Profile of a Campus Activist

The campus newspaper of the University of Kansas is running a great story today on my friend Andrew Stangl, president of the sole secular group on campus– the Society of Open-Minded Atheists and Agnostic (SOMA)– and one of my colleagues on the Secular Student Alliance board of directors.

“He’s a radical in choir boy’s clothing,” says Paul Scott, assistant professor of French and director of the 2005 study abroad program in France that Stangl participated in. Scott describes Stangl as a lighthearted yet serious person who is never afraid to voice his opinion. Scott says he and Stangl disagree on such issues as abortion but that Stangl is extremely respectful of other people’s opinions while standing firmly behind his own.

And here’s some positive atheism for you:

SOMA’s major fundraiser, “Soul Auction,” benefits the Douglas County AIDS Project. After an audience bids on the “souls” of participants, the participants must perform pre-determined activities for the highest bidders. These activities include anything from manual labor to going out on a date. Half of the profits go to the AIDS Project while the other half goes to SOMA.

Another event, “Ask an Atheist,” is scheduled for early May. A panel of three atheistic students will answer questions from the audience in an attempt to educate people about atheism and agnosticism.

Andrew’s group also brought Michael Newdow (the man who went to the Supreme Court to remove “Under God” from the Pledge of Allegiance) to speak on campus this past week as well. That event was covered by the Lawrence Journal-World newspaper.

It’ll be sad to see him step down from SOMA after this year, but you know he’s left a good model for them to follow in the future.


[tags]atheist, atheism, University of Kansas, University Daily Kansan, Andrew Stangl, Society of Open-Minded Atheists and Agnostic, SOMA, Secular Student Alliance, Paul Scott, abortion, Soul Auction, Douglas County AIDS Project, Ask an Atheist, Michael Newdow, Supreme Court, Under God, Pledge of Allegiance, Lawrence Journal-World[/tags]

  • Riley Yergin

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