"Blasphemy" in Kansas

Foundation staff member Dan Barker, a former evangelical minister who is now an atheist, spoke at Kansas State University-Manhattan, about "Losing Faith in Faith" on April 9. The event was the kickoff for "Freethought Week" organized by Individuals for Freethought (IF), a KSU campus student group.

The large auditorium was standing-room-only, packed with believers and unbelievers who were mainly polite and attentive. The only rudeness came from a local Baptist minister who stood up and interrupted the meeting, yelling "Blasphemy!" along with a loud rant about "judgment day." Otherwise, the talk was well received by students and covered favorably by the campus newspaper. A Political Issues instructor gave extra credit points to students who attended and wrote a paper on the speech.

Dan also performed a freethought concert at the Manhattan Unitarian Fellowship on Sunday, April 8, and did a campus radio interview the following morning, during which the student host played Dan's freethought blues, "You Can't Win with Original Sin."

Individuals for Freethought gave Dan one of their new orange T-shirts, sporting a bright yellow smiley face with the words:

"Smile. There is no hell!"

Thanks to Amy Walker, Leslie Veesart, Keiv Spare and Paul Youk for transportation, and to Marolyn Caldwell, Steve Mull, Amy & Marc Walker for hospitality.

 

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