What is the Secular Alliance at IU?
The Secular Alliance at IU is a group of students, faculty, staff, and other members of the Bloomington community who share a secular outlook or worldview. This may include atheists, agnostics, freethinkers, humanists, skeptics and those with other self-described secular world views. We strive to understand the world through science and reason. We are a safe haven for nonbelievers, doubters, and believers to come together in mutual understanding and discussion. We are here to support those who aren’t religious, and to educate those who are about what it means to be nonreligious. If you share our secular outlook, would like to learn more about us and what we do, or simply would like to join us for discussion, please see our events page and join us for our next activity.
How do I join?
Most of our members tend to be secular students at IU, but anyone from IU Bloomington is welcome to join, be they faculty, staff, or student, young or old, secular or religious. You are a member just by attending events. If for any reason you can’t or would prefer not to attend our meetings, but still want to be involved, you’re welcome to post in the facebook discussion group, the facebook page and twitter.
Russell’s Tea Parties: Held in honor of Bertrand Russell’s “teapot” thought experiment, these are the group’s weekly discussion meetings, where we talk about anything from events in the news to secular ethics to the Bible to alternative medicine. These are always posted on the events page.
Sunday Fundays: Once a month we have a Sunday Funday, which is the perfect time to join us if you prefer not to participate in the discussions! We drink tea, eat treats and baked goods, and play various board and non-board games in lieu of our normal Sunday discussion format.
Movie Nights: A time to relax and watch a movie, documentary or video lecture, usually one related to science, reason, atheism or religion. These are always posted on the events page.
Atheist Happy Hour: The first Friday of every month, we meet with atheists from the greater Bloomington community at Players Pub, an all-ages restaurant and bar. This is a friendly environment, and you’re welcome to drop by between 5:30 and 7:30ish. We’re always at a big table in the back room.
Service: We choose a charity to volunteer with for a semester at a time. We usually work with them weekly or bi-weekly. We also have a large one time service event each semester. In the past, these organizations have included Pages to Prisoners, Hoosier Hills Food Bank, and Mother Hubbard’s Cupboard. In April 2011 we spent an afternoon cleaning up the lower Cascades Trail for the City of Bloomington. Check the events page to see our upcoming service events.
Fundraising: In the 2011/2012 school year we raised $650 for Doctors Without Borders through our Send an Atheist to Church event and our Flying Spaghetti Monster Feast, as well as from donations made by members throughout the year. We intend to be even more successful with more fundraising events in the 2012/2013 school year!
Speakers: We often bring speakers to the IU campus for public lectures and debates. We have hosted Richard Dawkins,author of “The Selfish Gene” and “The God Delusion”, as well as other speakers including John Loftus (author of “Why I Became a Chrisitan”), Eddie Tabash (constitutional lawyer and member of Center for Inquiry), and Annie Laurie Gaylor (Co-President of Freedom From Religion Foundation).
Activism and Advocacy: Our group is dedicated to being active in the community and cultivating a positive public image of secularism. Our group feels the need to have more of a public presence. We have been involved with the Indiana Atheist Bus Campaign, a group which has put ads saying “You can be good without God” on buses in Bloomington and other places around Indiana.
In 2012 we had a “Stand for Science, Confront Homeopathy!” demonstration on campus. We also have a community center which has a library of 200+ books for you to check out. Go here for more information about our community center.
Field Trips: We occasionally take group field trips to places that pique our interest. We’ve twice visited the Creation Museum, a “museum” advocating creationism and intelligent design, and in 2009 we made a video of our adventure. We’ve been to the Stone Age Institute, and were given a private tour of this center for the study of early human technology. Our most recent trip was a day at the Exotic Feline Rescue Center in Center Point, IN, a haven for hundreds of big cats like lions and tigers that have been rescued from non-licensed owners and circuses.
We are always looking for more ways to serve our members, so if you have ideas for events you think would be interesting or fun, talk to an officer at one of our meetings or contact us and let us know!
A t-shirt design is posted here. T-shirts can be ordered by asking at a meeting or emailing us with your size. The price is $5, benefits the group and helps pay for activities, food, and other group-related items that help with our goals of strengthening IU’s secular community, educating the public about secularism, providing service to Bloomington and IU, and supporting the values of separation of church and state. If any of our causes interest you, you’re welcome to contact us about making donations which can be made anonymously. Other shirts that are currently available in limited sizes are “You Can Be Good Without God” shirts ($5) and Flying Spaghetti Monster shirts ($5).