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← Mississippi A.C.L.U. Rejects $20,000 for Alternate Prom

Mississippi A.C.L.U. Rejects $20,000 for Alternate Prom - Comments

wildhog's Avatar Comment 1 by wildhog

"the majority of Mississippians tremble in terror at the word ‘atheist,’ ”

It's so embarrassing to be an American.

Thu, 01 Apr 2010 01:42:00 UTC | #454639

Monkey Man's Avatar Comment 2 by Monkey Man

Teenager tells his mom he is an atheist ===>

Thu, 01 Apr 2010 01:53:00 UTC | #454641

8DC's Avatar Comment 3 by 8DC

Wait... why does the money need to go through the ACLU? Couldn't AHA just host the prom on their own?

Thu, 01 Apr 2010 01:55:00 UTC | #454643

Ubiquitous Che's Avatar Comment 4 by Ubiquitous Che

Regarding the A.C.L.U. move, Ms. Carr wrote to Mr. Speckhardt: “Our staff has been talking a lot about your donation offer and have found ourselves in a bit of a conflict. We have fears that your organization sponsoring the prom could stir up even more controversy.”

More controversy?


Grow a damn spine.

Thu, 01 Apr 2010 02:46:00 UTC | #454650

HappyPrimate's Avatar Comment 5 by HappyPrimate

I agree with 8DC but the problem is that there is probably no one locally with the AHA to handle it and they felt the local ACLU could do it. Also, I live in Louisiana and I can tell you that most people here also tremble at the mention of atheist. It can be a very difficult existence here. Most have been taught that atheists worship the devil. Really scary. I know because that was what I was taught as a child in Sunday school. The internet has probably saved my sanity. Big thanks to RD for this site.

Thu, 01 Apr 2010 02:53:00 UTC | #454651

Lisa Bauer's Avatar Comment 6 by Lisa Bauer

Very disappointing -- the ACLU is supposed to fight for freedom FROM as well as OF religion.

Maybe they'll be shamed into retracting...

Thu, 01 Apr 2010 03:05:00 UTC | #454653

huzonfurst's Avatar Comment 7 by huzonfurst

Those God-Damned COWARDS!!

The ACLU in San Diego had to be shamed into participating in our lawsuits against crosses on public property, and only did it when two xians joined as plaintiffs.

Our chickenshit city government, however, defied every single legal opinion over the course of a decade and the crosses are still there, flipping off "America's Finest City" (that corruption can buy).

I wonder how this "progressive" organization expects the mainstream opinion of atheists to change when they're as frightened as anyone else?

I was a member of this group years ago until I finally got fed up with newsletters full of "valiant battles" to defend the rights of the trans-gendered. Well, fine, but it sure seemed like there were much bigger battles to be fought at the time. I told them to re-adjust their prorities and get back to me, which they never did of course.

About the same time there was a late-night comedy show called Fridays which ran a skit about "trans-phibians," an obvious but hilarious satire on the trans-gendered, people who I've always thought were more in need of psychiatry than surgery - but that's just me.

Thu, 01 Apr 2010 03:06:00 UTC | #454655

zengardener's Avatar Comment 8 by zengardener

So, the humanists are requiring that the prom includes a naked, fireside blood orgy?

those damn God haters.

Remember when all we had to deal with was lesbos?

Thu, 01 Apr 2010 03:09:00 UTC | #454657

Alternative Carpark's Avatar Comment 9 by Alternative Carpark

All together now:

"Miiii iiiii si siiiii piiiii"

Thu, 01 Apr 2010 03:27:00 UTC | #454658

Cartomancer's Avatar Comment 10 by Cartomancer

So, let me get this straight...

The ACLU are organising an "inclusive" prom event, but are doing so by excluding a particular controversial group when it comes to accepting funds. Irony overload imminent.

Surely the people who are prejudiced against atheists and humansists are EXACTLY THE SAME people who would be prejudiced against the idea of an LGBT-inclusive social event in the first place? Who, exactly, is the rejection of this funding going to placate? And to what appreciable end?

Atheist, humanist and secularist groups have always been at the forefront of the battle for LGBT rights. Religious groups have always been in the forefront of the battle against. This decision is nothing short of insulting - why should the ACLU bend over backwards to avoid upsetting religious groups, when religious groups are the root cause of the entire problem?

Thu, 01 Apr 2010 03:32:00 UTC | #454659

Tony Thursday's Avatar Comment 11 by Tony Thursday

after a lesbian student demanded that she be allowed to attend with her girlfriend.

I wasn’t aware that she demanded anything. My understanding was that she asked if she could bring the date that she wanted and then the school administration issued its missive barring same gender dates from attending.

Is anyone really shocked by this? I mean this a state where some school districts still hold segregated proms.

the majority of Mississippians tremble in terror at the word ‘atheist,’

Being a Mississippian and openly atheist that is a fairly accurate statement, although she did leave out the parts where they also stammer and turn red in the face.

Well, according to the religious mindset; if you do not proscribe to their particular brand of deity then you are by definition an atheist and therefore less than human.

