Monica Harmsen, also known by her Internet handle LittleKropotkin, is a student at the university of Michigan. She is majoring in Russian, but her biggest passion is the secular movement, which she became involved in through the atheist community on YouTube. She is the current president of the Michigan Secular Student Alliance and often writes about atheism and her experiences in the movement on her blog The Humble Empiricist.
The #Stand4Life hashtag was trending this morning on Twitter. Being in a good mood today, I decided to stir the pot a little by adding this to the feed:
Sam Harris's Twitter feed is an interesting place. Here is a recent tweet of his that stuck out in my mind:
As we followed the winding and mountainous Pennsylvania backroads on the way home from Women in Secularism, Sarah and I discovered a mutual love for Regina Spektor. Regina Spektor is a Russian-American singer-songwriter who arose out of the anti-folk music scene in New York in the early 2000s. She often combines rather sparse but melodic instrumentation with abstract lyrics that lend themselves to a variety of interpretations. Sarah and I talked specifically about Spektor's album "Far", the songs on which frequently incorporate religious themes and references. Though I enjoyed the "Far" album when I was a religious believer, Spektor's lyrics took an a new, perhaps even more powerful meaning for me when I became an atheist.
Monica Harmsen shares her experience at the first Women in Secularism conference, explaining how it helped inspire her to be a successful leader and "to become the kind of activist who would help create a better world for the secular women to come." You can help more students attend Women in Secularism 2 by donating to our student travel grant fund.
I attended the first Women in Secularism conference in the summer between my sophomore and junior years of college. The Secular Spring was in full swing. I was brimming with passion spurred by March's Reason Rally and I had just been elected president of my university's CFI On Campus affiliate group. Though I was certain that I wanted to become more involved in the Secular Movement, there was a poignant fear lingering in the back of my mind, nagging at me. I wondered whether or not I had the power, the charisma or the authority to ever become an influential secular leader.
A little over a week ago, the Secular Student Alliance at the University of Michigan–Ann Arbor sponsored our first big event of the year: a debate between Eddie Tabash and Frank Turek! I was very busy running around taking still photos and video, so I absorbed very little of the actual debate. Judging from the feedback I received, mostly from friends and SSA members, people seemed to think that both Eddie and Frank had distinct strengths and weaknesses. The consensus seemed to be that Eddie offered better content, but Frank was more accessible and charismatic. Even so, our SSA members seemed happy with the outcome of the debate. I did not get to speak at length with attendees from New Life Church, but I assume, judging from the occasional rounds of applause the Frank received throughout the debate from his followers, that they were also pleased.