...you have to publicly declare your opposition to assault. Amid all the festivities of the first National Ask An Atheist Day, it sounds like the tabling at Virginia Tech could have gone better.
Virginia Tech Police were called to the Drillfield Wednesday afternoon following a report of a student stabbing his own hand with a pen.
Police were called at 1:19 p.m. by a 911 call from a witness at the scene.
Alexander M. Huppert, a freshman university studies major, then assaulted an officer who approached to check his welfare, according to a police press release. After a short struggle with the officer and several witnesses, he was taken into custody.
The incident took place near a table promoting a local version of “Ask an Atheist Day.” The student group Freethinkers at Virginia Tech sponsored the table.
Witnesses said Huppert stood near the table for nearly an hour. Approaching the table, Huppert borrowed a pen and drew a circle with a cross inside on the back of his hand.
Nicole Schrand, a senior psychology major, said Huppert then asked students at the table to stab him in the cross with the pen to “prove to us God existed.” The students declined.
“We don’t believe in assaulting people,” Schrand said. “We’re very against assaulting people.”
Huppert then asked for the pen back, a request Schrand and other students declined. Seeing another pen, Huppert grabbed it and began stabbing himself in the back of the hand.
We're relieved to hear that the situation didn't get completely out of hand, and we truly hope that Alex Huppert gets help."Ask An Atheist" was not intended to offend, and I'm certain it didn't have that effect elsewhere. ISSA members had nothing but friendly, constructive interactions.
That being said, let's not let this one mishap define the event. National Ask An Atheist Day was clearly a net positive in opening up lines of communication between believers and nonbelievers, and a monumental step towards our goal of dispelling stereotypes about atheism once and for all.
Be safe, be secular.