AU Humanist Community president "honored" at being labeled a bigot

AU Humanist Community president "honored" at being labeled a bigot

Nathaniel Caspari, president of AU Humanist Community.

Most would find offense in being labeled a “bigot,” but AU Humanist Community president Nathaniel Caspari thinks otherwise.

“To me, I am a little honored,” Caspari said in response to the American Family Association identifying his organization as a bigot group.

The AFA marked the AU Humanist Community on its “Bigotry Map” in late February. The AFA, a recognized “hate group” known for its anti-LGBT and racist views, aims to strengthen America’s moral foundations through preservation of the traditional family and stewardship, according to its mission statement.

On its website, the AFA states that its “Bigotry Map” aims to identify groups that “openly display bigotry toward the Christian faith.” Among those identified include the AARP, an organization that helps the elderly receive merchandise at a discounted price, and the Human Rights Campaign. The AU Humanist Community is the only college-affiliated group in the northeast labeled on the map.

“Up until yesterday, I had no idea that we were anti-Christian,” Caspari said, joking. “If you asked us two days ago that I knew that we were anti-Christian, I would have said no. But we can’t really deny it now since we’re on a map.”

Caspari found out about his organization’s recognition after another member of the AU Humanist Community posted a link to the map on Facebook. Caspari clicked on the link and studied the map to find other like-minded bigot groups to intern with during the summer, he joked. It was during this internship hunt that he noticed the AFA’s acknowledgement.

“I noticed that the American University Rationalists and Atheists were on [the map] in the D.C. area,” Caspari said. “We were a bit concerned, however, because we actually changed our name from from the AU Rationalists and Atheists to the AU Humanist Community.”

Caspari asked the Association to change his organization’s classification from atheist to humanist in an e-mail sent to the AFA.

E-mail Caspari sent to AFA in response to recognition.

“We changed our name because we wanted to strengthen our relations with the Jewish and Islamic community— pretty much anybody who wasn’t necessarily an atheist,” Caspari said, humorously. “But we aren’t allowing Christians in because we hate them, as the AFA is very keen to note.”

Despite the AFA mis-labeling his organization, Caspari said that he appreciates the Association’s recognition.

“We are very humbled by your acknowledgement of our very existence and consider the act nothing short of saintly,” Caspari said in the e-mail sent to the AFA.

Jokes and faux anti-Christian sentiment aside, Caspari understands the dangers that come with the AFA targeting his organization, he said.

The AFA has made parallels between homosexuality and Nazism and has stated that the Constitution's First Amendment only protects Christians. Bryan Fischer, a former director for the AFA, even described Muslims as “parasites that must convert or die.” The AFA claims to have over 500,000 members, so these messages reach a relatively large population.

“In reality, I did think about the fact that there might be people on the AFA website that take everything they say a little bit too seriously,” Caspari said. “So if the AFA is wondering—pretty much all we do—is we try to bring people together, promote science, reason, learning and community.”

AFA’s “Bigotry Map” labels the AUHC as a “bigot.”

@freddywantsfred - frodriguez@theeagleonline.com

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