Editor’s note: During the week leading up to International Blasphemy Rights Day on September 30, leaders and members of CFI On Campus affiliate groups are responding to the question, “Why is free expression important to you?” This post is part of that series.
The freedom of expression fosters a community in which one’s ideas can be open to consideration by many other people—people who can support or rebut you, thus helping to improve reasoning and avoid becoming latent in one’s thoughts. In a community where one’s voice can be heard by many others, the rapid spreading of ideas is allowed. This system supports constant fact-checking along with a route for the uprising of ingenious ideas. With the freedom of expression, any person can put their thoughts forward, whether or not they align with the majority thought of their time.
Editor's note: During the week leading up to International Blasphemy Rights Day on September 30, leaders and members of CFI On Campus affiliate groups will be responding to the question, "Why is free expression important to you?" This post is the first of the series.
Why is Freedom of Expression Important?This seems like a no brainer question, right? Freedom of speech is important for democracy! It's necessary for a free society! I like freedom of speech because I can say whatever I want!
Last Tuesday, Secular Coalition for America held their Knit A Brick march in Washington, DC to protest the Supreme Court’s decision in Burwell v. Hobby Lobby Stores. Ever since hearing Sarah Levin, Outreach Coordinator for SCA, speak about the Knit A Brick campaign at the CFI Leadership Conference months ago, I thought it was a fantastic idea; they would have individuals knit and mail in “bricks” (really just rectangles), and at the end of the drive, SCA would knit the collected bricks into one “wall of separation between church and state," then bring that wall to the Supreme Court building. I was fully in support of the cause – I even sponsored a brick – but I had no idea that I would find myself traveling 400 miles to participate in person.
My name is Margaret Nervig and I currently serve as the Alumni Coordinator for the UNI Freethinkers & Inquirers (UNIFI). Yes, you read that correctly. After seven years as a student organization at the University of Northern Iowa, we have finally amassed enough alumni that we had to create a specific position to monitor the program. Until this year, the Alumni Program was really just the longtime project/dream of UNIFI alum Trevor Boeckmann. Taking inspiration from (much) bigger groups with (much) bigger alumni programs, Trevor wanted to create a way for current UNIFI members to connect with alumni--and vice versa.
I started investigating atheist campus groups for the first time in college, in an attempt to find people who were like minded to myself. While I have been aware of the fact that I'm an atheist since childhood, it was not until I started attending university and being swarmed by campus ministries that I ever really felt a need to talk or even think about atheism. For most of my life, my lack of belief in God was something I was quiet about unless asked. The atheist campus group I encountered was called the American University Rationalists and Atheists (AURA), and we engaged in weekly discussion on religious and secular topics.