Ron at The Frame Problem informed me of a University’s refusal to recognize an atheist group. The vice-president of the club, blogging in Cosmopolitan, has the actual response to the atheists’ application, from the Campus Clubs department:
While the Campus Clubs department understands the goals and visions of your organization, they are not compatible with the guidelines of what may be approved and incorporated into our department. While the promotion of reason, science and freedom of inquiry are perfectly legitimate goals, what is most in question in regards to your club’s vision is the promotion of “a fulfilling life without religion and superstition“. While this university is indeed technically a secular institution, secular does not denote taking an active stance in opposition to the principles and status of religious beliefs and practices. To be clear, this is not meant to say that the promotion of science and reason are illegitimate goals. But due to the need to respect and tolerate the views of others, the Campus Clubs department is unable to approve a club of this nature at this time.
I’m afraid they don’t understand the meaning of the word “tolerate”. To “tolerate” the views of others doesn’t mean you can’t criticize them, it just means you don’t prevent those views from being heard. Only by actually trying to prevent views from being heard – for example, by refusing to approve a club whose views you may disagree with – are you being intolerant. I guess they also need to look up the word “irony”.
Once again, despite the nice sounding wording (that it took them nine months to craft), what we have here is the usual intolerant attitude of the religious, whose only response to people who don’t accept their delusions – is to ban them. And yes I know, this group hasn’t been “banned”, strictly speaking. They can still exist (I presume); they just don’t get the freebies the religious groups get. But make no mistake, they would ban this group if they could. And this group isn’t even an in your face atheists’ group. Their name is the Laurier Freethought Alliance.
The Freethought group recently responded in an extremely conciliatory way, in an attempt to get the decision reversed, and it’ll be interesting to see what happens. But why should they have to kowtow in this way? Can you imagine a Christian group (in the West) having to explain itself in such apologetic and conciliatory terms to get approved? If you can, I’d like to hear about it.