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Let me open my first SSA post with this quote from a book that everyone should read. It is Meditations for the Humanist: Ethics for a Secular Age, by A.C. Grayling. I find myself often rereading the book and revisiting his notes on speciesism (pages 83-5). Anyway, on to the quote:

“There is a parallel between our excuses for maltreating apes and those for maltreating fellow humans. We locate a difference that we find threatening, or that we despise; we thereby make the other fully Other, so that we can fully close the door of the moral community against him, leaving him outside where our actions cannot be judged by the same standards as apply within. Racism and speciesism are thus the same thing – they are myths about who belongs and who is alien.”

This idea is, in fact, what caused me to really question my religion for the first time. At a young age, maybe twelve, I asked my family’s Catholic priest what happens to animals when they die. I had heard plenty about heaven and hell, but only in the context of rewarding or punishing humans. I thought of my tabby cat and wondered what would happen to her after she died. The priest responded without hesitation: “Animals go to hell because they have no souls. Only humans who are faithful to God can go to heaven.” He assured me that it was alright, because they’re only animals.

Why would God decide not to give animals souls or the mental capacity to understand scripture, then punish them for not having it? I was afraid to pursue the answer to this question at the time. In high school, a friend of mine came out to me as gay, and the parallels began to show between speciesism and discrimination of all kinds. It had taken me sixteen years to figure out that justifying discrimination had been an integral part of my religious indoctrination. The cause of a lot of historic tragedies, such as the Crusades and the Holocaust, suddenly became more clear.

How would the world be different if we treated others with mutual respect, regardless of how remarkably different they are from us? Without a deity to justify discrimination, I find it natural to consider myself equal in worth to other animals and humans.

If anyone has time, this paper called Religion, Speciesism, and the Past and Future of Ethics Toward Animals is an interesting read.

I’m curious about everyone’s thoughts on this subject. Because I’m constantly thinking about or interacting with animals at work or home, I feel like my intense focus on this issue may be too narrow.

— Christina Thoele


Unjustified Pessimism and Accusations

So there has been a quote attributed to Ben Stein makings its way around the internet in various forms. The quote claims that the “world’s going to hell” and that this is related to secularism or Christian’s getting “pushed around.” As about.com explains Mr. Stein did say some of these things, but much of the quote is added. I think the “quote” (see what I did there) is however indicative of how many people feel. The amount it has been spread through email and on Facebook in various forms would certainly seem to indicate that this is the case. I would like to counter this notion that the world is so terrible and “going to hell” and the belief many people seem to have that the bad things that do happen are somehow related to secularism or a lack of Christianity. To be clear I will be referencing the top article from here. I shall start with this whole “going to hell” business.

I would just like to start by saying that I have an app on my iphone that has a database of all the exoplanets discovered so far and notifies me whenever a new one is confirmed. There are so many awesome things about that sentence. Let’s start with the exoplanet bit. We have discovered planets orbiting other stars! According to my app as off 1-12-2013 there are 855 confirmed exoplanets, and we are discovering more all the time. We are finally getting some real data on that question likely as old as humans (and possibly older) are we alone? Someday soon we may even be able to get some evidence of whether there is life on some of these planets! The rate of new planet discoveries is truly amazing. Just earlier today my app let me know that five new planets had been discovered.

Now let’s turn to the device and how it receives its information. There are millions of people around the planet with near constant near instant access to a powerful computer and a mind boggling huge (not to mention rapidly growing) body of information a.k.a. a smart phone connected to the internet. I think this is bound to have all manner of uses, and we are really just getting started in discovering what is possible. Computers, phones, and internet connections are becoming faster and more powerful every year.

It’s not all about the science and technology either. You may have heard of the so called rise of China and other developing countries. China’s economy has grown by an average of 10% over the last thirty years! To put it another way China’s GPD per capita (adjusted for inflation as it always should be) is more than 39 times what is was in 1970. I think the rapid economic growth of China and other developing countries over the last few decades represents one of the largest and most rapid improvements in human well being in history. Millions of people around the world are becoming engineers, entrepreneurs, scientists etc. instead of engaging in subsistence farming. I would hardly call that “going to hell.”

I think I have covered well enough why I think the world is not “going to hell” and is in fact awesome and getting better. I would now like to address this particular part of the article

“Billy Graham’s daughter was interviewed on the Early Show and Jane Clayson asked her ‘How could God let something like this happen?’ (regarding Hurricane Katrina).. Anne Graham gave an extremely profound and insightful response. She said, ‘I believe God is deeply saddened by this, just as we are, but for years we’ve been telling God to get out of our schools, to get out of our government and to get out of our lives. And being the gentleman He is, I believe He has calmly backed out. How can we expect God to give us His blessing and His protection if we demand He leave us alone?’”

