Free Speech Letters, 10/11/11

GBV: ‘Til death
I never had a chance to see GBV live, but I have most of their albums and have been listening to GBV almost exclusively since I first learned about them in 2000. Pollard is a genius, pure and simple, and the musicians he works with are the best. I have already told my family which GBV songs should be played at my funeral, two for the church and one for the gravesite, as the boys send me on to the hereafter.
Daniel Bazan
[RE: “A day in the life of Mitch Mitchell” by Benjamin Dale, 10/4/11]

Real vs. imaginary?
Antioch University [Midwest] is NOT the real Antioch. Antioch College is the real deal; it was begun in the mid-1800s by the famous educator Horace Mann. The College achieved great recognition but was disbanded by a Johnny-come-late Antioch University [Midwest], a group of community college-like institutions that give masters degrees and have benefited from using Antioch College’s name since [the] 1970s. They have not been willing to give the name back to the college. Why would they since they tried to put it out of business? But that’s no account now; instead congratulations are due Antioch College for it will continue. It would be a great gift if the “university,” which isn’t the real Antioch, would give [Antioch] College its name back.
Jo Procter
[RE: “I’m Antioch. Yes, I’m the real Antioch” by Caroline Shannon-Karasik and Tim Walker, 10/4/11]

Registration for information
Mr. Wagner,
I want to personally express my happiness for you that your time at UD led you to convert from atheism to faith. If you are happier as a Catholic and a Lay Marianist than you ever were as an atheist, then it is by all means, the best choice for you. The same cannot be said, however, about everyone else who comes to UD as an atheist or as a believer with doubts.
Our story was picked up by the Friendly Atheist blog and a UD alum had this to say:
“As a 1971 graduate of UD, I also experienced that feeling of isolation. At the time, UD was promoting itself as the local liberal college that locals could attend without fear of indoctrination. You could substitute philosophy classes for the required religion classes (if you were not Catholic)! Overall, the attitude of the administration was that diversity and differences of opinion were OK in an academic environment – that the church was confident enough that it could stand a few dissenting voices – like Martin Luther.
But I watched from afar as that seemed to change over the years. It was not without note that increasingly their being a “Marianist Institution” was raised by their publications.
My feeling of connectedness to UD is very minimal and this is certainly driving it the wrong direction.”
A more recent graduate had this to say:
“I graduated from the University of Dayton in 1990. This is where and when I officially became an atheist, and I sure did feel like I was alone in my views. I would have really appreciated a group like this when I attended.”
I think that these comments show that many people would clearly benefit from a group such as this, and we want to be there as a supportive community. Again, the university is not preventing us from speaking about atheism or free thought on campus.  For example, if I want to talk with Nick about atheism in Liberty Hall, that would be just dandy. But here lies the problem with the lack of university recognition; if you happen to be an atheist that feels alone on this campus, but you are outside my network or Nick’s network, then you will not have the slightest idea that there exists a group of like-minded people on this campus who are having meetings. This is clearly a disservice to those students, and it’s a disservice to those trying to show that there can be camaraderie between faithful and secular. Our goal was never (and will never) be that of confrontation, but one of cooperation. There is no good to be had in further polarizing such a touchy subject.
Branden King
Founder, Dayton Society of Freethinkers (SOFT)
University of Dayton
[RE: Debate Forum Right: “Thoughts on the Society of Freethinkers from a former atheist” by A.J. Wagner, 9/27/11]

I am an Amy Alkon lover and I don’t care who knows it!
Dear Amy,
I am writing to say “thanks” and to express my appreciation for the many times I’ve enjoyed your column. Your article is the first thing I look for every week in the Dayton City Paper! Your advice is extremely good and very educational. I’ve learned a lot about how I should have handled past problems and how to handle current ones. It’s obvious that you are a very intelligent and well-read woman. Your sense of humor is a riot and makes “learning” fun and something to look forward to. I do have your book and it is on my “read” pile. I am a divorced 53-year-old burned-out civilian aerospace engineer working for the Air Force. However, I’m not yet to the point of Michael Douglas in Falling Down. I do envy people who enjoy their jobs and have fun with it like you do.
I think you would be a fascinating person to meet at a book signing or something. Thanks again for a job well done and keep up the good work!
Len Timko
Dayton, Ohio

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