American Atheists Convention

Help the American Atheists Convention come to Des Moines!

Tomorrow night at 7pm at the Embassy Suites on the River in downtown Des Moines (101 E. Locust), Ed Buckner, president of the American Atheists, will be in town and wants to meet with as many secularists/atheists as possible to discuss the AA convention coming to Des Moines in April 2011. This is a wonderful opportunity for the secular community in Iowa to take part, come together, put our best foot forward, and to be involved in this endeavor however we can.

As members of the oldest atheist group in Iowa, and as students who can volunteer at this awesome event, I hope to see lots of AAS members there! If you need to carpool please comment on the the Facebook event.

MLK Day of Service

To honor Martin Luther King, Jr. on Jan 18, groups across the country spent their day off work volunteering in the MLK Day of Service. Zack and Tori organized a volunteer opportunity for AAS at ACCESS – a shelter for victims of domestic violence.

ACCESS receives many donations of clothes, toys, toiletries, and more at their Drop-off location: the First Baptist Church in Ames. The donation room was filled with winter coats and other winter items that needed to be sorted to make room for spring-appropriate items. Ten AAS members spent about 2 hours sorting the items and having too much fun trying to figure out what some of the items were.

If you’d like to donate to ACCESS, please consider non-perishable food, cleaning supplies, laundry detergent, toilet paper – which they need more than anything else at this time.

Thanks to Zach and Tori for organizing the event!

Find more pictures below the cut. Continue reading

Student proselytizing

The article Students move in faith appeared in the ISU Daily today, showing the Christian perspective of student proselytizing, taken to the extreme of 50+ students changing schools to start a new ministry. An article tomorrow will show the ethical and administrative perspectives.

What are your thoughts on the article, and on these questions?

    The full text of the article is reposted here for posterity because the ISU Daily search engine does not work well and we want to be sure that anyone who wants to read the article can find it.

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    The firearm of Jesus Christ

    This guest post is by Anastasia Bodnar. She is a PhD student in Interdepartmental Genetics and previously served in the US Army for 8 years. If you’d like to contribute a guest post to the AAS blog, email isuaas@iastate.edu.

    Section 2k of the US military’s General Order 1B prohibits “Proselytizing of any faith, religion, or practice.” Full text PDF via Wikipedia entry on General Order 1. It’s a simple order that exists for not so simple reasons.

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    Secular holiday celebrations

    It’s that time of year where we all have to find our own way to celebrate or not celebrate the various religious winter holidays. Many of us have families that celebrate Christmas, and it can be difficult to find our own way to participate as non-religious persons. Some of us reject the whole thing, and some of us embrace it, including Richard Dawkins. Some of us enjoy surprising religious people, as Greg Laden of ScienceBlogs describes in Let the War on Christmas Begin. Atheist style. Do you celebrate any version of the winter holidays? If so, how?

    AAS will be celebrating the winter holidays when we return to classes in January with sledding at La Casa Grande (Dr. and Mrs. Avalos’ lovely home), baking cookies, and making Flying Spaghetti Monster ornaments out of pipe cleaners and googly eyes!

    This is also the time of year where the line between church and state begins to blur, as nativity scenes, Christmas trees, and menorahs go up on the steps of Capitol buildings and courthouses across the US. What is the holiday decoration situation in your home town?

    One secular group in Westchester, PA has found a unique way to celebrate and to be included in the religious holiday display outside their courthouse – by decorating an evergreen tree with laminated book covers to represent human knowledge. Unfortunately, local religious groups have been less than accepting. The entire article: Atheist Tree of Knowledge under attack from Examiner.com is posted below the cut for posterity.

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    Weekly Update

    This is the last week of AAS activities for this semester. If you have suggestions for events over break, please suggest them on the AAS Facebook discussion board or comment here.

    As you register for classes for next semester, please keep in mind that AAS meetings for Spring 2010  will be Monday nights 7-8pm in the MU Gold room.

    Thu Dec 3, 2009 7pm – 8pm  AAS Meeting – Memorial Union Gold Room (2nd floor, near Multicultural Center)
    Fri Dec 4, 2009 11am – 1pm  Ask an Atheist Booth – UDCC Commons area
    Sun Dec 6, 2009 11am – 1pm  AAS Sunday Brunch – Harvest Room of Seasons Marketplace on Campus

    At this week’s meeting, we’ll watch the movie “Flight From Death“.

    Have a happy winter break!

    AAS gets national news coverage!

    As many of you know, AAS had an AP religion reporter on campus for the Ask an Atheist booth and the Superstition Bash. The resulting story is a fairly accurate picture of who we are and why we gather in this student organization. We’re already getting many responses to the article. If you’re visiting this site because of this article, feel free to share your views in the comments. The article is reprinted here in full for posterity, but will be removed upon request of the owner of the material. Select positive and negative responses to the article will be posted here on the AAS blog.

    Atheist student groups flower on college campuses

    By ERIC GORSKI Sat Nov 21, 2:05 pm ET

    AP Photo by Charlie Neibergall

    AMES, Iowa – The sign sits propped on a wooden chair, inviting all comers: “Ask an Atheist.”

    Whenever a student gets within a few feet, Anastasia Bodnar waves and smiles, trying to make a good first impression before eyes drift down to a word many Americans rank down there with “socialist.”

    Bodnar is the happy face of atheism at Iowa State University. Once a week at this booth at a campus community center, the PhD student who spends most of her time researching the nutritional traits of corn takes questions and occasional abuse while trying to raise the profile of religious skepticism.

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