 According to about.com this was actually in reference to the 9/11 attacks. As far as I can tell the way that it was incorrectly portrayed seems to imply that Mrs. Graham is saying that Hurricane Katrina is a direct result of secularist actions. I find this not only ridiculous, but incredibly insulting. The logical conclusion of what she says would seem to be that secularists are responsible for the death and destruction caused by Hurricane Katrina. Does this mean that secularists or atheists should feel responsible and guilty for the deaths caused by the 9/11 attacks or Hurricane Katrina? That would seem to be the logical conclusion. Is the implication that God will not protect counties that have too many atheists or don’t have enough discussion of religion in every public setting? God seems to have treated the Chinese quite well in spite of the Communist Party’s explicit atheism. To be clear this is not intended to be an attack on Ben Stein or Mrs. Grahm. It would be easy to find a poorly constructed argument someone made on the internet and to make them look ridiculous. That is not what I am trying to do. I am addressing this article because I think it resonates with many people, and it gives me something specific to counter rather than some vague idea such as a loss of “values” or “spirituality.”

Perhaps I am too optimistic about the future. It is entirely possible global economic growth will slow, natural disasters will get worse due to climate change, or some unpredictable event will truly make the future worse, however I think much of the pessimism is unjustified and based on vague notions that have little or no basis in reality. These ideas that bad events and trends are somehow related to secularism, atheists, or too few mentions of the almighty in the public sphere are particularly frustrating. I wish those that held these views would explain what exactly they mean. Perhaps in doing so they would realized that it doesn’t really make much sense, or maybe some good point would be revealed that we could actually discuss (you can probably guess which I think is more likely). I think that as long as we continue to invest in science, technology, our fellow human beings, and promoting secularism that collective Minnesotan, American and global human well being will continue to improve, and maybe people will realize a more secular world isn’t so bad after all. It’s gonna be the future soon, and I can’t wait.

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Why by Paul Larson **Bonus post 3


I am an atheist; a practicing atheist.  “There is no God” is not a truth statement for me, it is a working hypothesis.  It has been my goal for the last nine years to falsify this hypothesis.  After nine years of reading whatever I can get my hands on from both sides of the argument; talking with hundreds of people about their personal beliefs; attending Bible studies to gain the church perspective; and discussing the topic with several pastors, as well as educated Jewish and Islamic individuals, I have yet to find any evidence that compels me to reject, refine, or rewrite my hypothesis.

For the 25 years prior to my goal, I would call myself an apa-theist, apathetic to the subject of religion as a worldview.  Then two world events occurred that were responsible for my transformation from apathetic to zealot: the 2003 fall of Baghdad, and the 2004 Red Socks win of the World Series; two world events that resulted in riots, destruction, and pillaging.  If 90% of the people on this planet believe in some type of god, then why did I not see it in their actions?  This is what compelled me to find out why the Bible has had so much influence over so many people for so many years.  I was determined to read the Bible cover to cover.  I did.  I still had no idea why that book has had so much influence over so many people for so many years.  It was obvious to me they had never actually read the book.  Prior to reading it, I considered it a book of etiquette: instructions for how people should treat one another.  After reading it, there is no way that book should be used as a source of morality for humanity.

I read it looking for the “God” that was supposed to be out there, revealed through His word (the book makes no sense this way).  But instead I found a book that appeared to be written by groups of people at different times throughout history to explain and understand the world around them.  The second time I read it cover to cover I did so with a better understanding of the history behind the book, as well as paying close attention to who said what to whom, and the connections throughout the book – Old testament to New and New to Old.  It made perfect sense that time through.  My third reading was done in a Bible study at a church.  My goal was to gain an understanding of the church perspective.  That was interesting and disheartening at the same time.  The greatest bit of information came from the Bible study; the understanding of one word in the book of Genesis unlocked the entire book for me.  My fourth focused read through was to collect information for a book I hope to compile someday.

My goal now, as a practicing atheist, is to understand “why;” why do people believe what they believe.  It turns out it has very little to do with whatever Holy Scripture they profess to believe in, and more to do with what makes them feel good.

I am an atheist, a practicing atheist.  I am also a son, a brother, a husband, and a father.  I am a friend, a neighbor, and a firefighter of 20 years (because it is the right thing to do).  Being an atheist simply means I do not believe in a God, or gods…that’s it.  It does not mean I am an amoral individual that can now destroy, rape, and pillage any and every one and thing that come my way.  Knowing my life and future depends on me and my choices, places the responsibility exactly where it belongs…on MY shoulders.  I developed my moral code from the example shown me by my parents and my life experiences.  I give my life purpose.  I believe in humanity’s ability to direct its own future away from destruction and suffering.  Empathy and education will be the forces that drive this movement.  Let’s all make a choice.  We are all where we are today because of the choices we all made yesterday.  Let’s all make better choices today so we can all end up in a better place, together, tomorrow.

