The Secular Student Alliance is a group I’ve worked with for years. We help create, maintain, and support atheist student groups across the country. Every now and then we get requests from student groups in other countries who would like our help. We do what we can, but it’s tough to give them the support they need.
That’s why I’m thrilled to hear about the launch of The National Federation of Atheist, Humanist & Secular Student Societies (AHS). It’s an umbrella group for secular student organizations in Great Britain. While their website says they formed last summer, they’re getting more attention now with an official launch.
Jerome Taylor wrote about the group in The Independent:
Dressed in a sharp suit and sporting a carefully trimmed goatie, 24-year-old Norman Ralph, the newly anointed president of AHS, explained why he feels it is time for Britain’s atheists to unite. “I firmly believe that the secular traditions of this country are being openly challenged on all sides,” he said. “But I also think there is a growing wave of British atheism sweeping the country and we need to ride that wave. Ever since 9/11 people are being challenged to pick a side. There is such a push at the moment to be politically accepting of religious views that those who don’t have a religion are, in fact, missing out. That is a message that I think will be popular to many people.”
Richard Dawkins is obviously thrilled about this and he’s here to help:
Considering his prominent involvement in the atheist bus campaign it was perhaps no surprise that Professor Dawkins attended the launch of AHS and announced that his charitable foundation would be willing to give support to students who wished to set up an atheist society at university.
That’s fantastic news. Jessica Shepherd wrote another article about the AHS in The Guardian.
I gotta say, I’m a bit jealous. The AHS currently has just over 10 affiliates listed on their website. That’s awesome and I hope the number shoots up quickly.
That said, the Secular Student Alliance has over 130 affiliates and nowhere near the type of media attention the AHS is already getting. We could definitely use more support to make atheist voices heard on campuses everywhere.
I wonder what it would take for us to get in the public spotlight. I would think the idea of over 130 atheist groups under one umbrella (in our religious culture) would draw attention from a number of reporters. but it’s not happening. Do you have any suggestions to change that?
While there’s no doubt we need atheist student group supporters across the world, I think the influence of religion is a far greater problem in America than it is in Europe.
Where’s the support for the American secular student groups?