Tag Archives: Camp Quest

The IRS Also Targeted Camp Quest

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the logo for Camp QuestThe recent media dust up about the Internal Revenue Service doing their job when considering group tax exemptions under the 501(c)4 rules focused on conservative groups being ‘targeted’ for political reasons. What hasn’t been reported as much is that non-conservative groups, including Camp Quest, were also targeted for extra scrutiny. This just shows that the conservative group’s claim of victimhood is more hysterical than the facts support.
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Nightline serves up some crap cake to atheists

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The ABC News program “Nightline” broadcast a segment on atheist Edwin Kagin Friday night and from the framing and word use it was one of those “look at the scary atheist” stories. I can’t say that I am surprised since most people hate atheists and what they don’t believe.

The story started out on the crap side with the intro from host Cynthia McFadden:

The group we are about to meet are not among them (believers). They not only disbelieve they are waging a WAR against on religion and mockery is often their weapon of choice…

After hearing that violent wording no wonder some minds slammed shut.

The rest of the piece went the same way and as blogger Paul Fidalgo put it:

But I didn’t know how bad it could get. Dan Harris and those responsible for his report on Edwin Kagin, in-your-face atheism and “de-baptism” should be ashamed. The entire piece is a seven-minute finger wagging at those mean atheists. The questions to Kagin pretty much never move beyond variations on “don’t you think you’re being really rude?” Kagin and those with him at the de-baptism ceremony are portrayed as nasty, callous jerks who are out to hurt feelings for the sheer joy of it. Plus, they drag out the subject of Kagin’s fundamentalist son, I suppose to serve as some kind of foil, as if you say, “How come your son is a man of God and you’re such a jerk?” Harris even pulls the “what about Stalin” canard.

Nightlines atrociously bad report on atheism

I agree with Paul. I wasn’t expecting a hand job like the believers get all the time in the news in similar profiles but at least Nightline could have been less dickish about it.

Of course the cowardly faction of atheists and freethinkers will come out and blame Edwin and the others in the profile for giving atheists a bad name as if atheism should only be about puppy dogs and rainbows. They fail to see the bias in the overall reporting. Television can even make Mother Theresa look bad if they wanted to. (It seems commenter to Paul’s blog are doing what I feared – blame the victim).

ABC decided to focus on Kagin’s de-baptism show and turn it into a negative practice which it really isn’t. Like one of the people interviewed said the difference is believers take it seriously. Edwin also said that if someone is secure in their faith then they shouldn’t be bothered by his mockery. He’s right and the same should go for the tisk-tisk atheists who cave into the whims of believers for the want of being liked.

The other bit in the report that pissed me off was the tag at the end when McFadden ended the segment with:

“the blurry line between free speech and poor taste…”

Uh, no there isn’t a line, blurry or otherwise. Free speech has nothing to do with taste because taste is subjective while free speech isn’t.

Here is the profile if you want to see it:

Edwin Kagin profile on ABC’s Nightline 07/16/2010

Camp Quest Ohio is underway

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I wrote about Camp Quest back in March and camp started up this past week. The Columbus Dispatch not only had a print article but also a podcast and short video about the camp. Follow the links below.

The camp director’s housekeeping lecture met the usual disinterest from the dining hall full of sweaty, bug-bitten kids.

Messy cabins are a staple of summer camp. Who wants to tidy up when you can swim, play games and goof around with your friends?

But August Brunsman finished his cleaning directive with a so-subtle-the-kids-probably-missed-it pun that made clear that Camp Quest is not the usual summer offering.

“Remember,” he said, a slight grin crossing his face, “cleanliness is next to godlessness.”

Camp Quest is a sleepaway camp for the children of atheists, agnostics, humanists and other nonbelievers, though kids from religious families are welcome, too.

Most of the time, the kids do normal camp stuff such as hike, compete in relay races, sit around campfires.

But the overarching philosophy is that life without religion is a perfectly healthy, viable option.

Kids wrestle with religion at Camp Quest

Faith & Values Podcast | No. 101 Dispatch religion reporter Meredith Heagney talks with Amanda Metskas, the director of Camp Quest, a program for children of atheists, agnostics, humanists and other nonbelievers.

Donate to Camp Quest

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Camp Quest Ohio meets in June but it is filling up now. Camp Quest is a summer camp for atheists, Humanists, agnostics and other freethinkers. They have a fund you can donate to help provide free or low cost fees for needy campers.

From their website:

Camp Quest is the first residential summer camp in the history of the United States for the children of Atheists, Freethinkers, Humanists, Brights, or whatever other terms might be applied to those who hold to a naturalistic, not supernatural world view.

The purpose of Camp Quest is to provide children of freethinking parents a residential summer camp dedicated to improving the human condition through rational inquiry, critical and creative thinking, scientific method, self-respect, ethics, competency, democracy, free speech, and the separation of religion and government guaranteed by the Constitution of the United States.

Camp Quest was first held in 1996 and until 2002 was operated by the Free Inquiry Group, Inc. (FIG) of Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky. The idea for the project originated with Edwin Kagin and he and his wife Helen served as Camp Directors for the first ten years of the original Camp Quest, retiring at the end of the 2005 camp session.

Camp Quest website

They have several branch camps across the country, one in Canada and one in the United Kingdom. I personally know the current leadership of the group and have known both campers and staff at the Ohio branch and it is an excellent way for freethinking children to have freethinking summer camp.

In February, Helen Kagin, co-founder of Camp Quest, died. The group created the Helen Kagin Memorial Campership Fund to honor her work and life. The fund will help provide free or low cost fees to needy campers.

I’m going to donate to The Kagin Fund because back when I was in Boy Scouts (before the religious right took it over) I got to go to Summer Camp through generous donations from community members and now I have a place to repay that favor without giving up my principles.