“Viewing things without a religious lens”
By MANDI STEFFEY
It’s likely that most students have seen religious-affiliated groups and clubs on campus passing out prayer, religious texts and the like to passersby in Weikamp and sometimes other locations throughout IU South Bend. These groups have existed on campus for years, and a different group of students and faculty hope to bring an alliance to campus that stands for the opposite purpose of these religious groups: the IUSB Secular Student Alliance.
“We want to create a space where the institution of religion can be discussed openly and without bias,” said club president Katie Price.
Since the club has only been officially recognized by the Office of Student Life for a week or so, meetings and official club business have not been established. However, the club has generated some interest and over 40 “likes” with its advent of a Facebook page.
Price said the club is open to all—believers and nonbelievers alike who favor the separation of church and state are welcome to join.
Alec Radecki, vice president of the IUSB Secular Student Alliance, said that membership and meetings, for now at least, are casual.
“We haven’t had a meeting yet,” said Radecki. “When our meetings start, we will hold discussion of religion and related topics. We also plan to do some activism on and off campus.”
“We’ve gotten some response from people that don’t go to IUSB, like professors at Notre Dame and other schools in the area and high school students,” Radecki said.
Though the core of the group is students, like Radecki said, there is a faculty presence within the group. IUSB women’s studies professor April Lidinsky is the group’s advisor.
In addition to holding club-type activities, the IUSB Secular Student Alliance is, at its base, an alliance.
“Religion is often used as a weapon to harm others,” said Price. “This will be a support group for those who are not religious.”
Both Price and Radecki, having grown up in Christian homes but not subscribing to the faith, have strong feelings about religion and the lack thereof.
“It’s important to view things without a religious lens,” said Price.
Although the alliance has had a small amount of negative feedback, Price and Radecki both agree that the need for a group like this on campus is overdue.
“You don’t need religion to be a good person. You can be charitable to others—not because you’re worried about punishment or reward in the next life, but to make this life better,” said Price.
To become involved with the IUSB Secular Student Alliance or for more information, contact Price or Radecki through their Facebook page at www.facebook.com/iusbsecularstudentalliance.