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Atheists Saved!

For a brief moment last week, I was saved — and as an atheist, that was new for me.

During morning mass at the Vatican, Pope Francis offered a sort of absolution for heathens. The Lord has redeemed all of us, he said. “Not just Catholics. Everyone! … Even the atheists.”

Well, the world gasped. After 2,000 years of astonishing rigidity and intolerance, the Catholic Church was suddenly handing out pardons?

But ole Franky didn’t stop there. The Vicar of Christ upon Earth (for real, that’s what he’s called) went on to imply that our character is reflected as much by our actions as by any religious affiliation — maybe more. “‘But I don’t believe, Father; I am an atheist,'” the pontiff posited. “But do good. We will meet one another there.”

Wait, did he just …? It sounded like he … What the heaven just happened?

It was an interesting week for infidels all around. The Boy Scouts finally voted to allow gay scouts to join their ranks — while godless lads remain unwelcome. But nonbelievers found a hero in Oklahoma tornado survivor Rebecca Vitsmun, who responded to CNN reporter Wolf Blitzer’s comment “You gotta thank the Lord” by giggling, “I’m actually an atheist.” As odd as it was for a journalist to suggest that she praise God while standing in the rubble of her former home, and as unlikely as it was for Blitzer to get stuck on camera with an “out” atheist in the middle of the farm belt, the woman’s admission inspired thousands of faithless folks to contribute to a relief fund to help Vitsmun and her toddler son. You can even buy “I’m actually an atheist” T-shirts to aid the cause.

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