Toronto’s Alcoholics Anonymous kicks out the atheists.
On Tuesday, Toronto’s two secular AA groups, known as Beyond Belief and We Agnostics, were removed or “delisted” from the roster of local meetings. They’ve disappeared from the Toronto AA website and will not be in the next printed edition of the Toronto directory.
The dispute started when Beyond Belief posted an adapted version of AA’s hallowed “Twelve Steps” on the Toronto website. They removed the word “God” from the steps, which are used as a kind of road map to help drinkers achieve sobriety.
That’s fine. AA is a private organization so they should be free to do as they please as long as the follow the law.
As Hemant says:
As hard as it is for me to say it, I think AA is right. If you’re not going to use the Twelve Steps exactly as written, then you can’t really call yourself an AA group. You might be equally as effective — hell, one peer-reviewed research paper has shown that secular version of the Twelve Steps is more effective than the “spiritual” version — but you’re still not technically an AA group.
CFI’s Secular Organization for Sobriety (SOS) is mentioned, which is good because the delisted atheists should now be aware of an alternative in Toronto. SOS is one of CFI’s more successful programs with branches established or planned in most major cities across Canada.
I hope we use this opportunity to show how religious organizations that claim to do good things are really only interested in themselves. People with addiction problems need help and come to AA hoping the support group will make a difference. But when AA shuts you down, it’s yet another indication that religion isn’t ever interested in doing the right thing when it conflicts with its dogma.