Support This Group Before Religious Intolerance Makes the Kitten Cry

Secular Panthers is the student atheist group at Georgia State University. They just formed this year and they already have some big plans.

Starting with responding to campus preachers.

President Dave Churvis explains the problem this way:

There have occasionally been spontaneous counter-protests, but there has never been any kind of sustained response. Secular Panthers is going to organize one. We are making inroads with some of the other student organizations (some religious, such as the J. Reuben Clark Law Society for religious students at the GSU Law School; some not, such as the Alliance for Sexual and Gender Diversity) to put together a long-running campaign to get many different organizations out on the Plaza engaging in real dialogue, not just a counter-protest, whenever the protesters appear. Our vision, essentially, is to have an environment where one extreme, emotionally-damaging voice is countered by a whole community of voices, hopefully with the effect of crowding out the hate.

Not that counter-protests are bad, but this is a novel and powerful approach to dealing with crazy preachers. If it works, it could be a model for several other groups.

In addition, the group plans to run a significant minority outreach campaign to bring in people from diverse backgrounds into their group.

As with just about all student groups, their school can help fund some of their projects but they could use some money to help get word out about their organization (to print posters, do some online marketing, bring in speakers, etc). If you have a few bucks to send their way, they’re doing a fundraising campaign and would appreciate your support:

These are atheists in the South. They’re islands of reason in a sea of insanity. Help them grow their islands.

About Hemant Mehta

Hemant Mehta is the editor of Friendly Atheist, appears on the Atheist Voice channel on YouTube, and co-hosts the uniquely-named Friendly Atheist Podcast. You can read much more about him here.

  • Regina Carol Moore

    Intellectual debate is the reason England is so much further ahead of us when it comes to not letting religious extremists run the country (although they have their problems too). This is an excellent idea and kudos to these students for pursuing this.

  • A3Kr0n

    I think protesting campus preachers using lots of Silly String could be a model for all groups. It’s available to people of all ages, and doesn’t require a background check..
    Hmmm… maybe I shouldn’t comment so early in the morning…

  • CT

    Funny, in my day, we usually saw the Campus Preachers (and ours was on Phil Donahue, making him a sort of celebrity campus preacher), as a bizarre form of entertainment. What has happened to our society? Maybe it’s my age, but religious or not, right or left, it’s as if we just can’t take anyone else’e freedom of speech and belief if they don’t see it our way – in the name of tolerance. Was what they spewed a cross between hate, ignorance, and mind numbing hilarity? Sure. I’ve heard atheists, religious, right and left do the same. The problem is, that’s *my* definition. Others may see my views, no matter how soft spoken and polite I express them, as hate and ignorance by definition. Again, showing my age, but in my day, the ones who protested (usually the religious fundamentalists) were the icons of intolerance and Orwellian censorship. And it wasn’t just one professor who said that and insisted to avoid the terrors of the previous century, we must have a nation where we are willing to listen and retort, not protest or cut off, the ideals of others. I’d hate to think they were wrong, or worst, just lying.

  • Reginald Selkirk

    These are atheists in the South. They’re islands of reason in a sea of insanity. Help them grow their islands.

    They must all be female, because I’ve heard that no man is an island.

  • Reginald Selkirk

    RE the kitten photo: Bad focus. If you’re going in that close, use the macro setting on your camera.

  • Gordon Maples

    “These are atheists in the South. They’re islands of reason in a sea of insanity. Help them grow their islands.”

    Can’t emphasize that enough. There are countless secular student groups throughout the south at universities, community colleges, and high schools, and they are doing some fantastic work across the board, It is really fantastic to be able to work with them, and they could use all the support they can get..

  • Matthew Duncan

    I’m Dave’s partner, and a member of Secular Panthers. The kitten was a random photo we pulled from Google Images.