Meet a Colorado Member: Mike Hogan

Name: Mike Hogan.

Where I live: Castle Rock, Colo. Colorado has shown a near uncontrolled growth over the last several decades. Castle Rock, once a sleepy rural community, is becoming a reluctant suburb of Denver.

Where and when I was born: Born in rural Nebraska, just before the Pearl Harbor attack in December 1941; the first grandson of an Irish immigrant and first son of a sharecropping farmer.
Family: Two daughters and four grandkids; my partner of 12 years, Sue, and her daughter, son and three grandkids. If this was Christianity Today, I would say, “We have been blessed!”
Occupation: Over the years, I have been an employed pharmacist, pharmacy owner, liquor store owner, real estate broker and property manager. I call myself retired, but still manage and maintain our residential rental properties, so it sometimes seems the exact opposite!

Military service: During the Vietnam “conflict,” the federal government had an insatiable appetite for new foot soldiers. The military draft was an accepted part of every young man’s future plans. (George W. Bush and others with connections had more options.) When I got my notice to report to Minden, Neb., I enlisted instead from Denver. I got some satisfaction knowing that the Kearney County, Neb., draft board was one warm body short that month. I served three forgettable years.

How I got where I am today: That is difficult to explain without trying to explain where I started. My education began in a one-room country school. The windows on one side opened to a wheat field, on the other side to a pasture. The bull provided as much education as did the teacher.

Catholicism permeated every bit of my life. A mean S.O.B. god controlled everything, and devils lurked in every dark room. I swallowed all of it. We prayed to Jesus to keep the tornadoes and hail away, to make it rain during the growing season and stop raining at harvest time. When my prayers didn’t work, I didn’t doubt the existence of Jesus but was convinced he couldn’t care less about me.

As one gradually discards one card at a time, the whole house of cards suddenly collapses. The progression goes from knowing that Jesus didn’t really rise from the dead, to knowing he was just another mythical god, to discarding completely the very basis of Christianity. I don’t need a christ, a redeemer, a savior or a messiah. I wasn’t born evil and sinful or a lazy no-good.
As Al Franken’s character Stuart Smalley said on “Saturday Night Live,” “Because I’m good enough, I’m smart enough, and doggone it, people like me.” I have my failings, but I can work on them myself, by myself. I have no need whatsoever for a Jesus the Christ to save me!

Things I like: My passion is “Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness,” just the opposite of religion and the authoritarianism of Christianity. Things I smite: The anti-intellectualism, anti-elitism, anti-education and anti-libertinism in this country.

Some of my heroes are: When running for president, Thomas Jefferson was accused of being an atheist. He wrote, “Say nothing of my religion. It is known to God and me alone. Its evidence before the world is to be sought in my life if it has been honest and dutiful to society the religion which has regulated it cannot be a bad one.” Were that only true today!

Another of my heroes, Mark Twain, wrote, “Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness, and many of our people need it sorely on these accounts. Broad, wholesome, charitable views of men and things cannot be acquired by vegetating in one little corner of the earth all one’s lifetime.”

Before I die: Number one on my to-do list is finishing my book, tentatively titled Round 10: The Amendments vs. the Commandments. I want my children and grandchildren to have a shortcut to the knowledge it has taken me a lifetime to discover. It covers how to identify reality, how to identify a god in the imagination and the risks of religious people.

Freedom From Religion Foundation