The Reed Secular Alliance is a group of students at Reed College in Portland, Oregon, who share the commonality that we are all either nontheists ourselves or committed to preserving the secular nature of the U.S. government. Everyone is welcome to join, regardless of religious affiliation. The only requirement is that participants be respectful of everyone’s views.
What We Believe
RSA members are usually atheists and agnostics, who either doubt god’s existence, posit that there are no god(s), or remain neutral as to the presence of a supreme being. Everyone is welcome to meetings, and historically, not all of our members have been atheists. Although we are open to all views, virtually everyone who comes to meetings believes in Church-State separation.
The Reed Secular Alliance was formed as the Reed College Freethinkers in the fall of 2005 by Leslie Zukor. Although Zukor understood that Reed College was a decidedly non-theistic campus, she was nevertheless concerned about the increasingly faith-based climate of the United States. In a world where people fight wars in defense of non-tangible beings, there needed to be a group at Reed that would promote secularism as a life-affirming alternative to religious dogmatism. In the fall of 2006, the Reed Freethinkers became the Reed Secular Alliance, as there were some concerns that the name “Freethinkers” implies that non-members were non-thinkers. Such was absolutely not what the RSA intended, so the club voted to change the name.
At Reed College, the only formally recognized position is that of Signator, or the person financially responsible for debts incurred by the club. However, Reed Signators are Presidents and Vice Presidents in practice, so those named Signators fulfill traditional roles, just as at other universities. Thus current Signator, Elad Gilo, is effectively club President.
The Reed Secular Alliance puts on a number of lectures. Past speakers have included David Detmer, to speak in defense of the reality-based community, Daniel Dennett, to discuss religion as a natural phenomenon, and Chris Mooney, to talk about the GOP’s war on science. The Reed Secular Alliance has also hosted Austin Dacey of the Center For Inquiry, David Halperin of Campus Progress, and a number of other provocative speakers.