Van Buren Secular Student Alliance first in Arkansas, met with some hostility

Oct 28, 2014

By Ryan Saylor

They have only hosted one meeting, but a new student organization at Van Buren High School is already making waves after more than 60 students attended the first meeting of the Secular Student Alliance (SSA) – the only such alliance among Arkansas’ public high schools.

Senior Aaron Centeno helped found the new student group and said its members were not attempting to evangelize secular beliefs, but rather trying to raise awareness of belief systems outside of the widely-held Christian faith prevalent not only in Arkansas, but across much of the United States.

“We’re trying to gear (the) focus toward religious awareness and to kind of get people to know different religions so they get out of the mindset that their religion is the only one available to them.”

According to a Pew Research study, 78.4% of Americans identify as Christian, while 4.7% affiliate with other religions such as Jewish (1.7%), Buddhist (0.7%), or Muslim (0.6%). About 16% of Americans identify as “unaffiliated,” with 1.6% of Americans calling themselves atheists while 2.4% are agnostic (both fall under the unaffiliated group for statistical purposes).

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3 comments on “Van Buren Secular Student Alliance first in Arkansas, met with some hostility

  • @OP link – Horne said, “As expected, there was a lot of hostility. … It’s looked at as the atheist club, the anti-God sort of satanist group. But if they would actually read the posters that they tore down, they would see that isn’t the case.”

    Ah! Those faith-reinterpretation-blinkers, which can insert preconceptions into any text!
    Some preacher told them twaddle about nasty atheists, agnostics, and “unbelievers”, so it must be troooo!

    An individual close to the group who asked to not be named due to the controversy surrounding the organization said each of the posters the students posted on two different occasions were torn down prior to the first meeting this month.

    Tearing down posters to avoid people discovering the meeting – a sign of the threat discussions pose to the closed mind!

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  • you can’t fight the mindset so go with it. design “peel-off” posters that reveal an alternative message (e.g. “Satan thanks you”) underneath.

    it’s not enlightened i know, but would be fun

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  • Their mission statement sounds wishy-washy. Raising awareness of other religious choices is not my brand of secularism. Raising awareness of religious fucktardery is more to my liking.

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