The Lifelong Peacenik

My friend Jeannette Watland was recently featured in the Minnesota Women’s Press and it’s a terrific article.

Jeannette is the president of Camp Quest of Minnesota and former president of Minnesota Atheists.

Her pleasant demeanor has helped her out in the strangest places, too…

Building bridges rather than walls has been rewarding for Watland. She once made a connection with someone she calls a “‘God-hates-fags’-type protestor.” Watland, a vocal gay-rights supporter, looked at the other protestor as an individual rather than an opponent. “There were people shouting at them. I started a respectful dialog,” she said. “He admitted that some of his points were wrong. [Respect] goes both ways.”

Watland, who is an atheist, has been confronted with hate speech while participating in Minnesota Atheists’ public events. While she realizes “It’s natural to be defensive” in situations where you’re being attacked for your beliefs, reaching out to those with differing beliefs comes naturally to her.

If you have the means, please consider donating to Camp Quest of MN. $25 will pay for a child’s meals for a full day.

  • Frank

    $25 a day to feed a child? I know I eat for a lot less than that.

  • liz

    i was thinking the same thing!

    what the hell are they feeding these kids? steak and caviar?

  • http://thegodlessmonster.com/ The Godless Monster

    In addition to the initial purchase price, tack on extra to transport, store, cook and serve the food. Plus, if it’s healthy food, expect to pay 25%-50% more than if you were serving up only hot dogs, chips, soda and baked beans.

  • Jet

    No, we don’t feed the kids steak and caviar. We do rent from a host camp and they charge a fee per camper so that can be why it seems like a high price.

  • loops

    Makes you wonder where we’d be if someone like PZ went out of his way to be accommodating. Not that I don’t appreciate his tact.

  • http://ecstathy.blogspot.com efrique

    > He admitted that some of his points were wrong.

    Which is great, but in my experience, while the sort of person who tends to be invested enough to stand there doing this kind of thing can sometimes be persuaded to agree that some of their points are wrong, nevertheless, the next week (or month or whatever) they’re back there saying exactly the same things as before.

    Maybe my experience is atypical. I hope so.

  • Nakor

    No, it’s typical. I sometimes feel like adding to my arguments “then you agree argument xyz is wrong?” and then “then you won’t ever try that argument on anyone else again?” just to see the reaction. I haven’t yet, but I’ve pondered it. (It might serve doubly well in cases where they keep switching arguments every time they appear to be losing their case.)

  • ckitching

    Makes you wonder where we’d be if someone like PZ went out of his way to be accommodating.

    Probably in the exact same spot (or close to it). It’s foolish to assume that only polite discourse is the only way to change minds. Some people respond to polite discourse, while others find it wishy-washy. Some respond to impassioned forceful arguments, while others find it too aggressive. Some are set in their ways and will not respond to anything.

  • Jennifer

    My son is going to this camp- yay!


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