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SSA eNews No. 10 - My Struggle with Disbelief, Part 2

Secular Student eNews

In this issue:

The SSA only exists because of your support. Please donate today.
Secular shorts:
The SSA has a Podcast. Listen away.

Spend Easter with the Atheists! SSA and the Atheist Alliance International are teaming up to put together an amazing 2006 national conference. It will be April 14-16 and in Kansas City, MO. Student registration is free! And many of your schools will help pay for student group members and leaders to go to conferences--look into it! And join us.
Speaking of Kansas, check out this Rolling Stone magazine article about Senator Sam Brownback. And you thought Rick Santorum was religious...
Leave it to the Guardian UK to tell us about our total lack of separation of church and state in the US.
Our favorite secular advice columnist, Molleen Matsumura, was featured in an article on Faith-Based dating! Yay!
It's good to see that we've finally resolved that whole Ten Commandments in the schoo--what...? Really...? Kentucky? *sigh*
Contact us!
Call us toll free at 1-877-842-9474. You can also email us at ssa@secularstudents.org. We are always happy to hear from you and answer any questions or concerns!

What do you think?
This is your eNewsletter and we are always updating and changing to fit your needs, so please let us know what you think of our new format! Email enews@secularstudents.org with any suggestions, ideas, or comments.


This edition of the Secular Student Alliance eNews is Part 2 on our series: My Struggles with Disbelief. We bring you a story of a young boy in the middle of a Supreme Court battle, someone who has no struggle with disbelief at all, the struggles of a high school student and a college professor, and finally a way to resolve the conflicts.

We love to hear your feedback. Please send us comments at enews@secularstudents.org. If you'd like to write an article for an upcoming issue, please email us as well.

We hope you enjoy the issue.

My Supreme Court Case
E. Schempp

This article was written by Ellery Schempp.

There was this Supreme Court case, Abington vs. Schempp, decided in 1963; some call it a "landmark case". I am one of those Schempps and I have some memories from 1956-1963, when I was an 11th grade kid in the Abington public schools, a suburb of Philadelphia. At that time in Pennsylvania schools, we had something called "Morning Devotions". We all assembled in our home rooms for attendance at 8:10 AM, and then there would be a Bible-reading, followed by standing to recite the Lord's Prayer and the Flag Salute. In elementary grades, the teacher read from the Bible. By 6th grade, the teachers said to the class, why don't you do the Bible-reading? So we did it in rotation.


Life in Kansas
Andrew Stangl

This article was written by Andrew Stangl, the president of the Society of Open-Minded Atheists and Agnostics at the University of Kansas and an SSA board member.

Allow me to begin by introducing myself. My name is Andrew Stangl, and I am both the president of a secular student organization called the Society of open-Minded Atheists and Agnostics (SOMA) at the University of Kansas, and a board member for the Secular Student Alliance (SSA).

For anyone who attends school in the United States and identifies him or herself as any synonym for non-Christian or non-believer in a god or gods, few days pass without harsh reminders that the majority of students are hostile to your viewpoints.


Still Struggling
Amanda Metskas ca. 2003

This article was written by Amanda K. Metskas, the president of Camp Quest.

Religion was the biggest bone of contention growing up in my household. It started at age 5 with "Mommy, why doesn't Daddy have to go to church and I do?" When I was asked to write this piece, I thought this will be easy, I have so much I can say about my "struggle with disbelief," but as I sit down to write it I get this sick feeling in my stomach. I want to talk about the fights we had about religion in my family, and the accommodation we came to, and how we are still negotiating the issue today. But when I go to start writing I keep picturing my mom sitting at the computer googling my name and reading this article. (Life was so much easier before parents became Internet-savvy). I don't want to upset her. I don't want to violate my parents' privacy by airing their beliefs and conflicts for all to see. (As you might guess, "Metskas" is not the most common last name in the universe).


SSA Chair Wins Prestigious Scholarship

Hemant Mehta

This article is by Leslie A. Zukor the founder & signator of the Reed College Freethinkers

Hemant Mehta, internationally acclaimed for his role as the eBay Atheist, has been named the recipient of the 2006 American Atheists College Scholarship. A $2,000 prize, this honor is conferred annually to a student activist who demonstrates superior commitment to the atheist cause.


Can Secular Students Work with Progressive Believers?

Jerry Lieberman
This article was written by Jerry Lieberman, an SSA board member and also president of the board of the Humanists of Florida Association.

This issue of our newsletter is concerned with how we as individuals transformed ourselves from believers to skeptics, agnostics, atheists and humanists. How difficult was this experience for us and how did we manage? My approach is a thematic modification of this issue's context. It is concerned with how we non-believers feel about believers and how this affects the extent of our relationship with them.


My Struggle with Belief
Edwin Kagin

This article was written by Edwin Kagin, legal director for American Atheists. He responded to the prompt: Tell us about your struggles with disbelief.

Dear Editors,

A far better title would be "My Struggle with Belief." "Disbelief" is not really the right word for the topic you presented. Quit being cute. Disbelief in what? You editors are really asking why the respondent doesn't believe in god, aren't you now? "Disbelief" is refusal to believe or absence of belief. Like such is somehow a bad thing or something.


The Garrison-Martineau Project Chris Lindstrom

This article was written by Chris Lindstrom, the director of the Garrison-Martineau Project

I listened to the Alito Senate hearings with mixed feelings. On the one hand, I was happy to hear that he generally ruled in favor of the rights of minority religions - like the Muslim police officer who, thanks to Alito, was able to keep his beard. On the other hand, I was dismayed to hear that he felt public high school graduation prayers should be put to a majority vote - of the students. A colleague asked me if I felt it was better to have a smart right wing reactionary or a stupid right wing reactionary in office and I realized that this was the wrong question. What's important isn't intelligence, it's empathy and the ability to imagine oneself in another's shoes.


SSA Alumnus Leads International Campaign
Peter Adegoke

Ben Hyink, a recent graduate of Northwestern University, has put up $500 of his own money to help empower Peter Adegoke. Peter is the founder and leader of the Ibadan University Humanist Society (IUHS), an affiliate of the Secular Student Alliance. IUHS is also a consultative member of the International Humanist and Ethical Youth Organization (IHEYO), and a member of African Student Transhumanist Network (ASTNET). Peter is a philosophy major at Ibadan University. Peter has also written for the SSA eNews.


Campus visits

The SSA has recently been organizing in New York, northern Kentucky and in the Southwest.


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