Also, before anyone asks how or why I could possibly live and work in such a place just think about this; it is easy to stand outside a situation and mock and condemn it but it is a far different thing to live inside that situation and work to change it.

Thu, 01 Apr 2010 03:46:00 UTC | #454662

TheVirginian's Avatar Comment 12 by TheVirginian

First, it sounds like maybe another Mississippi group involved in the prom might take the money. I hope so, for the sake of the inclusive students at the school and as a psychological blow to the school bigots.

Second, while I condemn the Miss. ACLU, I wonder if there is some kind of behind-the-scene politics involved that is not visible in the article. Even if there is, the ACLU should have quietly looked for someone to run the prom under whatever conditions the AHA set, or negotiate them if there's a problem. (I'm a member of both the ACLU and AHA, so one side of me is angry at the other side here!)

Third, yes, there are atheists and non-bigoted theists in Miss., just as there are anywhere else. I'm sure the percentages are very different from more-progressive areas, but Miss. has its progressives as well as its regressives. I live in south Louisiana, and have friends who are atheists as well as non-bigoted Christians, and I lived in Miss. years ago and visit with friends there occasionally, so I speak from personal knowledge.

Finally, to show the state's other side, I went to Biloxi several weeks ago for a science fiction, fantasy, anime and gamers convention. Good-sized crowd, lots of costumes (Star Wars, Star Trek, BSG, etc.). One of the talks listed (could not attend, don't know what was said) was on "GLBT science fiction." I suspect if the school bigots who caused this mess had been at the convention, they would have had heart attacks, and the anti-gay discrimination would never have occurred!

Thu, 01 Apr 2010 03:55:00 UTC | #454669

mmurray's Avatar Comment 13 by mmurray

American Humanist Association

I'm looking for the word atheist and I'm not seeing it.


Thu, 01 Apr 2010 04:39:00 UTC | #454673

markg's Avatar Comment 14 by markg

That a fund-raiser for the ACLU would be concerned about Mississippians trembling in fear at the mere mention of the word "atheist" or worrying over further controversy is laughable. I wonder if Ms. Carr is aware of the regard in which her own employer is held by those (presumably the christian right) she is afraid of offending? It's on the same level as atheist and about two rungs above catholic priest.

Thu, 01 Apr 2010 05:10:00 UTC | #454680

markg's Avatar Comment 15 by markg

Comment #475152 by mmurray

American Humanist Association

I'm looking for the word atheist and I'm not seeing it.

_m_rican _uman_ _ _ Associa_ion

A e h i s t t

A t h e i s t - it's in there... cleverly hidden by Satan.

Thu, 01 Apr 2010 05:32:00 UTC | #454685

DamnDirtyApe's Avatar Comment 16 by DamnDirtyApe

So their answer to discrimination is to... discriminate?


Thu, 01 Apr 2010 05:35:00 UTC | #454686

Follow Peter Egan's Avatar Comment 17 by Follow Peter Egan

These damnable atheists always trying to stir things up. Why can't they let it be£

Thu, 01 Apr 2010 05:46:00 UTC | #454688

glenister_m's Avatar Comment 18 by glenister_m

Interesting. The impression I got from the student in question, when she appeared on Ellen, was that she wanted to go to the school prom, not an alternative prom, and that was why the offer was declined.

Still I predicted someone would screw up a potentially happy ending.

Thu, 01 Apr 2010 05:53:00 UTC | #454693

DamnDirtyApe's Avatar Comment 19 by DamnDirtyApe

20. Comment #475175 by glenister_m on April 1, 2010 at 6:53 am

That I can understand.

Thu, 01 Apr 2010 06:02:00 UTC | #454695

Jos Gibbons's Avatar Comment 20 by Jos Gibbons

How are the non-religious supposed to counter the lie that they're not good people if they're prohibited from helping others?