Live a good life.

Over the next day, please consider donating money, sharing our blog or using the hashtag  #SSAWeek. For more info please visit http://www.secularstudents.org/ssaweek or to donate here. Thanks for your support, and see you soon!



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Humanism by Mike **Bonus 2


I have spent quite some time advocating rights for people who claim that my very existence represses them. For years I have listened to the feminists and men’s rights activists rightly accuse each other of being short sighted, the Christians, Jews, Muslims, and atheists fighting for their place (or lack thereof) in the legal system, African-Americans and Latinos complaining about imbalances of scholarships they feel they’re owed, and have heard race and poverty issues confused countless times. It would appear we all want to help, but gaps are not being bridged by people picking and choosing which injustices are more worth fighting for.

Individual movements are incredibly easy on an individual level, but they can be beyond frustrating for legitimate humanists. Now, don’t get me wrong: I acknowledge that complex issues do require specialized study, and I have absolutely zero issues with people who have dedicated themselves to solving problems that require additional attention. My concerns address the people who provide unequal advocacy to different people under the guise of ‘tolerance’ and put up barriers against those who don’t identify with their cause. Everyone’s rights are everyone’s responsibility. Humanism (by its very nature) is the absence of these ridiculous titles which advertise the idea that some rights are more worth fighting for.

We need to accept that a non-homogenous society will always have imbalance. We will never have perfectly distributed rights, we will never be free of social stigmas, and there will always be advantaged and disadvantaged groups. It is best to think of society as a massive and varying scale with many arms. Having different numbers of people stack weights on their specific arm (in nearly blind response to others) will not be an effective way of staying close to balance. Humanism is the attention to all arms, to all people, and will ultimately be the best way for society to cohesively function.

Over the next day, please consider donating money, sharing our blog or using the hashtag  #SSAWeek. For more info please visit http://www.secularstudents.org/ssaweek or to donate here. Thanks for your support, and see you soon!

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My First Date with The SSA


In the beginning, there was them and us, well, so I thought. They, the Secular Student Alliance (SSA) and us the Believers but now I have learned that we are all human. I was on my way for some serious prayer that probably consisted of “Please Lord, I need that ‘A’” or “Father, I need a new roommate, this one you sent just isn’t working out.” I was with other students from my university when I noticed a booth that reads “Secular Student Alliance” and noticed other brochures on the booth that read “Atheist.”  I couldn’t believe that the school had given them permission to reserve the booth, well; they are Atheist, why do they have that right, it’s scary! I quickly texted my Christian friend to come over so she can meet the unbelievers, the godless people, the Atheists, the Ones that don’t love Him and so we can question them together. We walked up to the booth to ask if they were really Atheist and a man greeted us with a smile, answered my question, “yes.” I was shocked, AN ATHEIST! I chatted for a short time, and then I told him that I had to go and pray for prayer request from my bible study group. Then his Atheist friends caught me before I left and said “Can you pray to God to get me a brand new red car?” That prayer request made me furious, I thought no, I will not ask God to give you a new car, you don’t believe in Him….what was he thinking? (The Atheist guy that asked me to pray for a new car is now my boyfriend).

When I showed up late to the prayer room I told my Pastor about the booth and the Atheists, he suggested we pray for the Atheists first, then for the prayer requests. After we were done praying I thought this prayer was wrong, if someone wants God, they have to open their heart to Him then we can pray for them. That was the last time I prayed for a non-believer, a godless, a Atheist, the Ones that don’t love Him. After that day, I found myself discussing with the SSA about God almost every day, especially with an active member. He was always questioning everything, asking me why I believe this verse when this verse contradicts it….well, I answered it the best way I could.

I was a born again Christian, a strong Believer, I was the Real Christian with one weakness, I did not believe in hell. Along with that weakness other questions lingered in my mind, why did God seem so violent, why is there so much violence in the bible? I then found myself asking the active member, why would God do this? How can he be so violent? I couldn’t ask my Christian friends, they were already worried that I was spending too much time with the Atheists.  As time passed, I questioned God and it seemed as He stopped communicating with me, or maybe I didn’t believe in Him anymore. Then again, I became angry with Him because He ignored me, and because he was violent, and a liar, and a cheater, and a deceiver, I’m not talking about Satan, I’m talking about God.

After a few meetings with the SSA, I understood their point of view; I began to questions for myself. Now, I know where I stand, I know who He really is, the main character from a book called The Holy Bible. I began to attend the meetings of the SSA without worrying that God is watching me. I then became friends with the members of the SSA and decided to add the SSA as my Facebook friend, and this all stemmed from the first day at the SSA booth.

