The Unholy Trinity Tour visits WTAMU

Flyer courtesy of the WTAMU Student Secular Alliance.
Flyer courtesy of the WTAMU Student Secular Alliance.

On March 22, the university played host to The Unholy Trinity Tour, which made its first stop in Canyon. The event was held in the JBK Legacy Hall, where many students and citizens of the surrounding area packed in to hear three preeminent atheist speakers.

The tour features Seth Andrews, Matt Dillahunty and AronRa who will speak on the subject of atheism throughout the tour. Freethought Oasis, an organization based in Amarillo, and the WTAMU chapter of the Secular Student Alliance worked to get the tour to make a stop in Canyon.

“We wanted to do this in order to dispel any misconceptions about atheism,” Mark Fierro, junior biochemistry major and member of the Secular Student Alliance, said.

This is not the first event that has brought in atheist speakers to address the university. Both Andrews and Dillahunty have visited the school before. Dillahunty participated in a debate on campus two years ago, after which the SSA was born, and Andrews spoke at the university last year. Atheists in the surrounding area are hopeful that having all three men at the university has had a positive effect on the community.

“Atheism is not really understood in this area,” Jamie Farren, sophomore majoring in both biology and environmental science, said. “We hope to build a safer community for atheists here in the Texas Panhandle.”

The three speakers at the event are well known in their field, with Andrews and Dillahunty both creating videos and podcasts on the subject of atheism. AronRa is the head of the Texas chapter of American Atheists.

Freethought Oasis and the SSA are hopeful that after a successful event this year that they will be able to continue bringing speakers to the university.

“These things are becoming more popular every year,” Fierro said. “Hopefully it can really become a yearly thing where we have a speaker come in every single year.”

There were also other reasons that these groups decided to hold this event at the university.

“We routinely see religious events held on campus by different groups,” Farren said. “With all of those going on, we want to get our message out there too.”

These groups were also excited by the mixed audience that attended the event. There were many atheist students in attendance, but there were a great number of nonstudents and non-atheists as well.

“We want it to start a conversation rather than spit information at you,” Farren said. “That’s why we are going to have an hour long Q&A session at the end of the event, so good conversations can get started.”

The event also went over well with the other students on campus who do not identify with a religion.

“It’s important to have them here because in an area like this, the Bible Belt, kids are raised believing all kinds of crazy things about atheists,” Stephen Enriquez, sophomore computer science major, said. “It definitely leads people like me to get all kinds of flak just for not believing in God.”

Both Freethought Oasis and the SSA hope that after success of The Unholy Trinity Tour at the university, the area will be better for atheists to live and that they will be able to have more evens on campus.