Remember how the Secular Student Alliance was represented at a meeting of the White House’s Office of Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships a couple weeks ago? The topic was Advancing Interfaith and Community Service on College and University Campuses. SSA’s Executive Director August Brunsman and Harvard’s Humanist Chaplain Greg Epstein were there on behalf of the non-theist community.
There were a total of 110 participants, not including White House staff.
You do the math.
The SSA issued this statement about the meeting.
“Our inclusion in today’s meeting is a welcome acknowledgement that secular students have been working to make a positive difference in the world,” said Brunsman. “As more and more students openly identify as nontheistic, we are taking a greater role in the charitable interfaith community.”
The right-wing OneNewsNow website just found out about the meeting and MAN are they pissed. Here’s reporter Bill Bumpas:
Student atheist leaders are bragging that they were recently invited to the White House to participate in a meeting on interfaith service projects on college campuses.
The Secular Student Alliance boastfully proclaimed on its website that a couple of its leaders attended the June 7 meeting sponsored by the Obama administration’s Office of Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships.
Bishop Harry Jackson with the Fellowship of International Churches tells OneNewsNow he believes the White House is trying to expand the tent of faith to include atheists and non-religious people as a way to discredit Bible-believing evangelicals.
“I think we’re being set up — for people of living faith who believe in a born-again experience who follow the Bible — to be seen as knuckle-dragging Neanderthals who need to come into the 21st century,” Jackson said.
He argued that, in the 20 years that President Obama sat under the preaching of his pastor, Rev. Jeremiah Wright, Obama was exposed to a worldview that included aberrant ideas. For example, Wright likened the Supreme Court to the Ku Klux Klan, said the U.S. had brought the 9/11 terrorist attacks on itself, and insisted that the U.S. government had invented HIV as a way to kill minorities.
“Then it stands to reason that you would not see anything wrong in including all these kinds of folks [atheists] in your religious program,” Bishop Jackson said, “and you kind of feel like this is what America really is like and this is what the faith community should be like because this is the world you as a president had experienced in your pre-presidential days.”
The White House, he believes, has bought into the concept that America is no longer a Christian nation.
If someone can please explain to me any logic in that piece, I’d appreciate it. Especially the connection between the KKK and 9/11 and HIV and including atheists in an interfaith dialogue.
Also, let’s set the record straight… again. America never was a Christian nation.
For what it’s worth, “Bible-believing evangelicals” were invited to that White House meeting, too. As were Muslims and Hindus and Jews and Buddhists…
It’s called “interfaith” for a reason. They wanted a diversity of viewpoints. We have a viewpoint different from most everyone else. That’s why the Secular Student Alliance was honored to be invited. I know we don’t want the White House talking about faith at all, but if they’re going to do it, I’d rather have us inside the tent when that happens.
***Update***: A friend points out that Bishop Harry Jackson doesn’t know his science when he uses the phrase “knuckle-dragging Neanderthals”:
Neanderthals evolved about a million years after our ancestral line started walking upright. Not too many knuckle-draggers in the normal Neanderthal crowd.