So, over the next day, please consider donating money, or at least sharing our blog and hashtag  #SSAWeek. For more info please visit http://www.secularstudents.org/ssaweek or to donate Visit here. Thanks for your support, and see you soon!
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Myra Guillen

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I saw this on my Facebook feed:




With the title “Karma is a b****”.  


Now, Im all for teh lols But the issue I have with karma is that it is so widely held as true in our culture. Just to make myself clear, there is no evidence, no proposed mechanism, no science, no statistics, or anything more than a cool idea and some anecdotal evidence to support the concept of Karma. For some reason, people think that karma is an actual thing, and the it is based in natural laws. ITS NOT. Its a comforting thought, but outside of Reddit, Karma is the same religious dogma as any other belief not founded in the real world. 


Now, you might ask, what is the harm in believe in karma? its just a cool idea that what comes around goes around, right? 


Well, honestly, NO!. Karma has been used for generations to make the devastating poverty and economic inequality present in india as acceptable. IT SHOULDN’T BE. Yet because people believe that the bad things that happen to you, such as starving to death, are because of bad things that you have done. That is idiotic. IT makes me incredibly angry that people are just sated with the incredible poverty located in india, because of such an idiotic,yet cool sounding, idea. 


I knew shouldn’t have taken that apple 3 lives ago.



That being said, my own objection to the concept of karma is a bit more selfish. I hold the same beliefs as Lois from Malcolm in the Middle


Hal: Wait a minute, Lois. Where are good people rewarded and bad people punished?
Lois: Right here on Earth, if I have anything to say about it.


I cannot count the number of times I have seen someone been cheated, slighted, or even treated rudely, and they didn’t do anything, because “Karma will catch up to them”. Guess what, IT WON’T!

Bad people can go through life and not be corrected, because no-one is correcting them. You cannot simply count on the universe to balance itself out, because it won’t. You have to be the one to fix something. If someone cheats, call them out on it. If someone isn’t being fair, call them out on it. If you don’t, they will keep doing it. 


Just like any other religious dogma, it is never put to the test. Greta Christina wrote: 


even the most stubborn political ideology will eventually crumble in the face of it, you know, not working. People can only be told for so long that under Communism everyone will eat strawberries and cream, or that in an unrestricted free market the rising tide will lift all boats. A political ideology makes promises about this life, this world. If the strawberries and cream and rising boats aren’t forthcoming, eventually people notice. (The 2008 election was evidence of that.) People can excuse and rationalize a political ideology for a long time… but ultimately, the proof is in the pudding.
Religion is different.
With religion, the proof is emphatically not in the pudding.


….There is no pudding, no proof — and no expectation that there should be any. And there is therefore no reality check, no self-correction, when religion starts to go to the bad place.




And that is the issue. WIth karma, there is no reality check at all. People simply trust that things will work out. Im here to tell you, they will not. YOU have to be the one to fix it. YOU need to work to make things better. It has to be YOU!


Speaking of things you can do to make things better, have I introduced you to #SSAWeek?


So, over the next day, please consider donating money, or at least sharing our blog and hashtag  #SSAWeekFor more info please visit http://www.secularstudents.org/ssaweek or to donate Visit here. Thanks for your support, and see you soon!





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Me, Ben SweaterVest Blanchard.

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On Homeopathy



So, one of my members posted this to our group wall…. 

“Of course homeopathy works. That’s why we buried Bin Laden at sea… to cure terrorism.” -Reddit user ‘ImNotJesus’

He rocks. That being said, I have very few more words on homeopathy. Besides the fact that it has been consistently proven ineffective, as well as completely inconsistent with modern science, I have just one thing to say to homeopaths. I am going to state this clearly and simply, and feel free to comment as you wish. 













For clairifaction, please visit http://www.1023.org.uk/ or even http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Homeopathy



Now that I have gotten that clear, lets all enjoy a bit of Tim Minchin!



This is my favorite work by Tim Minchin



So, over the next day, please consider donating money, or at least sharing our blog and hashtag  #SSAWeekFor more info please visit http://www.secularstudents.org/ssaweek or to donate Visit here. Thanks for your support, and see you soon!





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Rant on Science vs. Prayer



So, as you most certainly know, I am a scientist. I LOVE science….. If I could marry science, I would. As a result of this adoration/lust for science, when people start dismissing it, I am so enraged, I have a fit of anger that just turns me into a creditable hulk.


True story!


So when someone belittles science and our modern world by saying how science requires faith, or about how it hasn’t gotten us anywhere, I crack a little on the inside…. The ability of people to completely dismiss what has given them almost everything good in their life in incredible. 


I usually spill of this little rant.


