Saturday, October 6, 2007

Beginning today, the 14 percent of Americans who label themselves as nonreligious will be able to turn on the radio once a week and hear a show that caters to their specific beliefs — or lack thereof.

The first national broadcast of a Freethought Radio program will be aired over Air America Radio out of Madison, Wis., with such guests as Christopher Hitchens, author of the best-selling book “God Is Not Great: How Religion Poisons Everything.”

Mr. Hitchens will be aired today on XM Satellite channel 167 and over WWRL-AM (1600) in New York City from 7 to 8 p.m., the show’s regularly scheduled time.

“Our radio show is one with heritage,” co-host Dan Barker said. “We vote, serve in the military and sit on juries.”

Mr. Barker, who is co-president of the Freedom From Religion Foundation along with Annie Laurie Gaylor, said atheists, agnostics and nonreligious are “rejecting the illness” of religion.

“We don’t need what religion provides,” he said. “If salvation is a cure, then atheism is a prevention.”

The goal of the new atheist radio program is to serve “the rest of us,” he said. Mr. Barker pointed out that religious preaching can be heard on the radio or television round-the-clock seven days a week and that the free-thought radio show offers an alternative for one hour every week.

“How often do nonreligious voices get heard?” he asked.

The show will include a regular segment called “Theocracy Alert,” interviews and music.

Mr. Barker said future interviewees could include Ron Reagan, son of former President Ronald Reagan.

Air America Radio is a radio network and program syndication service that generally features discussion and information programs with hosts reflecting liberal and progressive points of view.

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