Wednesday, October 6, 2010

In defense of SHIFT ...

In The Daily Northwestern today, a wonderful column was printed, written by a senior named Mike Carson. It's called SHIFTing the Blame, and I encourage everyone to take a look at it:

A noteworthy excerpt:

It's starting those discussions that takes courage. It forces the ones who start them-people like those in SHIFT-to stand up to accusations that they're rabble-rousers, atheistic zealots, mean-spirited attention seekers. We get to dismiss them as closed-minded when we don't agree with them, and let them take the heat when we do.

The level of outrage has less do with SHIFT's behavior than our own anxieties over freedom, security, diversity and identity. Find the pictures of the Rock on Facebook, or read the online comments in the wake of the chalking affair-you'll see anonymous insults and hateful polemics from every side of the ideological spectrum. SHIFT doesn't have to do much to draw out that ugliness. They draw a stick figure, or hand us a Sharpie. We provide the controversy.

Feel free to post comments and join the discussion!

Cassy Byrne
President of SHIFT
(Secular Humanists for Inquiry & FreeThought)
Northwestern University

SHIFT's ...

Saturday, October 2, 2010

International Blasphemy Rights Day 2010

SEPTEMBER 30th, 2010

In celebration of International Blasphemy Rights Day 2010, SHIFT decided to transform the university's rock into a platform for free speech — for all.

This day was originally established to commemorate the controversial, Danish cartoons depicting Muhammad that were published on September 30th, 2005. Instead of restricting our celebration to blasphemy alone, however, we thought we'd give the entire community a chance to publicly express themselves as freely as we expressed ourselves last spring when we chalked stick figures of Muhammad around campus.

The results were gratifying, indeed!

There was, still, a fair amount of blaspheming/religious criticism ...

... but there was a nice mélange of opposing viewpoints (thankfully, because this would have been pretty pointless otherwise):

... but my favorite thing to see was evidence of different people's interactions/exchanges via this medium (almost like a real-life, public forum):

... some things that people wrote were even reminiscent of PostSecret, which was pretty cool to see:

... some contributions were heart-warming:

... some were heart-breaking:

... and yes, there were quite a number of penises drawn:

... but vaginas were also represented, so that's pretty neat:

... some people left insightful aphorisms:

... and some people really enjoyed just having the outlet:

... and of course, religious blasphemy wasn't the only form of blasphemy that we saw, heh heh:

... and then, we had a resident artist from SHIFT, Matt Kwiek the Gifted, who made some amazing illustrations:

So in conclusion, the event went really well!
People seemed to really enjoy themselves:

HERE you can read the article that The Daily Northwestern wrote about it.

And if you want to find more about/get involved with SHIFT, please visit our Facebook page.
To find out about upcoming events, visit our Events Calendar.

And here are some more noteworthy pictures, just for fun:

... and my personal favorite:

Keep an eye on this blog for more SHIFTy updates!

"Don't even worry about it",
Cassy Byrne
President of SHIFT
(Secular Humanists for Inquiry & FreeThought)
Northwestern University