Thirty people braved the dreary Portland weather to attend Sam Singleton’s “Atheist Evangelist” comedy on Friday night. The Old Church in Portland had the distinction of hanging the above sign in its walls, which led to amusement among the crowd. “An engraver somewhere is laughing about having that sign on the walls of a Church,” a volunteer quipped. Reed Secular Alliance President Leslie Zukor was even more shocked about the sign’s irony. “It’s ridiculous that nobody has taken that sign down,” she explained to Portland-area attendees.
Leslie Zukor, a Junior Anthropology major, said that she enjoyed the comedy act. “It’s nice to take a break from things and enjoy some lighthearted humor,” Zukor said. Zukor, who is preparing for the Junior Qualifying Exam, desperately needed a break from studying. And the show provided her with the comic relief that she desired. “Brother Sam was very funny,” Leslie explained. “And it’s great to have something to laugh about, when so much of my future is at stake with this exam.” At Reed College, all Juniors are required to take a Qualifying exam, to prove that they are prepared for the mandatory Senior Thesis.
Zukor was enlisted as a “Samista”, someone who volunteered on behalf of the “Brother Sam” production. She hung 50 flyers at Reed College, took tickets at the door, and sold t-shirts. In return for her efforts, she got a complementary “Atheist Evangelist” shirt and free transportation to and from the event. Although Zukor enjoyed the show, she felt badly that only roughly thirty people attended. “I was hoping to get Reedies to the event,” she said. “But I understand it’s a difficult time of year with exams.” One other Reed Secular Alliance member expressed interest in attending, but with the workload, she chose schoolwork over the show.
In all, Leslie Zukor was impressed with Brother Sam’s forthrightness. “In an era marked by political correctness,” she explained, “Sam was unafraid of poking fun at the religious.” In the comedy, nothing was safe from Singeton’s satire. He made light of his Pentecostal parents, who spoke in tongues and handled snakes, and he enlisted the help of the Gospel according to Voltaire and Jean Paul Sartre. For as enjoyable as the comedy was, Zukor was concerned that the event could preclude a serious study of religion; “We need to be mindful of why the religious believe as they do,” she said. For that reason, Zukor intends to be an Anthropology major, and to study the religious as they conceive of themselves.