If your campus group wants to stir up controversy, the Atheists, Humanists, Agnostics at Dartmouth has the way to do it: Go after Mother Teresa:
The [campus-wide] e-mail says the group plans to screen an anti-Mother Teresa film, discuss Hitchens’ book, Missionary Position: Mother Teresa in Theory and Practice, and question how the public has been “conned into thinking this woman [Teresa] was good.”
The e-mail states Teresa, who is on her way to sainthood in the Catholic church, “was not a friend of the poor,” but “was a friend of poverty.”
The email links to a now infamous article by the late Christopher Hitchens which attempts to debunk much of the lore that surrounds Teresa.
Just to be clear, they’re not going after her for completely irrelevant reasons. As Hitchens pointed out in his book, there are good reasons for denouncing many of the things she did. But because she’s so venerated, a lot of people refuse to admit she did anything wrong. As you might expect, there’s a lot of opposition to any discussion that suggests Mother Teresa was anything but a saint:
“It’s easy for a group of privileged Ivy League students who have never experienced poverty to meet in a ‘super secret room’ and think themselves as intellectuals by bashing Mother Teresa,” Melanie Wilcox, Executive Editor of the conservative Dartmouth Review, told Campus Reform.
“I’d like to know what they have done, if anything, to help the needy,” she added.
Because Mother Teresa is immune from criticism unless you’ve helped the needy…? Arguments stand on their own merit; it shouldn’t matter who’s making them or where they’re coming from.
Even State Rep. Gary Hopper jumped into the fray with this comment on Facebook:
One thing atheists are very good at is tipping over sacred cows. It doesn’t matter if the subject is God, Mother Teresa, or Jesus. Just because certain people or ideas are revered doesn’t mean they’re perfect and it’s all worth at least a good discussion, which is all the atheists wanted to have.