Are Atheists The New Campus Crusaders?

12

This month at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, a select group of students will show their humanitarian spirit by participating in the Bleedin’ Heathens Blood Drive. On February 12th, they will eat cake to celebrate Darwin Day, and earlier this year, they performed “de-baptism” ceremonies to celebrate Blasphemy Day, attended a War on Christmas Party, and set up Hug An Atheist and Ask An Atheist booths in the campus quad.

These activities and more are organized by the Illini Secular Student Alliance (ISSA), one of 394 student groups that are affiliated with the national Secular Student Alliance (SSA). “We brand ourselves as a safe place and community for students who are not religious,” says Derek Miller, a junior at Illini and president of the ISSA.

Secular groups on college campuses are proliferating. The Ohio-based Secular Student Alliance, which a USA Today writer once called a “Godless Campus Crusade for Christ,” incorporated as a nonprofit in 2001. By 2007, 80 campus groups had affiliated with them, 100 by 2008, 174 by 2009, and today, there are 394 SSA student groups on campuses across the country. “We have been seeing rapid growth in the past couple of years, and it shows no sign of slowing down,” says Jesse Galef, communications director at SSA. “It used to be that we would go to campuses and encourage students to pass out flyers. Now, the students are coming to us almost faster than we can keep up with.”

The Secular Student Alliance provides its affiliate groups with support and materials, including banners, pins, and informational materials with titles like What Is An Atheist?, a brochure with cheerful graphics and information about the identities of secularists, including “non-theist,” “freethinker,” and “humanist.”

Written By: Katherine Don
continue to source article at religiondispatches.org

12 COMMENTS

  1. If you see the entire world in Christian missionary terms, where every effort to inform or to insist on open discourse is called a crusade, I can see how you’d come up with this metaphor. Except that a real crusade involves force and bloodshed, killing and dying, not the handing out of leaflets.

    It’s just another slapping of a religious language on a non-religious act, namely, information exchange. Believers are free to engage atheists and disagree in polite and non-violent terms wherever they wish, which is a better deal than atheists
    ever got from THEM.

  2. In reply to #1 by justinesaracen:

    If you see the entire world in Christian missionary terms, where every effort to inform or to insist on open discourse is called a crusade, I can see how you’d come up with this metaphor. Except that a real crusade involves force and bloodshed, killing and dying, not the handing out of leaflets.

    It’s just another slapping of a religious language on a non-religious act, namely, information exchange. Believers are free to engage atheists and disagree in polite and non-violent terms wherever they wish, which is a better deal than atheists
    ever got from THEM.

    “I like the cut of their jib, Smithers! (release the hounds…)”

    Crusade is sardonic in this context, very good. And every Islamist will reassure you that crusade/jihad is a peaceful internal struggle for improvement- just ask CAIR!

  3. Hey! That’s my old school! Beautiful to see this! If anybody had tried that when I was there in the late 50s-early 60s, they would have had their heads stepped on by both the administration and the mass of students. Still, I’d bet that the outspoken ones are from the large cities, especially Chicago, and that they will still have to absorb a lot of hatred from the small-town and rural students there. The Administration will have to gulp and bear it though.

  4. I support them wholeheartedly. However, I’d be hesitant to sign up for all of their activities. I do not think I’d be on board for their “war on Christmas”. I just feel that it is not necessary to fight every battle. The Christmas one is an example of a battle I’d avoid.

  5. I wish them every success in promoting science and free thinking. If they have as much success as the equal rights movement the world will defiantly be a better place in 60 years from now. Hope I’m here to see it!!

  6. In reply to #6 by crookedshoes:

    I support them wholeheartedly. However, I’d be hesitant to sign up for all of their activities. I do not think I’d be on board for their “war on Christmas”. I just feel that it is not necessary to fight every battle. The Christmas one is an example of a battle I’d avoid.

    That depends on your interpretation. I think “a war against Xmas celebrations”, would be foot-shooting, but seizing back the pre-Xtian mid -winter celebrations in secular format is another matter. (They have of course been seized already by commercialism, – but that is a different war!)

Leave a Reply