Justin Trottier, the president of the Freethought Association of Canada, and his friend Peter Aruja were hanging posters on the night of March 27 promoting an upcoming lecture featuring Victor Stenger, author of God: The Failed Hypothesis at Ryerson University.
Flyering buildings is a typical way that campus groups get word out about their events.
Two men then approached Justin:
The men asked for a copy of the poster, mumbled under their breath and tossed it to the ground. Mr. Trottier said he yelled after them, “You could have recycled that.”
I should add that there’s no indication that the men were Christian. But I’ll let this article tell the next part:
Fifteen minutes later, when Mr. Trottier and his colleague were in a more secluded area of the university, he said the two men reappeared and started a verbal argument. One of the men hit him in the face twice, and butted him on his face, causing his nose to bleed, Mr. Trottier said.
Here is the story from Justin himself:
According to Mr. Trottier “The first individual smacked me in the face twice and said “watch your smart mouth.” I said “don’t touch me” at which point he head butted me hard in the face, causing my nose to bleed profusely.”
“I think I discovered the hard way the boundaries of freedom of speech… The fact that an atheist should fear for his well being while advertising for a university event that seeks to promote free inquiry is alarming, and though I feared for my life briefly, I’ve never felt as strong about my atheism. My colleagues and I have only strengthened our resolve to forge ahead with our agenda to push for secularism, science and freedom of thought.”
The university is not considering this a hate crime. A spokeswoman for the school said they are merely treating it as a “dispute that arose and led to an altercation.”
Toronto police added:
“We don’t have anything that suggests [a hate crime] as far as I’m aware of. I know [Mr. Trottier] was talking about that, but certainly from what I see it doesn’t look like it falls within what our policies and procedures define as a hate crime,” [Detective Dave] Alexander said. “But we’re still looking at that as well to cover all the bases.”
You can imagine if the situation was reversed, though…
What if an atheist beat up a Campus Crusade for Christ student as he advertised an event promoting Intelligent Design?
Or what if a student hit a member of the Muslim Student Alliance?
In any of the other situations, I imagine there would be a bigger uproar. Why isn’t that happening here?
[tags]atheist, atheism, Justin Trottier, Peter Aruja, Freethought Association of Canada, Victor Stenger, God: The Failed Hypothesis, Ryerson University, Christian, Dave Alexander, Campus Crusade for Christ, Muslim Student Alliance, Intelligent Design[/tags]