This is very promising for UK atheists.
The National Federation of Atheist, Humanist and Secular Student Societies (AHS) is going to have a recruitment drive for new campus groups this summer. They currently have 25 societies/groups at schools across the country.
Chloë Clifford-Frith, AHS co-founder, said that the societies would act as a direct challenge to the Christian message being taught in schools.
She expressed concern that Christian Unions could influence vulnerable teenagers looking for a club to belong to with fundamentalist doctrine.
In particular, she claimed that some students were being told that homosexuality is a sin and to believe the Biblical account of creation.
“We want to point out how silly some of these beliefs are and hope that these groups will help to do that,” she said.
Good luck to them. It would be wonderful if you could find an AHS chapter at any school in Britain.
One of the goals of the Secular Student Alliance in the U.S. has been to have an affiliate on every campus in the country — to become as ubiquitous as Campus Crusade for Christ. It’s much harder said than done, though we’ve made substantial progress, especially in the past couple years, jumping to 150 affiliates.
Both groups work with a similar mentality — the better networked our groups are, the more power we will have to make changes where they need to happen.
Some of the AHS critics are arguing that this is an example of “militant atheism” at work:
Simon Calvert of the Christian Institute said: “Atheists are becoming increasingly militant in their desperate attempts to stamp out faith. It is deeply worrying that they now want to use children to attack the Christian ethos of their schools.
“Many parents will also be anxious at the thought of militant atheists targeting their children.”
Of course, forcing atheism onto unsuspecting people isn’t what’s going on. It’s presenting an alternate viewpoint to students who normally don’t see one, challenging the Christian teachings of anti-homosexuality and Creationism, and providing a haven for already-non-religious students who have nowhere else to turn.
It’s nice that AHS has the support of professors Richard Dawkins and AC Grayling. Their popularity will help spread the word and groups will form quickly.
If any student leaders in the UK would like to form an affiliate group, they can learn about the AHS here.