Atheist Community of Austin

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The Atheist Community of Austin (ACA) is a non-profit organization, founded in 1996, based in Austin, Texas. Their goal is to promote positive atheism and the separation of church and state. Matt Dillahunty is the current president of the ACA since 2019;[1] Matt Dillahunty served as president from 2006 to 2013.

The good[edit]

ACA activities are posted in the calendar found at on their website.[2] The activities are divided in to the following categories:

Social activities[edit]

The ACA hosts weekly events in which members and interested third parties can join them for food, drink and discussion. There are also regular outings, such as trips to the zoo and the hiring of a boat to go watch Austin's bat population.[3]

Lecture series[edit]

There is a monthly lecture series, normally hosted at the Austin History Center. A schedule of lectures is posted on the ACA website,[4] the lectures following the skeptical/atheist theme of the ACA.

The Atheist Experience[edit]

The ACA sponsors a weekly Austin-based webcast and cable access television show. The Atheist Experience is hosted by Matt Dillahunty, and is a discussion show inviting calls from the viewers. The show is streamed over the Internet, offered as a podcast, and clips are unofficially posted to YouTube. A line is reserved for Austin callers, and theists are encouraged to participate in the show - so long they have better arguments than "open your heart to Jaysus and yawl see that he's real!" The Atheist Experience airs each Sunday from 16:30 to 18:00 Central Time.

The Non-Prophets[edit]

The Non-Prophets is a bi-weekly radio show, hosted by Denis Loubet, currently featuring two to three people from the ACA.[5] The show has occasional guests, but mostly it's a laid-back discussion of atheist-related news items. The show is delivered via streaming and a podcast. Although calls are not invited, there is a chat-room that is loosely monitored by the hosts. There are occasional guests on the show, the most notable being PZ Myers. Non-Prophets Radio airs on Saturdays from 10:00 to 11:30 Central Time.

Godless Bitches[edit]

See the main article on this topic: Godless Bitches

In August of 2011 the ACA started sponsoring another podcast entitled Godless Bitches, which focuses on atheist and feminist issues.[6] The show features an all female cast which are members of the ACA including Beth Presswood, Tracie Harris and Jen Peeples. Matt Dillahunty, while not appearing in the show itself, does handle production of the show.

Transphobic controversy[edit]

In July 2019, the ACA attracted some controversy from a YouTuber known as Rationality Rules (real name Stephen Woodford). On March 29, Rationality Rules, a YouTube atheist skeptic, had created a video on trans people in women's sports that contained factually incorrect statements and rhetoric that could be seen as transphobic.[citation needed] On April 28-May, Rationality Rules went on the ACA show Atheist Experience, and the controversial video was not mentioned- though this could've just been because they hadn't seen the questionable content the "anti-SJW" YouTuber had been posting lately.

Things promptly devolved from there, with some members of the Social Media Specialist (SMS) team resigning after that episode. Eric Murphy, the Director of Communications, whom this team responds to, also resigned shortly afterwards.[7]

On May 9th, the ACA released an apology letter for having Rationality Rules (real name Stephen Woodford) on the show, which stated their support for the trans community and called the videos transphobic.[8] Many within the organization, including Matt Dillahunty, stated that they disagree with ascribing malice to Rationality Rules.[citation needed][dubious] Meanwhile, Rationality Rules had already promised to retract his borderline transphobic comments, conceding that he was misinformed and it was agreed to discuss the issue in one of the upcoming shows. Neither of these measures were acted upon.[citation needed] Rationality Rules later released a video where he presented himself as a slander victim of the ACA board. Facing increased pressure from Woodford's fan base, the president of the board issued a new statement, in opposition to many of the then board members, apologizing to Woodford for ascribing malice. That statement was promised to be posted in the president's name only but was released on May 16 as 'from the president with the support of the board members' which was not accurate. A few days later, the board election meeting saw many members of the community rally in support of Woodford to evict long-standing veteran members of the board. Questions regarding the candidates' support toward the original statement were asked as a form of litmus test and those showing support lost their board position summarily. Many hosts and volunteers left the ACA in disgust over the debacle.[9]

See also[edit]

External links[edit]

References[edit]