Secular club embraces curious minds

Jasmine Alston

Students of the Secular Student Alliance embark on a new journey to create an atmosphere dedicated to represent a minority of people who are no different from anyone else.

This club is geared toward those who are atheists, freethinkers and non-religious. In contrast to the 11 christian clubs on campus, this club can easily be judged because of stereotypes.

The SSA is a club often stigmatized by those who are not knowledgeable about the group’s intentions. The club offers an environment where students with the same interests have discussions like any other club.

The definition of atheism is not believing in any kind of deity. Although the club members may not believe in any religion, there is room to analyze the many religions.

Meetings of the club generally consist of the group having discussions usually including on how members can get involved with community service, watching presentations or having guest speakers.

One of the goals of the club is to get more students involved with them, said Lucila Morales, president of SSA.

The club would like to have more of a presence on campus and to stay involved with community service projects. They would also like to participate in some community service projects alongside the religious clubs on campus.

A fundraiser for the club will be put on called “Take an atheist to Church.” There will be jars placed on a table with various church names on them and whichever jar gets the most donations SSA will attend that specific church/sanctuary. The purpose is for the club to go into a religious area to learn more about it and to be engaged in it.

In the past, there have been friendly debates that took place between Chi Alpha, one of the christian clubs on campus, and SSA.

Being the single secular club on campus, SSA has experienced some backlash. One incident in particular was a flyer that was posted in the AIRC was vandalized with upside down crosses and there was even conversation between those who defended the club and against them, Morales said.

Some misconceptions about the club includes people believing atheists really do believe in God or since they do not believe in God they have no morals.

“One myth that is probably most dominant is that in order for one to have morality one has to believe in God, there are a lot of people who are atheist who direct morals from other different methods,” said Eddie Medina, event coordinator of SSA.

The main priority is to create an environment for those who are non-religious and to teach others about the club and to get rid of false beliefs about atheism.

“You can be good without God, and just because I am atheist does not mean that I am a bad person,” said Noel Navarro, a chaplain and who has been with SSA for three years.

Dan Pemberton, the campus organizer of SSA, gives support to secular students on the west coast and that includes organizing events and connecting students with humanist chaplains.

“The SSA is interested in what causes suffering and how to stop it,” Pemberton said. “We want to see religious minorities free to express themselves without fear of being marginalized. As a society, how we treat religious minorities is directly related to how we treat people with no religion at all.

The meetings for the SSA take place in the Union at 4 p.m. on Tuesdays and students, religious and non-religious, are welcome to come and participate in discussions.