Look around, for just a moment. In you are inside, almost everything you can see was brought to you by science. The carpet on the floor. The paint on the walls. The building itself was designed using scientific knowledge in the form of architecture. Not to mention every piece of cement, metal, PLASTIC. All of these things did not happen because someone prayed. These things did not just magically appear. These wondrous things happen because of science, hard-work, and the HUGE sum of knowledge that we have accumulated since the beginning of mankind. These Modern miracles, like Cellphones, Power-lines, Chemotherapy, Wikipedia, microwave dinners, hot tubs, and even the Laptops/desktop/tablet that you are reading this from, happened because we were not sated with religious dogma. We wanted to make the world a better place, and so we did. We do more in a single day of research than thousands of years of prayer have ever done. 

And that usually shuts them up. Whether or not they listen and take any of that to heart is beyond my knowledge, but I can always hope. 




The most aggravating thing is when people are thankful of some advances, and completely against others…. 


The lack of continuity that some people have is simply amazing…. Speaking of lack of continuity, donate to #SSAWeek



So, over the next day, please consider donating money, or at least sharing our blog and hashtag  #SSAWeekFor more info please visit http://www.secularstudents.org/ssaweek or to donate Visit here. Thanks for your support, and see you soon!





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On Miracles


Every once and a while, a friend of mine will post a link to a sweet story about how god saved someone, or about how a prayer saved a life… Really just about a Miracle something similar to this http://www.godvine.com/Mother-s-Inspiring-Video-About-her-Blind-Baby-Boy-1484.html



Now, don’t get me wrong, it is a emotional story. Her son was born with a birth defect, and will have a more difficult life because of that. And the mother loves her son, despite the difficulties he has, which is a sweet story, and she does seem to show real compassion. Don’t get me wrong, that is a good story…. Except for one thing….


She never talked about the hours that god spent in surgery to help him. She never talked about how god helped council her through this difficult time. She never even talked about how god footed the medical bill.





Why would that be?


Oh, that’s right! Its because God didn’t do any of that…. Doctors spent all that time in surgery, other medical professionals assisted with the other problems, and all of us, as taxpayers and insurance payers helped to foot the medical bill….. So what exactly did god do?


Well, from how I recon it, the best that god could have done is not exist. That is because the alternative is that god actively caused him to have these problems…. As a result, the most help god could have been is if he simply didn’t exist… But is that what she thought? NO


She gave her imaginary friend all the thanks for helping her child. And the people that actually helped, that spend their lives helping those in this type of this situation, get no thanks. Don’t worry though, He is a miracle. A miracle of modern medicine!



Ill just pop this here…



Speaking of things that are simple, Have you heard of how much your donation during #SSAWeek could help?


So, over the next day, please consider donating money, or at least sharing our blog and hashtag  #SSAWeekFor more info please visit http://www.secularstudents.org/ssaweek or to donate Visit here. Thanks for your support, and see you soon!





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Me, Ben SweaterVest Blanchard.

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On College Republicans


Earlier this year, my university Saint Cloud State, was host to the…. Interesting…. Bradlee Dean. Now, for those of you who are lucky enough to have never had to hear of this man, Bradlee Dean is the founder and executive director of the ministry, YOU CAN RUN BUT YOU CANNOT HIDE INTERNATIONAL.  Bradlee Dean is best known for evangelizing in public schools. That is right…. in public, tax funded schools, this man would openly preach about god, the bible, and focuses on “ADD and ADHD as diabolical fictions and emphasizes the importance of setting and adhering to rules and holding children accountable for their mistakes.” Additionally, the students are split into groups, where the young girls are given a “Virtue Class” and reminded to not become “leftovers” for their future husband. All of this in PUBLIC schools…

This was the most appropriate Face-Palm I could find

Now, since he has gained some notoriety, he has not been able to continue this violation on church and state, and instead he has spread hate on other mediums. Including these pleasantries that Rachael Maddow called him out on

In case you didn’t want to watch, although I would certainty recommend it if you want a laugh, he talks about how there should be more bloodshed of the gays, and about how each gay “molests 117 people”

on average, before they are found out…. He literally said that on his radio show, The Sons Of Liberty…. This means that either

  • A) Several of my friends are behind on their quota OR
  • B)  He is a hateful idiot

Now, by hateful, I don’t mean by my own standards, I mean that he has had his videos taken down by Google, because of hate speech….


A fact that he brags about on his site

A little more recently, he gave a “non-denominational” prayer, where he started off fine, then crashed and burned when he started talking about Jesus… This performance lead several republicans to “personally denounce” him. That along with his views on homosexuality that other republicans stated was similar to that of Nazi Germany. Now, the wonderful College Republican at Saint Cloud State invited him to come and speak. A man who’s entire notoriety is due to being a hate-monger…

     That being said, when the event came closer, the national republicans warned them to not host this speaker, and that they would supply a different speaker. When the current president, who had only been president a few weeks, declined, the party insisted. They made it clear that they will have trouble finding Republican jobs in the future. Still, the SCSU college republicans held strong, to disastrous complications…

“Sometimes young people need to have better judgement in who they invite to things under the Republican banner. If you are going to do dumb things, and not take the advice of the state college Republicans and the state chairman of the Republican party, it might have some  consequences…..When you’ve been given good advice from the top of the food chain, sometimes, you’ve just got to listen,” – Pat Shortridge (Party Chair of the MNGOP)

Additionally, the chairman of the Minnesota College Republicans threatened to disassociate the group from the statewide organization if the speaker performed with the groups blessing.

