This week is SSA Week, when the Secular Student Alliance does their annual fundraising push. Since I consider the SSA to be quite possibly the most important organization in the entire movement, I strongly urge everyone to support them in any way they can.
Why do I think SSA is so important? Many reasons. First, because of their incredible success and growth. The public schools have long been home to thousands and thousands of Christian student groups, from Bible clubs to the Fellowship of Christian Athletes, providing friendship and community to their members. Secular students need that kind of community even more given the generally hostile attitude toward atheists, agnostics and humanists. It can feel pretty lonely being non-Christian in this society, especially as a teenager.
When I first interviewed Jessica Ahlquist, she told me when she filed her lawsuit in Rhode Island, she had no idea that there was an atheist/secular community. In Cranston, she was virtually alone aside from her family and a few close friends. The first person to contact her was JT Eberhard and he told her that the SSA had her back and was on her side. She said that was a huge thing for her, just knowing there were other people who supported her. And I know of at least two other high school students who took a stand because of Jessica’s example, both of whom are involved in SSA clubs.
SSA is building the next generation of leaders for this movement. I speak to SSA clubs regularly and I am always encouraged to see so many bright and engaged young people. I see people like Jessica, Harrison Hopkins, Miri Mogilevsky, Kate Donovan, Ellen Lundgren, Monica Harmsen, Hassan Kalifeh, Gordon Maples and many others as being groomed for future leadership positions and I am greatly encouraged. I hope you are too.
So if you can help support the network financially, click here. And if you can’t help financially, there are other ways you can help. Talk about it on Twitter (#SSAWeek) and Facebook and encourage others to help out. As the Christians like to say, “go tell it on the mountain.”
Like Dispatches on Facebook: