The atheist student group at Wilfrid Laurier University has been getting a lot of terrific press coverage. They were denied “official campus group” status at their school because they promoted “a fulfilling life without religion and superstition.” This was deemed intolerant… which made no sense at all.
The campus newspaper wrote about this yesterday.
The mainstream media picked up on it today.
Here’s Barbara Aggerholm‘s article from The Record, a local paper in Ontario:
The campus clubs’ executive, a part of the students’ union, took issue with the group’s goal to promote “a meaningful life without superstition or religion,” [group vice-president Anatoly Venovcev] said.
“When we submitted the paperwork, they thought that it would be just an exclusive organization of people that professed no religion. We would be excluding people who have a religious belief.
“They then replied to us in a manner that we thought was being exclusively intolerant of us as people of no religion because they saw that we would be actively against religious belief.”
The result is “the stir you’re seeing right now across the Internet,” he said.
The issue has attracted blogs with names like Canadian Cynic, A Creative Revolution, Pharyngula, Sandwalk, and Friendly Atheist.
Woo! Thanks for the mention.
Toronto-based The Globe and Mail picked up on that article as well.
If all goes well, LFA should be a recognized campus group by the end of the week:
Specifically, the group has been speaking with Sanjay Ojjo, VP: Finance for WLUSU, who noted that the LFA is planning to re-submit their application today, as long as they add some statements which reflect that the group will be tolerant and inclusive of all groups on campus.
“Given the circumstance, it should be done by the end of the week as long as they fulfil their requirements of putting in their proposal to be respectful of all while engaging communities in meaningful debate about God,” said Ojjo.
Of course, I don’t know any campus atheist organizations that doesn’t do this anyway. So it should be an easy confirmation.
Congrats to Anatoly, Tyler Handley (group president), and everyone else who helped make this happen!
***UPDATE***: Anatoly passes this along:
Hey Hemant… WE’VE BEEN RECOGNIZED!
Thanks man, really, for all the help you did. You and the Friendly Atheist blog is an inspiration for everyone who still believes in basic principles of tact.
We’re actually been in the local television news as well, first Tyler, today at 6:30 pm and me, a bit later today, at 11:30 pm.
And for your readers out there who believe we might have compromised some of our core values, I’ve read over our new constitution and will put it on my blog when I get a copy of it. Basically it came down to this: Adding two lines, one stating that we would be inclusive to any religious person who would want to have meaningful religious discourse (not a problem, our stance all along), and two, stating that we would not engage in any vindictive assaults on religion – only logical critique (again, not a problem).