It has been two years since I have been to Skepticon. I was schedule to be there last year but, a tragic death in the family prevented my attendance. I am extra excited to go to Skepticon 5.
Thursday morning started with the usual getting the kids off to school activities and then the perfect wife and I had to run around Champaign Urbana to get documents signed.
Around noon I hopped into my car and started the 6 hour drive to Skepticon 5 in Springfield, MO. I did not have quite enough sleep and I don’t like coffee (weird right?) so I was trying different things to stay awake. caffeine, sugar, Italian lessons, conservative radio and fundie radio. The last two may sound crazy but it is hard to fall asleep when you are yelling at the radio.
Somewhere in the middle of Missouri – near Rolla, I was listening to “Spirit FM” radio.
Spirit FM Radio Network strives to be a radio station that changes lives by providing a fun place to hear about God through excellent music, relevant Bible teaching, and real personalities who care about connecting.
They were playing really sappy christian music and after each song they were begging for money. They need more money. In the middle of one of these begging sessions the nice lady on the radio ( let’s call her Karen) said that everyone listening to this radio should call in and give money. She went on and said something like this…
If there is anyone listening that is not calling to give money. They should call and tell me why they are not.
I called their 1-800 number.
It went something like this….. (paraphrased from memory and edited for brevity)
Spirit FM: May I take your pledge.
Me: No, A am calling for Karen – she asked me to call.
Spirit FM: Uh, ok… please hold.
Karen: Hello, this is Karen
Me: Hello Karen, This is Phil Ferguson – You asked me to call.
Karen: I did?
Me: Yes, just a minute ago you asked if anyone was listening but not giving money they should call and explain why they are not.
Karen: ok….. so why are you not donating?
Me: Mostly because I am an atheist.
Me: Yup! I am driving through Missouri and was listening to your station. I am on my way to Springfield, MO, to go to Skepticon.
Karen: What is Skepticon?
Me: It is a convention with around 1,500 atheists! and I am giving a talk there.
Karen: What is you talk on?
Me: How to get kids out of religion!
Karen: Oh, my!
The whole conversation lasted about 10 minutes and Karen was very nice. She talked about how we are all humans and that the world is a better place if we would just get to know each other and that she was delighted that I called. I inviter her and her husband to the convention and a nice dinner – my treat.
She took my number and said they might do that.
That went surprisingly well.
A few minutes later Karen was back on the air asking for money. It went a little like this…. (again paraphrased)
Karen (now on the air): I have something I need to talk about (voice now shaky). I didn’t think I should mention it and I don’t know what to say but, god has told me I need to talk about this. Just a few minutes ago, I got a call from someone who has rejected JESUS! He has told me that there are going to be 15,000 ATHEISTS gathering in Springfield this weekend.
Note: I never said 15,000. She was only off my a factor or 10. Pretty good for a christian.
Karen (still on the air): They are there because it is a stronghold of god. They want to take away your love for JESUS and they want to steal your children. We are at war! The forces of darkness are trying to take over and take your children. This radio ministry is needed now more than ever. Please call right now and donate money.
The poor thing was almost in tears by the end of this vitriolic little rant. I guess I rattled her cage pretty good.
Ok….Skepticon is starting so I gotta get going…..