While it’s nearly impossible to get a group of atheists to do anything together (the reaction to the Out campaign demonstrates that!), you’ve all got to agree* that at least the Secular Student Alliance is a good idea. Maybe you don’t know what it’s like for new students entering a university, but getting them involved in student organizations is an important step in getting them involved in the university — our administrations know that, and they push and we faculty advisors push, all to get these students who have left home and are facing a new and challenging and sometimes intimidating environment to make these informal connections with their peers. And what student organizations are waiting for them, licking their chops and looking forward to recruiting new bodies for their cause? A huge part of the collection are religious: we have Campus Crusade for Christ, Chi Alpha- FUSION, InterVarsity Christian Fellowship, Catholic Campus Ministry, Free Church Campus Ministries, Lutheran Campus Ministry, Lutheran Student Fellowship, Morris Community Church Campus Ministries, the Dungeons and Dragons Club, you get the idea. This is fertile recruiting ground for the cults.
The SSA tries to foster groups to give students a secular alternative. At the University of Minnesota Twin Cities campus, for instance, we have Campus Atheists, Skeptics, and Humanists working to keep a lively freethought community going; we’re starting a chapter here at UMM (web page is under construction, sorry). Universities are one of the best places we’ve got to build secular leadership.
So what we need, though, is support. Maybe you hated the idea of buying a scarlet “A” t-shirt with Richard Dawkins’ name on it — but are you also going to refuse to donate to the Secular Student Alliance? It’s a great cause. Do what you can to help out.
*It’s like throwing a bone to a dog … you people are all going to rush to disagree now, aren’t you?