Atheist Groups Increase on School Campuses

Atheist and religious skeptic student groups are on the rise across the country's high school and college campuses.

The Secular Student Alliance added its 160th affiliate campus group last week and reports that demand for their group starting packets are high.

"It's been a challenge to keep up with the demand for services, especially group-starting packets and follow-up," said Lyz Liddell, senior campus organizer, in a statement earlier this month. "That's a nice problem to have."

The number of SSA campus affiliate groups has increased from 100 in 2008 to 160 this year. In 2007, the alliance counted only 80.

Kirk Wilcox, president of the Non-Religious, Atheist, Free Thinker and Agnostic Alliance, told Central Michigan University's student newspaper Central Michigan Life that he's not surprised.

"Over the years, it's become more acceptable – people should be proud of who they are," he said. "If you want to be a Christian and go to church, that's fine, but there should be institutions for people who aren't religious."

More Americans are claiming no religion and many have taken on more outspoken and public campaigns. According to the 2008 American Religious Identification Survey, 15 percent of Americans are part of the non-religious population, or "nones," up from 8.2 percent in 1990.

SSA, meanwhile, provides a social network for students who are seeking an alternative to campus religious ministries, the alliance says.

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