Thursday, April 18, 2013

Boston secular groups join community response to tragedy


Boston’s nontheists have been working to help those affected in Monday’s bomb attack. The Secular Coalition for America, the Boston Atheists, and the HumanistCommunity at Harvard are local sponsors of a secular fundraising effort with the group the We Are Atheism, which has raised over $20,000 to assist victims. $10,000 of this money has already been pledged to the One Boston Fund.

Members of the Harvard Humanists have additionally played a lead role in raising over $140,000 for a fund to help two individuals with ties to their community who suffered severe injuries.

Josiah Van Vliet, President of the Boston Atheists, said “I want to reach out to all those who do not have a church or a pastor, to tell them: You are not alone, and that there are others like you out here. We are also upset, and scared. Although your viewpoint may not be expressed at a prayer vigil, it is one that it shared and sympathized with throughout the country.”

Georgina Capetillo, Boston Atheists Director of Diversity, agreed. “In the wake of tragedy, it’s important that atheists be included in a positive way. We are all part of one community, and we sympathize with the victims of the attacks no less than any Americans.”

Scott Romanowski is an organizer with the Atheists of Greater Lowell, one of the partner organizations of the Secular Coalition for Massachusetts. He said, “In tragedies like this all Americans, secular or not, come together to help each other. We can work to prevent such violence, we must also be ready to respond in a unified way when our community suffers a tragedy like this.

“Our hearts go out to the victims, their families and to all of those affected by this senseless act of violence,” said Edwina Rogers, Executive Director of the Secular Coalition for America, of which the Secular Coalition for Massachusetts is a state chapter.

Plans are being made for a secular memorial service—a gathering for those disinclined to attend an event organized under a religious or inter-faith banner—to take place in Boston this weekend. An announcement with the time and location will be posted to Secular Coalition for Massachusetts social media pages.