Should the MU have a chapel?

ChapelKevin Zimmerman, a 3rd year graduate student at ISU in Human Development and Family Studies, will make a brief presentation (about 15 min) at our meeting on Sept 17 about the chapel in the Memorial Union (shown here). He has prepared a letter to introduce his ideas, which you may find below.

As Kevin mentions in this letter, this is not the first time that this issue has been raised. In August 2007, Professor Warren Blumenfeld wrote a letter to the Daily  (reprinted after Kevin’s letter for your convenience) that caused a minor controversy but did not result in removal of the religious symbols.  Some students took the opportunity to respond and express their views (two letters of differing opinions reprinted after Dr. Blumenfeld’s for your convenience, you may find more at the ISU Daily).

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Darwin Week update

  • For those of you that ordered shirts: they will be ready on either Wednesday or Thursday this week. We do have a few extras that we’re hoping to sell at DJ Grothe’s talk on Friday.
  • We’re planning to apply for GSB funding for atheist/agnostic/secular/etc books that will be stored in the Memorial Union browsing library. The books have to be something the ISU library doesn’t already have. Reply no later than Feb 12 with books you would like us to request (the budget is due on the 13th).
  • Somehow, most of the campus has overlooked Darwin’s 200th birthday. Let’s remind them! This week, compose a letter to the editor about a topic related to Darwin or evolution. Send them to the ISU Daily, the Ames Tribune, and the Des Moines Register. Also send your letters to so they can be posted here (whether or not they get published). There are almost 500 people on the AAS email list. If even 1/10 of us write letters, it would be huge. Invite your friends to write letters via our Facebook event.
  • The Des Moines Register has some Tips for being published: The shorter the better. Make your point quickly. Include your name, address and daytime phone number. (If you don’t include your name and address, we can’t consider your letter for publication.) Remember — ALL letters are subject to editing. MOST letters are edited for clarification and length. Choose your words carefully. Letters that contain libelous or slanderous statements will likely either be edited or rejected.
  • If you are at a loss for topics for your letter, consider this: the Evolution Academic Freedom Act. For those of you who don’t know, “academic freedom” is the newest creationist buzzword to smuggle religion into science class. The bill is currently in subcommittee. Lets do what we can to see that it never leaves.Send your letters to the editor and send them to Iowa legislators. Read the full text of the bill at the Iowa General Assembly website. Thanks to Sid for the info on HS 183.
  • We’re planning to run a series of ads in the daily during Free Speech Week/VIESHEA, sort of like the atheist bus ads that have popped up all over the world. So, we need some great quotes or phrases for the ads. Submit your ideas at this Google Form.