CLICK HERE FOR INFORMATION ABOUT THE APRIL 25, 2013 PROTEST IN SUPPORT OF THE BANGLADESH BLOGGERS
Facebook Event for the Protest: Click here
Skeptical about gods? Join the club — literally!
The primary purpose of this website is to host our daily blog, which starts below this post. We also meet in person on the Mizzou campus every week — see our Events Page here.
There are hundreds of religious official student organizations at Mizzou. SASHA is the only expressly secular student organization at the University of Missouri – Columbia. For Tigers who are Skeptical, Atheist, Secular Humanist, and/or Agnostic, welcome to SASHA, your home on the web for secular news, discussion, local events, original articles & videos, and lots more.
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Today is May 2, the year 2013 of our lor… ahem - it’s just 2013.
You may be wondering to yourself why does this banner say “National Day of Reason” instead of “Prayer.” Well, the explanation is simple. It is because today is the National Day of Prayer. Make sense yet? To clarify I’ll provide some historical background.
The National Day of prayer was officially congressionally mandated in 1952 to be observed on the first Thursday of May. This federally supported religious day of prayer flies in a secular government. On this day religious peoples might be found gathering in churches, mosques, synagogues, temples, or outside of courthouses speaking telepathically to their particularly favorite, or most favorable, imaginary superhero. Unfortunately this isn’t a joke, and is considered a rather serious and solemn occurrence.
Even George Washington, the first president of the US thought so when he addressed the public.
“The Honorable the Congress having recommended it to the United States to set apart Thursday the 6th of May next to be observed as a day of fasting, humiliation and prayer, to acknowledge the gracious interpositions of Providence; to deprecate [to pray or entreat that a present evil may be removed] deserved punishment for our Sins and Ingratitude to unitedly implore the Protection of Heaven; Success to our Arms and the Arms of our Ally: The Commander in Chief enjoins a religious observance of said day and directs the Chaplains to prepare discourses proper for the occasion; strictly forbidding all recreations and unnecessary labor.”
So what does reason even mean and why should we have a national day of reason? So glad you asked, self.
Reason is the capability of consciously making sense of things, applying logic, for establishing and verifying facts, and changing practices institutions, and beliefs based on new or existing information. The very concept of reasoning challenges the core of traditional practices like prayer, and religion.
So why have a day dedicated to it to reason?
“With the religious right’s influence in Congress, and with the threat to our Judiciary looming large, there has never been as important a moment in which to affirm our commitment to the Constitutional separation of religion and government, and to celebrate Reason as the guiding principle of our secular democracy.
During the past year we have witnessed the intrusion of religious ideology into all spheres of our government, with such assaults on the wall separating church and state as:
- Faith-based initiatives in federal agencies that give preferential treatment to religious organizations which proselytize and employ discriminatory hiring practices;
- Restrictions on important scientific research on the basis of religious objections;
- Attempts to introduce biblical creationism and its alter-ego “Intelligent Design” into our public school science curricula;
- The appointment of judges who willingly place their religious beliefs above our laws;
- Battles over the display of the Ten Commandments and other overtly religious icons in schools and on courthouses;
- Religiously motivated restrictions on access to reproductive services and information;”
Now you’ve been armed with the knowledge of what organized un-reasonableness can achieve. Venture out into the world and find out what organized reason can accomplish, won’t you?
I’d like to leave readers with one of my favorite quotes highlighting the importance of the employment of reason, and the scrutiful eye.
- “The unexamined life is not worth living.” Socrates (469 BC – 399 BC)
Hello there MU SASHA blog readers! This is my first blog post and it will be a direct quote of my recent persuasive speech given in speakers circle in support of dissident Bangladeshi bloggers.
“What is dissent?
Dissent is the disagreement through the criticisms of prevailing ideas, politics, government, or social movements. Dissent is the counter analysis of existent systems, laws and Ideas. But….
Is the freedom of dissent important?
If we are not allowed the freedom to voice our objections we are forced to, as a society, accept the belief systems in place. We are forced to abide to complacency of inequality and the illegalization of our very thoughts.
When the freedom of dissent is illegal; when thoughts are no longer considered within the free market of ideas; when criticisms of any social, cultural, or political rhetoric are deemed untouchable; when we are punished for simply questioning, not challenging, but questioning authority; we have lost our ability to attempt to foster a better society.
Dissent can foster a better society by allowing the development, and implementation of complex ideas. When Martin Luther King Jr. set foot behind a podium, he did so with the intent to change the world as he and countless others saw fit to do. Dr. King criticized the social systems and laws in place that accepted and facilitated racial inequalities. What would the United States look like if iconic figures like Dr. King were not allowed to voice their concerns without knowledge of imminent, government-facilitated retribution?
Opponents of concepts of free speech in Bangladesh have been beheading, beating, maiming, and jailing those who are dissident. Some of the dissidents bloggers have criticized leaders for crimes committed during the 1971 liberation of Bangladesh from Pakistan. During that liberation leaders have been found guilty of, and not limited to, 344 counts of murder, rape, and torture. Surely these leaders deserve to be tried for their crimes and surely no citizen of any country deserves to be killed or imprisoned for calling for the justice of murderers, torturers, and rapists.
We, MU SASHA and Columbia Atheists, are the defenders of dissidence. Our weapons are our minds. Our ammunition is our words. Today we stand in solidarity and fight on behalf of the Bangladeshi bloggers. Today we stand against human rights violations of the government of Bangladesh.”