people who have come together to lead the Society: to do the work of building and sustaining it so Atheopaganism can continue to be a growing movement, a growing voice. I, too, am a member, though not an officer: we are the Council of the Atheopagan Society.

A couple of us are anonymous. That’s natural: it can be hard to be public about being a Pagan or an atheist, but especially both. These members are nonetheless tremendous contributors to our culture and our community.

So please: meet your Atheopagan Society Council. My hat is off to each of you and it is my pleasure to work with you on the Council!

Arwen Gwyneth Hubbard

Chair

Arwen is a Pagan, a mother, science teacher and ecologist. She lives in the high desert on an off-grid, permaculture homestead with her family and their very well loved cat named Moose. Arwen is a co-host with me on the podcast THE WONDER: Science-Based Paganism.

Dr. Jon Cleland Host

Vice Chair

Dr. Jon Cleland Host is a scientist who earned his PhD in materials science at Northwestern University & has conducted research since 1997.  He holds eight patents and has authored over three dozen internal scientific papers and eleven papers for peer-reviewed scientific journals, including the journal Nature.  He has taught classes on biology, math, chemistry, physics and general science at Delta College and Saginaw Valley State University.  Jon grew up near Pontiac, and has been building a reality-based spirituality for over 30 years, first as a Catholic and now as a Unitarian Universalist, including collaborating with Michael Dowd and Connie Barlow to spread the awe and wonder of the Great Story of our Universe (see www.thegreatstory.org, and the blog at evolutionarytimes.org).  Jon and his wife have four sons, whom they embrace within a Universe-centered, Pagan, family spirituality.  He currently moderates the yahoo group Naturalistic Paganism and posts videos on his YouTube Channel. Jon is also a regular columnist at Humanistic Paganism.  His column is called Starstuff, Contemplating.

Tonya (Orin) McNeese

Treasurer

I am an electrician, a mama, and an Atheopagan. I have always struggled with the realization that so many people have forgotten that religion, especially Paganism is meant to be metaphorical. I am proud to be a part of Atheopagan growth and to have finally found like-minded individuals.

C. Wendt

Secretary

C. Wendt is a microbiologist with over 15 years of experience in instructional design & delivery. Any further details about her are on a need-to-know basis.

Robin C.

Robin is an educator, librarian, and nature nerd. Her spiritual practice consists of hiking, gardening, cooking, making art, and looking things up.

Katie Frooman

Katie Frooman (she/her) is a stay at home mom of two cats and two humans that lives in the beautiful Black Hills of South Dakota. She is passionate about fiber crafting, leftist politics, and authentic Goa/southern Indian food and finds peace running outdoors, stargazing, and mushroom foraging.

James Morgenstern

Atheopagan. Thelemite. Heathen. Druid.
I’ve danced through many pagan circles for just over 3 decades and spent several years facilitating seasonal public rituals in the Midwest. I moved to California in 2014 and currently live amongst the redwoods along the Russian River. I make attempts at being a woodworker, an artist, a musician, and several other things.

Lilith Uhler

Lilith is a behavioral ecologist and biodiversity/conservation biologist, a bird nerd, a plant geek, a wife, and a mom.

So, um…Wanna Get Ordained?

Today, I learned something amazing: In the U.S., if your religious organization’s income is ordinarily expected to be $5,000 per year or less, YOU DON’T HAVE TO FILE FOR TAX EXEMPT STATUS!

What this means is that The Atheopagan Society is ALREADY a tax-exempt nonprofit. We have some steps we have to take, like formally convening the Society Council and filing some documents with the state, but we don’t have to mess with convincing IRS that we are a “real” religion until we have much higher income than is projected to be needed for the first year or two, at least.

And so–like any religious nonprofit, anywhere–we can ordain people.

Now, Atheopaganism doesn’t believe in religious hierarchy. We view “degrees” and “levels” and “priesthood” and other muckity-muckiting as creating the context for abuse, coercion, and dysfunction.

In our view, all people are naturally born equal and endowed with the right to control their own spiritual life, and thus that all those who feel so called should have access to ordination. Being an “Atheopagan cleric” isn’t about an elevated status: it’s just about claiming some of your power and rights.

And now you can be an Atheopagan cleric, just by affirming your support for the 13 Atheopagan Principles. Go to the Society homepage, click the button, and proceed from there.

Doing so will enter you into the database of Atheopagan clerics, and will also register you to receive occasional issues of The Atheopagan Voice, an e-newsletter for clerics with resources, articles, and useful links (you can always opt out of The Voice if you choose).

I’ve done a number of weddings, and I’ve officiated at an adoption ritual. But they were always using my Universal Life Church credential, and frankly, I’m looking forward to being able to say at the next wedding I do, “by the power vested in me as an Atheopagan cleric, I pronounce you (enter genders and numbers here)”. What a day that will be!

Over time, we will develop resources for clerics: guides to developing and officiating at the various rites of passage, and trainings in ritual skills. Hopefully, the pandemic will recede and we may be able to convene live convocations of clerics sometime in the future.

But for now, don’t let the government tell you that you have to have a funny hat or a tab collar to lead a wedding ritual. You have as much right to do so as anyone.

Sorry, we don’t have a funny hat. But you can pick one, if you like!

Funding the Startup of The Atheopagan Society (with updates)

UPDATE MAY 31: WE HAVE REACHED OUR GOAL!
Thanks to all our generous donors!

Here it is, folks! We’re getting close to being ready to file for legal and nonprofit status for The Atheopagan Society, and need to raise the money to pay the fees.

All donors (except those who wish to be anonymous) will be listed on the Society website as Patrons. The books of The Society will always be open to the community, showing where money has been spent.

To be transparent: this money will flow through me, as we can’t get a bank account for it until it is legally recognized. But I will retain thorough records of its expenditures and income, and transfer these to the Society when it has its own books.

Your support will make the Society a reality!

Please help with what you can: https://www.gofundme.com/the-atheopagan-society

Thank you!

EDIT: The goal for this campaign is $1,300, which will pay the state and federal fees for incorporation, a federal EIN and the application for tax exempt status. But if we exceed the goal, that money will be applied to additional expenses such as web hosting, a Zoom account, etc.

UPDATE 5:30 PM: We have reached 50% of our goal!

UPDATE MAY 29: We are over $800, and have less than $500 to go!

UPDATE MAY 30: We have only $175 left to go! Thank you, everyone!