My “evil” motivations behind my involvement with the MU chapel discussions
As most AAS members know, the MU Chapel was introduced up in a bill in GSB just a few short weeks ago by Senator Jacob Johnston. After some amendments, the bill recommends that the MU adopt a policy to keep the cross and allow student groups to add additional symbols. It seems like a great solution that would encourage religious diversity, but there are potential problems. Adding more symbols could potentially lead to a messy room that isn’t useful for anyone. Who would decide which symbols were “legitimate” or not? Should the cross maintain its status as a large permanent object while the other symbols are temporary and small? Who would pay for the additional symbols? There are so many questions that I’m not sure if adding more symbols is truly a viable way to make the chapel a space for all students, not just some. So, I’m trying collect input from students to help answer those questions, not as the President of AAS, but just as an interested person who wants to help!
At tonight’s GSB meeting (7pm in the MU Campanile Room), senators will consider a bill about the MU Chapel. I am concerned that they have not given enough consideration to all of the issues nor have they collected enough feedback from students (particularly students that are other than Christian or atheist) in order to make a sound decision on this issue. Therefore, I have requested that they postpone the vote until more information can be gathered. Some of these issues were brought up the Politics Hour show on KURE, which I was a part of (audio can be found at the host’s website). I hope you will attend the meeting and share your thoughts on these issues. Continue reading
This week, we’ll attend a Crusaders for Christ event called Porn Nation and visit Collegiate Methodist’s exhibit, Faces of Jesus. Unconventional activities for a group of non-religious persons, but perhaps we’ll gain some perspective of these groups by attending their events. We’ll also have a Friday Ask and Atheist Booth and Sunday Brunch. Details of these events can be found below.
- If you were Food Safe Certified last year, please attend the renewal training just in case we end up having an event involving food or beverages. Find dates and times on the AAS calendar, no registration required. More information will be posted about Food Safe training for people who have not been certified before when I have it.
- I’d like to try out Google Calendar as an RSVP system for AAS events. I’ve invited all of you to the Porn Nation event as a test. Those of you who use CyMail can just click on “Calendar” in the upper left hand corner where they can click on the event to RSVP. The same goes for those who use GMail. To subscribe to the AAS calendar, simply type “firstname.lastname@example.org” in the “Other Calendars” box on the left side of the screen. If you use another email website, and need assistance creating a GMail account, or if you need assistance transitioning to CyMail from WebMail, feel free to email email@example.com. Apologies if you got any emails about the Calendar event, I was trying out some options and Google kept blocking me for making too many changes to the Calendar!
- Later this week, you’ll receive a second email about planing for events coming up in October and November.
This week’s events:
- Monday at 7pm, ISU Crusaders for Christ is putting on a multimedia event called Porn Nation in the Great Hall of the MU. Meet AAS members in the Pride Lounge at 6:40pm so we can get seats together. After the event, interested people can discuss what we’ve heard. For details of the event, see CRU’s website http://www.iowastcru.com/news/. It would be interesting to see what information this group is telling people about human sexuality. The secular group at Purdue went to a similar event at their school, read what they had to say about it at their blog http://blaghag.blogspot.com/2009/09/anti-porn-event-emotional-appeals-and.html. A second showing will be at 9pm if you can’t make the 7pm showing.
- Tuesday 7pm in the East Student Office Space on the 1st floor of the MU across from Panda Express, Student Volunteer Services will be presenting about volunteer opportunities. If you are interested in getting AAS involved in volunteering, please attend this SVS meeting and report at the following AAS meeting. This could be especially important for the upcoming International Secular Service Day on October 18 http://www.secularserviceday.org.
- Thursday at 7pm in the Gold Room, we will have a brief discussion: What value, if any, does the story (or parts of the story) of Jesus have for atheists? After about 15 minutes of discussion, we’ll walk over to the Collegiate Methodist Student Center to view the interactive exhibit “Faces of Jesus” that includes traditional and abstract, new and old depictions of Jesus http://www.facebook.com/event.php?eid=116031579733. After we’ve viewed the exhibit, interested people can walk to the Free Speech Area for “Sex after dark” organized by ISU Feminists http://www.facebook.com/event.php?eid=128996323602. There will be a panel of experts on sexual health. It will be a nice counterpoint to the Campus Crusaders Porn event.
- Friday 11am-1pm, meet for the Ask an Atheist / Hug an Atheist Booth in the Free Speech Area between the Hub and the library. It’s a great opportunity to hang out with AAS members, recruit new members, and show theists that we are people too! If you can help carry the sign, etc to the event, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Kevin 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).