Pro-Life Atheist Speaks to College Group, but Not Without Some Controversy

Last week, atheist Kelsey Hazzard, who runs the group Secular Pro-Life, was scheduled to speak at the University of Georgia to the members of Students for Life about the secular case against abortion.

Which apparently left vandals in a state of confusion because it’s not very often that the worlds of atheism and abortion collide in this way. I’m not sure if it was the Christian side or pro-choice side that was more upset about it, but someone felt compelled enough to destroy the posters:

What remains of one of the posters marking Kelsey’s appearance at UGA

“I keep putting the posters up … and someone keeps taking them down,” [Students for Life president Rebecca] Stapleford said. “I put them up, go to class and within an hour they are gone. I put them up again, and within five minutes they are gone.

Obviously, those actions are to be condemned by everybody. That’s the way you respond when you have no good arguments on your side. If you really think they’re wrong, let them advertise as they wish, then dissent in a productive, meaningful way.

I asked Kelsey how her talk actually went and she noted that there were no actual problems with the event itself:

… the event wound up being very well attended, [with] about 80-100 people. I’d say the attempt at censorship had no effect, or possibly even backfired and increased the audience.

You can watch video of her presentation below with a recap here:

Without getting into her actual arguments and whether they’re fair or flawed, I’m amazed that I haven’t seen a presentation like this at any of the atheist conferences I’ve ever been to. (At least I can’t remember seeing one like it.) If conference organizers are trying to reach out to a broader spectrum of people, Kelsey seems like a natural choice for a poised speaker who has a very different perspective to bring to the secular table. Even if you think she’s way off base, she represents not-an-insignificant portion of our community. It’d at least be interesting to see the two sides of this argument hash things out in front of a crowd.

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.


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