Uganda needs a great many more non-believers – and here’s a damned good reason why

TODAY, while preparing the November issue of the Freethinker for publication, I paged a feature article by one of our most treasured contributors, Dale Debakcy, who wrote an excellent piece entitled Giving without God , which sets out to quash the myth that non-believers have no interest in charitable work.

In need of an illustration for this piece, I found the  delightful photograph below of young African pupils who attend Uganda’s only religion-free school, the Kasese Humanist Primary School, run by Bwambale Robert. This in turn led me to My Secret Atheist Blog, run by a Catholic-fundamentalist-turned-atheist who calls himself “Godless Poutine”.

Kasese

This Canadian blogger is campaigning to raise money for the expansion of the school, which has already attracted enough donations to buy land for future development.

But not everyone is happy about the project.

Here is one comment “Godless Poutine” received:

Please get out of my country. We do not need your atheism. We do not need you to come and bring your Western ideas. We are now independent from Westerners we do not need you meddling anymore, leave us in peace with our God. If you do not believe than woe to you. My people are Christian and religious and they aren’t complaining. Please, leave us alone.

The blogger responded:

I guess she never read that the school was actually started by a Ugandan and is being run entirely by Ugandans! By a Ugandan Humanist organization actually. Oh, and last time I checked, Christianity was most definitely an outside import religion to Uganda.

Bwabale Robert, Director of the Kasese Humanist Primary School

Bwabale Robert, Director of the Kasese Humanist Primary School

Co-incidentally, the National Federation of Atheist, Humanist and Secularist Student Societies (AHS) has announced the launch its 4th annual Non-Prophet Week (NPW), starting on October 28.

Lauded by Lord Harrison in the House of Lords as “an example of atheist and humanist public service”, NPW 2013 is being staged at multiple locations across the United Kingdom and the Republic of Ireland to continue its annual tradition of irreligious fundraising for charity.

The Non-Prophet week has become an annual fixture in non-religious students’ calendars, and this year the NPW’s focus will again be on emphasising the point that you don’t have to believe in a god to be good. By co-ordinating affiliated student societies, and building on successful fundraising campaigns in previous years to donate to Survivors Voice and Children In Need charities, the AHS has earmarked NPW 2013 as an excellent platform to help raise money for the Against Malaria Foundation.

This will be done by giving affiliated student societies a chance to be part of a nationally coordinated charity drive aimed at raising money via local student body-run sponsored events such as bake sales, runs, swims, Cadbury Crème Egg eat-athons and, of course, personal donations.

Said Rory Fenton, President of the AHS:

We’re extremely proud of the thousands of pounds our members have raised in past years to support vital organisations both here and abroad. Too often the myth that religious people are more charitable than the non-religious goes unchallenged. This is our chance to show students being good without god.

The AHS is an umbrella organisation of non-religious student societies. It provides a network for societies to collaborate, with a shared voice in public life, helping its members to contribute to and be part of the wider national and international movement.

Contact Information:

The AHS,  Moreland Street, London EC1V 8BB

Email: president@ahsstudents.org.uk

Twitter: #NonProphetWeek

Follow @AHSstudents for further details