Waterloo, Ontario’s Wilfrid Laurier University denies recognition to campus freethought group
After 9 months of doddling and deliberation, WLU has denied the Laurier Freethought Alliance’s (LFA) application for official campus group recognition.
The LFA’s mission is “to promote science, freedom of inquiry, skepticism, and a good life without the need for supersition or religious belief”.
The LFA was declined for the following reasons, as described by a school representative (bolding of important text by Hemant Mehta, The Friendly Atheist):
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. If you wish to adjust and rethink your club’s application and vision, you may resubmit a revised proposal at any time.
This is absurd. I’m sorry, I didn’t know that we weren’t allowed promote fulfilling nonreligous life styles. I didn’t know that we weren’t allowed to group religion and supersition together (even though there is no evidence to the contrary). I didn’t know that such a categorization was not allowed. This is all interesting. heh. This is all very interesting. Because… For a second there. For a quick moment. I thought WE WERE IN CANADA!
WLU wants to talk about tolerance? How about tolerance for a group that wants to provide a community for people that cannot justify believing in tall tales for which the evidence is severely lacking? And how about applying the same scrutiny to religious groups. Have you read the Old Testament! When it comes to intolerance, the OT leads by example.
Vice President of the LFA, Anatoly Venovcev, and the President of the organization (Tyler Handley, I believe), have replied to the university asking for a meeting to discuss their application. They also pointed out how by in turning down LFA, it is the university that is being intolerant.
To show your support for Anatoly et al, leave a comment on Anatoly’s blog post on this unfortunate issue. And if you have a blog or website, help spread the word by posting on these events.