I just wanted to post a link to this brief but very interesting article on Slate.com, "Does Religion Make You Nice."
The end is particularly poignant. The author notes that Danes and Swedes are particularly happy countries despite their rampant godlessness, but also points out that they still attend church (they just don't believe in God.) This points to the importance of community.
This highlights the importance, then, of groups like The Cville Skeptics! And it also gives some value to the possible group motto of "A church for the rest of us," which I couldn't decide if it was appropriate or not. ha!
"American atheists, by contrast, are often left out of community life. The studies that Brooks cites in Gross National Happiness, which find that the religious are happier and more generous then the secular, do not define religious and secular in terms of belief. They define it in terms of religious attendance. It is not hard to see how being left out of one of the dominant modes of American togetherness can have a corrosive effect on morality. ...
"The sorry state of American atheists, then, may have nothing to do with their lack of religious belief. It may instead be the result of their outsider status within a highly religious country where many of their fellow citizens, including very vocal ones like Schlessinger, find them immoral and unpatriotic. Religion may not poison everything, but it deserves part of the blame for this one."