Now, I understand where the group is coming from, they don’t want to be bullied by anyone, even their own higher-ups. And I understand that the current president likely did not plan this event, and is in a very difficult position. That being said, it should be a simple matter. The event should be canceled…. And this is because of one simple fact. We are students. This is a student group, and you rely heavily on the national group’s support. I know that if one of my groups had their backing pulled, it would be devastating…

Sadly, the group did, in fact, host the event. In a last minute protest, thrown together on Facebook, there were over 100 students in a peaceful protest on the lawn outside of the event. The event itself only drew in about 50 people, and it seemed from the open mic section immediately after his performance, that the majority of them were only there to voice their disapproval. As a whole, the event was a blunder. The only real effect of the event was the protest, which caused dozens of people to feel support and love. From my own instinct, it was actually beneficial, as the group opposing mine is now significantly worse off.

That being said, I know that as a whole, this event has had irrevocable damage to Saint Cloud State. That is because, the College Republicans kept their word, and have actually removed Saint Cloud from the list of chapters.

Now, I know that I was a bit skeptical when I looked this up, thinking that perhaps they were never on the list…. so I asked the internet, and was given the archive page, where guess what, as of the last saved archive page,


Saint Cloud State is listed…. So, based on all the evidence, the Minnesota College Republicans no longer exist at Saint Cloud State, and as a result, there will be a lot less of necessary debate. Without this debate, people will no longer be fighting as strongly, and this makes me sad. Because now, apparently, my own beliefs have won at SCSU, but have won because there is no opposition. And this makes me terribly sad, because as much as I love winning, I don’t like winning by default.

Just so you know, I still love science!  (you may have to click this image to see it)

Speaking of things I love….. Have I introduced you to SSAWEEK?

So, over the next day, please consider donating money, or at least sharing our blog and hashtag  #SSAWeek. For more info please visit http://www.secularstudents.org/ssaweek or to donate Visit here. Thanks for your support, and see you soon!
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Me, Ben SweaterVest Blanchard.
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Atheist Music

So, as many of you may know, or at least after reading a few blog post you may now know, I don’t sleep nearly as much as a normal human does. I can survive for weeks on end with 4 hours a night. and I have done this, for weeks on end. Now, I am not happy about getting such little sleep, but I still perform at peak performance.
They took away my axe after my last extreme sleepless week…
Besides caffeine and the insatiable need to get things done, the greatest tool I have to keep awake in these difficult times is music. Now, for those who don’t use music as a stimulant, you need a nice strong rhythm and beat to keep you moving. Also, if it inspires a strong rebellious/courage/righteous feeling, its all the better. That is why I was super excited to hear one of Fun.’s new songs One Foot 

This is an awesome song, especially if you need to keep a driving beat. It is also kinda a militant atheist song.

I happen to stumble upon a chapel last night.And I can’t help but back up when I think of what happens inside.I got friends looked in boxes. And no way to live.But you call it a sin. Isn’t up to them.After all, after all I thought we were all your children,But I will die for my own sins thanks a lot.We’ll rise up ourselves thanks for nothing at all,so up off the ground up for fathers who are nothing but dust now.

Now, this is certainly not the first atheist song, nor the best, that being said, I have been blogging for many hours, and this song is playing, so I’m going to be talking about it. {By the Way, donate to SSAWEEK }
This brings me to an odd place though. Should there be atheist music. A gut reaction of mine says, why? for those who never took a middle school music class, there are 2 categories in music, sacred and secular. Sacred music being music directly about god, and secular music not being about god. So most music in today’s society is secular…. Isn’t that enough? Do we need music about atheism?
Also, do we need Justin Bieber? NO!
So, After much thought and introspection, I have realized that we really do. Besides the fact the becoming an atheist can be a very meaningful experience,  being an atheist in a very theistic community, like many American atheists, can be a very difficult thing. You can be ostracized, harassed, and even assaulted. And that kind of experience is one of the truest experiences that you can ever have. And it leads to some really awesome music…..
For instance, Shelley Segal‘s An Atheist Album is really awesome music, that wonderfully express some of the experiences that an atheist goes through today. http://shelleysegal.bandcamp.com/
I highly recommend her music, and I really love it. (especially Saved (Acoustic)) Speaking of things I recommend, did you know it’s #SSAWeek?
So, over the next day, please consider donating money, or at least sharing our blog and hashtag  #SSAWeek. For more info please visit http://www.secularstudents.org/ssaweek or to donate Visit here. Thanks for your support, and see you soon!
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Me, Ben SweaterVest Blanchard.
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On Awesome People



So, you may ask me “Ben did you put hot chocolate powder in your wide awake coffee co coffee?”. If you asked me this, I would respond, “AHHHH HOW CAN YOU SEE ME? Where are the cameras?”

