Monday, September 21, 2009

Non-theists in student newspaper

Our Pastafarian Preaching got us into not one, but two articles in the Exponent today! The first one focused on just us, and was the better of the two articles:
Non-theist group demonstrates against religion

By Bridget Johnston

Staff Reporter

Publication Date: 09/21/2009

A band of swashbuckling pirates occupied campus on Friday, but not to loot and pillage.

The Society of Non-Theists at Purdue University gathered to voice their opinions on religion. Members chose to dress as pirates to satirize religious teachings that certain followers are better than everyone else by sarcastically saying that pirates are the chosen people.

“Our main message is that everyone should be able to criticize religion just like every other idea,” said Jennifer McCreight, a senior in the College of Science and president of the Society of Non-Theists, “especially if it is silly or hateful.”

The group for atheist, agnostic and non-religious students carried signs and read verses from the Gospel of the Flying Spaghetti Monster, which is a parody of religion itself. The book challenges religious teachings and contradictions the Non-theists find absurd.

Although the responses to the demonstration were generally positive, some students felt that it was disruptive.

“I think that they definitely have a right to encourage students to think about these things,” said Quinn Frey, a freshman in the College of Liberal Arts. “Although, they were kind of in the way, making passing through the area a little inconvenient.”

The Society of Non-Theists has been trying to humanize the bad reputation that non-religious people sometimes have. Along with a day dedicated to “debunking atheist stereotypes,” the group is planning on working on a service project on the National Secular Service Day on Oct. 18.

McCreight believes that overall, the student responses to the pirate demonstration were positive.

“Although we have previously had some people get angry, the vast majority of responses to our actions are positive.”

The second one focuses on Brother Jed, and they didn't misquote me...they just completely made it up!

The Society of Non-Theists at Purdue University were at Memorial Mall by coincidence to talk about Pirate Day.

“When we found out he was here we made signs to refute his arguments,” Jennifer McCreight, president of the society and senior in the College of Science. “I don’t think it’s disrespectful that we’re here because it’s rude that he’s here.”

What the hell? I never said anything even resembling that. I got to talk to the reporter for about five seconds, and all she asked me about was how non-theists felt on Purdue's campus. I talked about our flyers being torn down, prayer at graduation, being in the minority...yet somehow they quoted me as saying that?

Maybe one of our members said that, but I most certainly did not...especially because it's false. We did not make signs to refute his arguments. We had the signs left over from last year. We didn't even know he was coming until after we planned our event. And the second line doesn't even make sense! Gah!

Of course, by now I've pretty much lost all faith in the media actually reporting things correctly...bah humbug. At least the first article was really nice.


  1. That first article is indeed, excellent. The second one reminds me very much of why I never took anything in the Exponent all that seriously.

    Now I wonder how long it is until a letter war erupts over your demonstration.

  2. Write a damn reply about the second one, if it's false. Record should = straight.

    Best of luck with all this, the first article was quite good indeed. None of the tolerance bullshit that would have attacked students at my old college.

  3. I actually looked up the first article after seeing your tweet earlier this morning and couldn't figure out which quote was incorrect. Now it all makes sense.
    ...and that's insane! As a former college reporter, I'm ashamed (especially that they couldn't make up a better quote than that!).

  4. Misquotation is entirely too common with "The Exponent" -- and even if they get your quote correctly you have to worry about it being in proper context.

  5. Veritas said what I was going to say, McCreight.

    I newspaper talk for the lulz, I love how they just refer to you by your last name.

  6. Better than referring to you by your last

  7. The only factor now is what will be posted in the Opinion pages about the event?

  8. If you are damaged by a lie, that's libel.

    You'd have a hell of a time proving that you were damaged and the group was hurt, but they had better issue a correction if they know what's good for them.

  9. Libel libel libel libel!
    Think about all the blog material you'd generate through pursuing legal action! ;)