NEW YORK - Following a series of verbal blunders, Terry Snogawd has resigned his post as chancellor of the First Atheist Not-church of America amid growing protest from a large number of the group's members.
"Look, not one of us has been completely faithful to what we don't believe," Snogawd said at a press conference held at the not-church's decaf coffee and flatbread shop, He Is Not Risen. "I want to apologize to anybody I may have offended. We all make mistakes, and I'm just thankful there is not a gracious god up there to forgive me."
Public protest began to grow last month after a transcript was released of an interview with the spanish-language, atheistic television network ¡Dios No! in which Snogawd was quoted as saying, "I'm a theist."
"What I had actually said," contended Snogawd afterward, "was 'I'm atheist.' It was a complete language-barrier type of misunderstanding."
Matters only grew worse for Snogawd, when one week later at a private dinner he was recorded with a camera phone while openly considering the possibility that some people may go to heaven when they die.
"Listen, if you put a gun to my head, I would have to say, no, nobody goes to heaven - including me if you were to pull the trigger," Snogawd says on the lo-fi recording. "But for not-heaven's sake, give me a break! It's a possibility isn't it? I would never have the audacity to tell somebody straight to their face that they are doomed to spend eternity in heaven unless they unbelieve, but I do think it's possible. It's really between them and not-god."
The video went viral after being highlighted by traditional atheistic values-based organizations such as The American Center for Atheism and The Atheistic Family Association. Reaction to the video was hostile on all fronts. One commenter named Zack Ular-Hewminist posted the following:
"Oh my lack of a God! Are you serious? This guy has been a flat out, not-god damned liar for years now. I hope he gets stranded in some not-god forsaken desert to die of thirst and rot in not-hell."
Another commenter wrote:
"Happy to see that sinner Snogawd is beginning to see the light. Hopefully he will finally join us in Christ and live a life of career-related success, financial excess, and homophobia, devoid of hardship or pain."
The post was signed by Wong-Kris Chang-Kleeshai.
Following the backlash, Snogawd appeared on the atheist fundamentalist television program The Heaven-Plundered Club to offer a mea culpa.
"I must humble myself and confess that my non-faith has been shaken," Snogawd said on the show. "My confidence in the absolute and undeniable truth that the universe is . . . more or less . . . comprised of random acts by morally relativistic humans and lacks any standard for certainty - well, this confidence has been waning."
The not-church has promoted Vice Chancellor Idawana D. Itty as Snogawd's interim successor, making her the first female to hold the position, and has said in a statement that she is "just the kind of godless woman we need at the top, somebody who will use her not-god-given talents to boldly lead us through this difficult time."
The future is uncertain for Terry Snogawd, whose family and friends are deeply entrenched in the atheistic not-church. His not-godfather is highly esteemed atheist author Godfrey X. Zistents, whose works include Mere Atheism and The Purpose Drivel Life. His father, Darruss Snogawd, is dean of the Harvard School of Irreligious Studies, and his son is up-and-coming ACM (Atheistic Contemporary Music) star Darryl B. Nogawd, who recently dropped the "S" from the beginning of his last name in hopes of disassociating himself from his disgraced father.