Monday, September 22, 2008


Bring Out the Stakes ... and Beer!

Well, it's come to this at last!

Christians are being asked to donate to a college campus group that will, as one advertising sign put it, "Make atheists read the Bible."

What next? Gangs of Jehovah's Witnesses roaming the streets looking for nuns they can force to recite articles from The Watchtower?

This outrage must be stopped before ... Huh? What?

Oh, it seems that the campus group was the Penn State Atheist and Agnostic Association and its members were reading from religious books, including the Bible, the Quran and, of course, the Gospel of the Flying Spaghetti Monster, as a way of raising money:

The "Bible-A-Thon" raised about $503, which will go to Doctors Without Borders, an organization that brings medical care to people worldwide.

It was also considered by some members of the organization to be something of a social experiment to see how tolerant people are.

Reactions to the event were mostly positive, [Association President Nat] Jackson said.

"We've only been flipped off like twice," he said.

Others of the faithful were friendlier. Kate Hillenbrand, who said that she found the atheists "cool," despite believing in God herself, went on to say:

"I'm really glad they're doing this," she said, adding, "In America, who stands up for themselves anymore?"

Hillenbrand said she is interested in all kinds of philosophies and beliefs and thinks Penn State students should spend more time pondering those ideas.

"At this school, people care about drinking and football. What ... is that going to accomplish?" she said.

Hangovers, if I remember correctly.

The relative dearth of single digit salutes doesn't mean that the Association doesn't still have a long way to go:

Some people, however, said they support Doctors Without Borders, but don't want to donate to them through atheists, Jackson said. Club members want to change that. Under Jackson's leadership, the club has been steadily increasing its presence on campus over the last year.

Imagination and a dash of self-deprecating humor can't hurt.

Associate professor of theatre Charles Dumas donated to the group because Doctors Without Borders is one of his favorite organizations, he said. He asked to hear a reading from the Quran and thought the event was a smart, interesting idea.

"It's a provocative idea to have atheists reading from holy books to raise money," he said.

I don't know, though ... ain't that kinda like the ultimate accommodationism?

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