South Philly Native, Raised Catholic, Is Key Speaker At PA Atheist/Humanist Convention
By John Ostapkovich
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — A South Philadelphia native who calls himself a cultural arsonist is one of the speakers at a conference of atheists and humanists in town next weekend.
Maybe some of his best friends are atheists but don’t call Joe Wenke one.
“It think it’s really interesting that unless you use a word like freethinker, it’s all negative terms,” Wenke says. “An atheist is a negative term. An agnostic is a negative term. Nonbeliever is a negative term.”
In writing the book You Got To Be Kidding, Wenke says he started reading the Bible from the beginning and stopped any time something in it made him laugh. It’s a lot of times, but he recognizes this is not everyone’s cup of tea.
“I’m the oldest of 11 children in a Catholic family,” he says. “Most of my family disagrees with what I’m doing and won’t read the book, so there’s sort of a microcosm of the reaction that I get.”
Just wait for family reunions after his second book Papal Bull comes out. Wenke’s talk Saturday at the conference is Freedom from Religion: Calling Out Bible-Based Bigotry.