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Student Voice Interview: Reed Secular Alliance

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This article originally appeared in the SSA eMpirical No. 15 - Student Voice, Part I.

Campus Organizer conducts an interview with Leslie Zukor, founder and signator of the Reed Secular Alliance. You can find more about this group at its blog, http://rsa-secular.blogspot.com/.

For those that may be unfamiliar, can you tell us a little about who Chris Mooney is and what his visit to Reed was like?

Chris Mooney is the author of The Republican War on Science. He descended upon Reed on September 18th, to give a talk on how the GOP skews scientific research to promote its own agenda. Sixty people showed up, which was a nice crowd, but I was hoping for a bit better attendance.

Initially your group received some flack from other Reed students. Tell me a little about this and how you overcame it.


Most of our problems happened first semester last year. The controversy was due to student ignorance of the history of the Freethought Movement. I named our club the Reed College Freethinkers, in order to celebrate the long heritage of critical thought on religious topics. For as intelligent as the Reed population thinks itself to be, people had not heard of the Freethought Movement, and thought the name was insulting to their sensibilities. To silence the controversy, we simply changed our name to Reed Secular Alliance. End of story. Also, what helped was building a track record; once people could point to positive things that we had done, criticism decreased dramatically.

So tell me, why shoudn't I move to Canada?

Think: this last election.

Tell our readers about a time when you or your group benefited from the SSA's Services .

The Secular Student Alliance (SSA) has generously donated to our Freethought Books for Prisoners Program, on more than one occasion. Also, the SSA gave $300 to sponsor our dinner event with Daniel Dennett.

RSA Book Drive
Leslie Zukor, founder and signator of the Reed Secular Alliance, helps out with one of the group's book drives.


Let's pretend that money was no object for the Reedies. What would your group most like to accomplish if it had a bank account of, oh say, $5,000?

If there were no monetary limit, we would have Sam Harris speak, though I think that it would cost more like $10,000. Even though we don't agree with all of his conclusions, Harris is an eloquent voice for freethinkers everywhere.

This article originally appeared in the SSA eMpirical No. 15 - Student Voice, Part I.

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