Texas Atheist Group Will Focus on Community Service

A couple of years ago, the Atheist Longhorns from the University of Texas at Austin adopted a street… but like so many campus atheist groups, this one disappeared, presumably when its leader graduated.

Now, there is new blood in the organization. They’ve rebranded themselves at the Secular Student Alliance at the University of Texas at Austin and they’re focusing on service projects:

The group is primarily a service organization and participated in National Secular Student Service Day on Oct. 3 by donating clothes to the Texas Red Cross for Bastrop Fire Relief, [co-founder Erick] Rodriguez said. They also plan on continuing to care for 28th Street, which was adopted by the Atheist Longhorns, he said.

“A lot of people may think that a secular or atheist organization may have a goal to oppose religion or religious organizations,” he said. “This is not at all our goal. There is a space here for anyone with no religious affiliation, and we invite all students to come join our meetings.”

That’s not to say they plan on kowtowing to religious groups at school. Check out one of their upcoming speakers:

The group is currently preparing for Dec. 2 when its first speaker, author David Fitzgerald, will give a lecture titled “Ten Beautiful Lies about Jesus.”

Fitzgerald’s going to knock it out of the park — you can see his Ultimate Christmas Quiz here. (Can someone pleeeeeease record the Q & A!?)

The mix is exactly what you need. Show that you’re good people, able to focus on making the world we live in a better place, but don’t let up on religious criticism. Force religious people to defend their silly beliefs by quoting their holy books right back at them and shining a light on the worst of their faith’s practices.

You can be respectful of people without relenting when it comes to their religion. Show the campus that all religious beliefs ought to come under heavy scrutiny.

About Hemant Mehta

Hemant Mehta is the chair of Foundation Beyond Belief and a high school math teacher in the suburbs of Chicago. He began writing the Friendly Atheist blog in 2006. His latest book is called The Young Atheist's Survival Guide.

  • http://www.facebook.com/andi.windham Andriana Windham

    As a UT alum, I’m glad to hear that another support group is going on campus.  I didn’t  embrace atheism until after I graduated.

    BTW, Hemant, UTA around here refers to UT Arlington.  UT Austin is just UT, and it is assumed that it’s the one in Austin.  (Feel free to delete this if you decide to change it.)

    • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/friendlyatheist/ Hemant Mehta

      Fixed that. Thanks!

  • Anonymous

    “but like so many campus atheist groups, this one disappeared, presumably when its leader graduated.”

    Hemant, what strategies are there to give a campus student group some continuity as leaders appear and then graduate?

    • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/friendlyatheist/ Hemant Mehta

      The Secular Student Alliance has really focused on succession planning the past few years and it’s been paying off. Groups now know what they need to do in anticipation of leaders graduating. We expect to lose about 10% of our groups nationwide each year. We try to bring that number down as much as possible each year.

  • Phil Ferguson

    Hemant,
    Thanks for the link to the xmas quiz. 


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