There are several different religious organizations at Texas A&M University-Kingsville (TAMUK), but one student has recently decided to make a group for those who aren’t so religious.
Jason Chapa, a graduate student at TAMUK, has established a chapter of the Student Secular Alliance (SSA) on campus.
The group was approved on March 4.
“The purpose of the SSA is to create a welcoming environment and community for students who may be atheists, agnostics, humanists, skeptics, freethinkers and the like,” Chapa said. “We aim to promote the ideas of free speech critical thinking, reason, secularism and scientific inquiry.”
Though South Texas is a conservatively religious area, Chapa said he did not think twice about creating the group.
“South Texas, and Kingsville in particular, is a very religious area,” he said. “We understand and respect that. We are just providing an alternative to that.”
Another goal Chapa has for the SSA is to promote social acceptance of students who are non-theistic. Though he said he has never felt discriminated against for his beliefs, he knows a few people who have.
“I’ve been very fortunate that most people have understood and respected my beliefs, but over the years, I’ve met people who have had their cars keyed and windows broken,” he said.
“We just want to provide an organization where like-minded people can share ideas and activities without the fear of being treated differently for not believing in a higher power.”
Chapa said his group looks to create conversation, not conflict.
“We aren’t out to attack anyone’s religion, but we are open to friendly discussions and are always willing to answer questions anyone may have,” he said. “We want people to know that we’re here, we’re your friends, your classmates, maybe even your roommates, and we’re good people too.”
More information on this organization can be found at www.ssatamuk.org.