The Atheists, Agnostics, and Freethinkers of University of Illinois has come up with a brilliant event for Good Friday:

CHAMPAIGN – For many Christians, the Friday preceding Easter Sunday is one of the holiest days of the year.

This is precisely why the student organization Atheists, Agnostics, and Freethinkers (AAF) has chosen this day to raise awareness about the Roman Catholic Church. The group plans to set up a booth on the Quad on Good Friday and disseminate information about the Church’s policies, especially those related to contraception and HIV/AIDS. Accordingly, the group will also be distributing free condoms.

“People often regard religion, and specifically Christianity as a force for good in the world,” said Mathew Rayman, an officer from AAF. “Just over a year ago, the Pope told Africans that condoms actually help to propagate AIDS rather than prevent it. Statements like these are irresponsible and illustrate the disconnect of the Vatican hierarchy from reality.” Two thirds of the estimated 33 million people with HIV/AIDS live in Africa.

The Catholic Church has always been fundamentally opposed to contraception, and Pope Paul VI reinforced this in the 1968 doctrinal letter Humanae Vitae (Latin, “Human Life”). According to the American Red Cross, consistent and correct condom use greatly reduces the risk of contracting HIV. AAF hopes to raise public awareness of these issues and promote productive discussion.

This is an awesome idea. My only complaint is that they didn’t advertise sooner, so groups like mine could have similar events. I think this is a perfect example of a good controversial event: it’s sure to piss some people off, receive media coverage, and get people talking – but it also has a purpose and a very important message. It doesn’t exist for the sole reason of offending.

Great idea, AAF – hope it goes well!

(Via Skeptic Money)