I would then explain that even though I am a bit of a coffee snob, I still enjoy a fake/cheapo mocha everyone and a while, because I am only human. 


Now, the same is true for some really awesome people. Everyone has flaws. Even really, really awesome people…. Even people who have done heroic things and who we should all respect. We are all human, and we all have flaws, and we all make mistakes. 




My mistakes often are corrected due to spell-check, though not always…..


So, when we are confronted by a “hero’s” or someone-else-who-we-look-up-to’s mistakes and humanity, it can be a very difficult, aggravating, even confusing experience. And it can be difficult to move past such an experience, even though we have to. Now, just to give you a little background (and because its my blog, so you can’t stop me), I’ll give you a scenario that I had to go through. 


Several months ago, on a drive back from a secular event, I found out that one of my friends/ another secular student leader, was kinda heterosexist. Now, this was not a “those dirty f@gs” moment or a “marriage is for man/woman couples only” moment. It was a lot more of a “poor made joke implying gays are all sluts” moment. And I was kind of offended, both that he would think that, and that a leader in my community would think that. And it was a very sobering moment. Because we are all human. And we all have less than savory traits. 


Why Not MySpace?


Mine may be an addiction to Futurama 


Now, I am in no way saying behavior like this is acceptable, because its not. But what I am saying is that we need to be understanding. In this case, the person in question had grown up in a small community, with very little experience with the queer community. Additionally, it was not intended as an insult, but rather as a cheap joke. That being said, I spent the next several hours correcting the individual, explaining in great detail how the comment was offensive, and why such things shouldn’t be said. 


Now, I am aware of similar behaviors and traits of other high profile secularists, and it can sometimes be difficult, but we as a community need to acknowledge that there are no saints. That no-one is above reproach, and that when someone fuc%s up, we need to call them on it. Several amazing people have been excellent at calling out bull$hit behaviors by men toward women, such as the exemplary Rebecca Watson, but doing so must be difficult. I hope that when/if I am ever put in that situation, I will have the strength of will and conviction to call out such terrible behavior. 


Wow, another serious entry…. I better ruin a childhood memory. 



I Love You, You Love Me... RIGHT?


There we go!



So, over the next day, please consider donating money, or at least sharing our blog and hashtag  #SSAWeekFor more info please visit http://www.secularstudents.org/ssaweek or to donate Visit here. Thanks for your support, and see you soon!





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Me, Ben SweaterVest Blanchard.







So, I have always been an overachiever. Currently I am on executive board of 3 organizations, President of 2, and I work full time. So I am going to reveal how I am able to get everything done. But, Because Im me, Im going to reveal my secrets in graph form…. 

First, I have how I would get things done in an ideal world


Boy, How I long for this world….


Now, the sad truth of how I get things done…. P.S. Don’t tell my cardiologist.



Sadly, there is only a limited amount of caffeine a person can engust before it has no more effect. We call that limit Ben at 4:00 PM…. It is not always pretty… Sometimes there are no survivors…


Now, on a more serious note,  I do use quite a bit of caffeine. That being said, I don’t really do anything else that is really that bad for me, so I am dealing with my one addiction. Though, in case anyone cares, my favorite source of caffeine is:



Legitimately,  my favorite coffee in the world. If I had any cool talent that would allow me a corporate sponsor, it would be wide awake coffee co. If I found out that the grounds have 2% orphan, I’m pretty sure I wouldn’t drink less. On of the pieces of evidence that there is no god is that no christian group has ever given me this coffee as a gift. God himself would keep this coffee in his pantry. 

Additionally, I love having an epic theme to keep me going. Im really jiving on Two Steps From Hell, but anything that sounds like the hero/heroine is running/sword fighting will do it for me. 

Though most of all, the thing that keeps me going when I’m out of coffee, or when I don’t have headphones, is the hard work of others. The hard work of all of the SSA staff, especially JT, Lyz, and Sarah, is what inspires me. The awesomeness incarnate that we refer to as Debbie Goddard from CFI is what makes me realize I can always be dong more. And the love and support of my very own Sarah Maddox is what makes me realize that what I do matters. 


Thank you all….


Wow, that got a little soppy near the end…. 

To give you perspective into my life, this is my desktop background 

Download this wallpaper, Because it is awesome!!!