To avoid further controversy, [the Mississippi ACLU] rejected a $20,000 gift intended to underwrite an alternate prom replacing one canceled by a local school district after a lesbian student demanded that she be allowed to attend with her girlfriend. The gift ... came from the American Humanist Association, an advocacy group whose mission is to promote “good without God.”
It’s one thing to reject money from right–wing lunatics like Neonazis to avoid controversy, but to reject it from a persecuted left–wing minority with political motives broadly the same as your own laudable ones (the ACLU being quite laudable) is quite another. And it is no good claiming that “good without God” is the mission of the American Humanist Association. It is one of several recent advertising slogans they had used, and highlights the possibility of goodness without belief in God, rather than denying its possibility with such belief or pushing people to lose their faith. There is nothing whatsoever about what the humanists are doing that is deserving of this characterization.
Although we support and understand organizations like yours, the majority of Mississippians tremble in terror at the word ‘atheist’
Who used that word? It is worth noting many people object far less to irreligiosity per se than that particular description of it. Humanism is in case merely a correlated concept, rather than the same one; it is defined by its attitudes to humans, and there are some religious humanists, just as there are religious secularists. Admittedly religious humanists’ ideas are in some places very silly, but not more so than in the case of religious people in general.
Our staff has been talking a lot about your donation offer and have found ourselves in a bit of a conflict. We have fears that your organization sponsoring the prom could stir up even more controversy.
Since when does the ACLU care about the risk of controversy when defending the constitution? Homosexual students deserve just as much inclusion in proms as do their heterosexual counterparts, and non–religious people have as much a right as their religious counterparts to help fund the defence of freedoms. In any other situation, the ACLU would recognise their duties as more important than their image in the minds of bigots.
A federal judge ruled that [the student’s] rights had been violated but did not require that the event be reinstated.
So what is right need not be done? That’s like saying a person wrongly imprisoned need not be released.
Mr. Speckhardt said he was “really shocked” to hear the gift had been rejected. “We’ve worked with the A.C.L.U. many times in the past,” he said, “so this really felt like a slap in the face to me.” He said the Humanist Association had worked with the Alliance of Baptists and other religious organizations before and thus could not understand why Ms. Carr thought what she described as “these Southern Baptist types” would be offended by its gift. ... “You’d think they would have learned a lesson from the very case they’ve been working on,” he said. “The school board was trying to avoid a controversy by silencing a controversial minority, and now the A.C.L.U. is making the same mistake.”
Good points!
[Bennett of the ACLU said] the Humanist Association had attached conditions to its gift that the organizers of the event would have trouble meeting, among other issues.
Conditions hard to meet? “Other” issues? What are these two woolly claims? As a defence of backing away from defending Americans’ rights, it is far too vague.
Constance has had a lot of controversy around her over this, and in looking at the best interest of our client, I don’t know any more controversy would have benefited her
A lesbian who wanted to bring a same–sex partner to a dance others felt was heterosexual–only could have the controversy surrounding her raised by being helped by people that do not believe in a god ... wow. That hardly makes nonbelievers feel welcome in the US.
The Humanist Association said it had placed virtually no conditions on the gift.
I guess that’s vague too. My guess is their one condition was “use it for the all–sexualities prom we discussed”.

Thu, 01 Apr 2010 06:16:00 UTC | #454699

mmurray's Avatar Comment 21 by mmurray

A t h e i s t - it's in there... cleverly hidden by Satan.

He's a sneaky bugger isn't he.


Thu, 01 Apr 2010 07:46:00 UTC | #454719

ateu luso's Avatar Comment 22 by ateu luso

Nice one, markg!

Thu, 01 Apr 2010 08:19:00 UTC | #454735

rod-the-farmer's Avatar Comment 23 by rod-the-farmer

Well, I for one tremble at the idea of a Mississippian.....

Well, all right, a Southern Baptist Mississippian.


Thu, 01 Apr 2010 09:14:00 UTC | #454761

SilentMike's Avatar Comment 24 by SilentMike

“Although we support and understand organizations like yours, the majority of Mississippians tremble in terror at the word ‘atheist,’ ”

Beware the Atheist!

(Damned thing won't do hyperlinks)

Thu, 01 Apr 2010 09:21:00 UTC | #454767

Nunbeliever's Avatar Comment 25 by Nunbeliever

Sigh! Even when atheists are doing good they are labelled immoral. There is no way to win this battle is there...

Thu, 01 Apr 2010 09:37:00 UTC | #454771

Roger Stanyard's Avatar Comment 26 by Roger Stanyard

the majority of Mississippians tremble in terror at the word ‘atheist,’

The Deep South/Bible Belt as bigoted and backward as ever.

Thu, 01 Apr 2010 09:57:00 UTC | #454782

RyuHayabusa's Avatar Comment 27 by RyuHayabusa

Here's something to think about. On top of thinking atheists are the devil incarnate, many people despise atheists because they automatically believe we're all far-left liberals who support things like this girl going to the prom with her lesbian girlfriend, gay marriage, extra rights for "transgendered" people, abortion rights, etc. when not all of us do. Personally, I lean right on most things other than religious topics yet I'm always lumped in with liberals and I don't like that fact. Most Americans are closer to the middle or lean right on the political spectrum, so being considered flaming liberals in addition to being "god-haters" is why we're hated so much.

Thu, 01 Apr 2010 09:59:00 UTC | #454784

bluebird's Avatar Comment 28 by bluebird

EDIT: Picture credit belongs to SilentMike, I should of made that clear.

Also, I confess that's how I look in the morning before coffee and shower :p

Thu, 01 Apr 2010 10:11:00 UTC | #454791

Nunbeliever's Avatar Comment 29 by Nunbeliever

To Bluebird:

Thank you for that picture... That is going to be my new avatar ;-)

Thu, 01 Apr 2010 10:18:00 UTC | #454795

SilentMike's Avatar Comment 30 by SilentMike

31. Comment #475297 by Nunbeliever

Oh yes. Thank bluebird for that picture.

26. Comment #475266 by SilentMike on April 1, 2010 at 10:21 am

“Although we support and understand organizations like yours, the majority of Mississippians tremble in terror at the word ‘atheist,’ ”

Beware the Atheist!

Thu, 01 Apr 2010 10:37:00 UTC | #454809