And Now, a Public Service Announcement
The SSA is being attacked.
For those of you who don’t know, The Secular Student Alliance is an educational non-profit that seeks to: “foster successful grassroots campus groups which provide a welcoming community for secular students…”. They do a lot of advocacy for Atheist/Agnostic students, especially with regards to freedom of speech, the right to peacefully assemble, etc.
My own experiences with the SSA includes interactions between themselves and my campus chapter of CFI, individual members I’ve met, such as JT Eberhard, and independent research of their organization. In my experience, they’ve proven to be a very straightforward and respectful collection of people. But despite their stated goals of promoting respect and equality, and despite their repeated statements that they have no interest in “converting” students, there are many people who feel threatened by them. Sadly, there have been numerous incidents where the organization as a whole, as well as individual members, have received threats, including threats of violence.
Most recently, the SSA’s website has been the target of denial-of-service attacks. Essentially, these attacks have done no permanent damage to the site or the organization, but they have made it necessary for them to incur an expense, cyber defense, that could otherwise go towards helping students.
Adam Lee, of bigthink.com, makes an excellent suggestion in his blog: “We don’t know exactly who’s trying to take down the SSA’s website, just as we raised money for the vandalized churches without knowing exactly who the guilty party was, but it’s safe to assume it’s someone who disagrees with their goals and aims. Are there any churches or Christian groups who’d be willing to prove they don’t condone this behavior by raising money to pay for the SSA’s hosting costs? Do they agree with us that the way to respond to speech you disagree with is with peaceful counterspeech, not criminal attempts to silence the speaker?”
Well, I agree. Most decidedly. Even if Hemant Mehta had not raised money to help the vandalized churches, what’s being done to the SSA is wrong. I’ll restate here my belief that if anyone is being mistreated, we do have a responsibility to help them. Not as Christians, but as human beings. Our priority should not be to defend our reputation, or even the Church’s, but simply to defend those being harmed. This has nothing to do with religion, but it has everything to do with freedom of speech and equality.