So, over the next day, please consider donating money, or at least sharing our blog and hashtag  #SSAWeekFor more info please visit http://www.secularstudents.org/ssaweek or to donate Visit here. Thanks for your support, and see you soon!





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Me, Ben SweaterVest Blanchard.


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So, over the next day, please consider donating money, or at least sharing our blog and hashtag  #SSAWeek. For more info please visit http://www.secularstudents.org/ssaweek or to donate Visit here. Thanks for your support, and see you soon!


This is post 12/24 by SSA@SCSU for the SSA blogathon in support of the Secular Student Alliance! Go donate to them!

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-Grant Norman
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Cthulhu and Doctor Who Why they are better than Jesus.


Cthulhu and The Doctor are honestly my favorite fictional characters and I’m going to explain why I think they are better than Jesus. For those of you who don’t know much about Cthulhu or Doctor Who I will give a little background info for you. First Cthulhu made his first appearance in H.P. Lovecraft’s short story “Call of Cthulhu” and has been referenced in many other Lovecraft stories including the Dunwich Horror, the Mountains of Madness, and Shadow over insmouth. Now Cthulhu is an ancient monster with dragon wings a somewhat human body and a tentacle octopus head. He came from beyond the stars before the arrival of man he currently is sleeping in the sunken city of Riley waiting for the stars to align to wake him from his slumber and to devour us all.
The Doctor is a thousand year old time lord from the planet Gallifrey, who with his Blue Box called the T.A.R.D.I.S (Time And Relative Dimensions In Space) flies around all of time and space saving humans from such threats as the Daleks and cybermen and the mighty Suhtek.
Now the reasons why Cthulhu is better than Jesus first of all Cthulhu is more plausible than a historical Jesus. Cthulhu is not some wizard he is an alien from somewhere beyond the stars who came to earth millions of years ago. Where the Jesus character is the supposed son of a god who impregnated a virgin and gave birth to himself or something like that the canon of the Jesus character is a little contradictory. Which is another point there is only one version of the Cthulhu mythos compared to the Jesus myth, the Jesus myth contradicts itself on some key points, first the whole virgin birth it’s not in every telling of the story. Another reason I think Cthulhu is better than Jesus is in how each of them communicate to their followers. How does Jesus do it he has a two thousand year book which is itself confused on the details of the story, he also touches the soul of the individual follower but this is a completely personal thing and can’t be proven  if it really happens. As for Cthulhu he too has a book the Necronomicon written by the mad Arab Abdul Alhazared. Cthulhu also communicates with his followers by giving them nightmares but not individually he does on a mass scale and he does not do it to just anybody he gives these night mare to artist which compels them to make an image of Cthulhu so there are people all over the world all at once make images of Cthulhu at once. Has this Jesus character done anything like that? Cthulhu is also better than Jesus because Cthulhu does not care what you do or who you believe in he does not preach that if you worship him he will help you or do things for you. Worshiping Cthulhu only ensures that when he awakens he will eat you first so you don’t have to witness the horrors of his reign. Jesus sends you to a horrible place called hell if you don’t believe in him; there is no afterlife in the Cthulhu mythos. So why is Cthulhu better than Jesus first he is not magic just an alien, he communicates to his followers better and more practically, and finally he doesn’t care if you don’t follow him here is no punishment just reward in its own way.
The Doctor is better than Jesus and I am going to give the reasons why. First the doctor has spent more time on earth than Jesus. Jesus has said to have been killed at the age of thirty three where as the Doctor is over a thousand years old. The Doctor first appeared on earth around the age of one hundred and has been around ever since. Second The Doctor has more lives than Jesus. Jesus is said to have died the resurrected then left earth where the doctor has regenerated ten times and has a few more in him. Third The Doctor has done more for the world. Jesus just gave his life to save humanity from something they were not responsible for (Adam and Eve eating the apple). Where The Doctor has first stopped the Dalek invasion of 2150, he stopped the Cybermen from invading earth as well, he freed the earth from the clutches of the silence in 1969, ensured that  the alien Scaroth’s ship exploded setting of a chain reaction which started life on earth. Stopped Suhtek from destroying earth, and ended an entire war between the Dalek and Time lords. Clearly The Doctor is a better than Jesus.
Jesus cannot compare to other characters like The Doctor or Cthulhu because of the contradictions of his own story and his clear lack of effectiveness communicating to his followers. Do to Jesus limited time on the planet and his lack of action in protecting the world so that is why I think that The Doctor and Cthulhu are better characters than Jesus.

So, over the next day, please consider donating money, or at least sharing our blog and hashtag  #SSAWeek. For more info please visit http://www.secularstudents.org/ssaweek or to donate Visit here. Thanks for your support, and see you soon!

This is post 11/24 by SSA@SCSU for the SSA blogathon in support of the Secular Student Alliance! Go donate to them!

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-Grant Norman
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