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article imageAmerican Atheists set to launch atheist TV channel on July 29 Special

By Megan Hamilton     Jul 27, 2014 in World
Stanford - American Atheists, a nonprofit organization, is about to go where no atheist organization has gone before: To its very own television channel, available via the Roku streaming service.
This has long been a dream of David Silverman, President of American Atheists. He's had this idea for several years, but it's only recently that they've been able to turn this into a reality, said Dave Muscato, public relations director of the organization.
"The launch of Atheist TV is history in the making," Silverman said in a press release. "There are hundreds of TV channels dedicated to religious programming, but nothing like this has ever existed before for atheists, and yet the demand is overwhelming."
The channel will begin broadcasting at 7:00 p.m. on July 29, and will feature content from such well-known atheists as Richard Dawkins, Matt Dillahunty, Jaclyn Glenn, and guest appearances from writer Greta Christina, Ana Kasparian of The Young Turks, and football player Chris Kluwe, among others, Muscato told Digital Journal.
The aim is to provide education, entertainment and awareness.
"We want to help people understand that atheists are everywhere and there are millions upon millions of people interested in atheism and content for atheists," Muscato said.
The channel also plans to debunk programs that are all-too-often aired on The Learning Channel and Discovery — shows that feature so-called "ghost-hunters" and "psychics," making them seem legitimate in order to take advantage of the gullible and uninformed for the sake of ratings.
"It lends credibility to these ideas and that's unacceptable," he said. "If we're going to talk about ghost hunting, it will be to talk about the tricks they use to make it look real when in fact it's not."
There will also be entertainment on the channel, and it will have a bit of a twist--there won't be the usual worries about offending religious people.
"There are certain types of things that atheists are discouraged from saying openly, or as openly as we want, on other channels because producers and channel owners don't want to offend religious viewers or advertisers," Muscato said. "Well, this is our channel. We can say whatever we want and if we want to show a comedian making fun of Muhammad, we can do that without worrying about our audience taking it the wrong way."
Muscato said he hopes atheists will feel at home, and have a chance to educate themselves, have a bit of fun, and be encouraged by strength in numbers, "...without any of the superstitious nonsense we find more and more on other channels," he said. "It's time we had a place for us and Atheist TV is it."
This comes at a time when atheists are still widely distrusted by many of their fellow Americans. According to research conducted by the Pew Research Center, atheists are disliked by most religious groups, Salon reports. It's entirely possible that with time and more exposure, the climate of distrust towards atheists may dissipate. Certainly an atheist television channel may help towards that end. It's to be hoped for.
Muscato noted that feedback is welcome.
The Roku device plugs into the HDMI input on a television, and it's similar to a cable box. It retrieves content via a home's Wifi network. Atheist TV can be accessed free from there, or can be accessed free online worldwide here.
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