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alaskansee's Avatar Comment 1 by alaskansee

There's something about protecting your faith that makes it impossible for these people to realise that their behaviour is more similar to that of extremist islamic states/kingdoms than any kind of acceptable contemporary standards.

I'd like to say that nothing else comes close but unfortunately the states in question if not all 50 have stunk up their politics too with this fundamental and completely rigid style of thinking.

Wed, 14 Sep 2011 23:57:19 UTC | #870973

some asshole's Avatar Comment 2 by some asshole

It's reading things like this that arouse negative feelings and responses in me. I know I "should" be prone to doing productive things like raising awareness, showing that atheists are good people too, yada yada. But instead, what I feel is utter contempt for the sick bastards who have chosen to alienate me. It makes me want to hurt people. Not productive, eh?

Thu, 15 Sep 2011 00:03:05 UTC | #870974

alf1200's Avatar Comment 3 by alf1200

The teacher should be fired and the district sued for denial of constitutiional rights.

Thu, 15 Sep 2011 01:07:44 UTC | #870980

Neodarwinian's Avatar Comment 4 by Neodarwinian

" Why a group for atheists? " Do non-stamp collectors need groups? Hell yes, when those who collect stamps will actually make life that hard for those that don't. Those especially vulnerable students.

Well, Mr some asshole. You may get that chance. I have said on here many times that this divide between the superstitious and the rational may come to be settled by the sword and , basically, because we are dealing with those that have no investment in rationality.

Thu, 15 Sep 2011 01:23:02 UTC | #870983

Vicar of Art on Earth's Avatar Comment 5 by Vicar of Art on Earth

I think Governor Perry is correct, Texas and the Bible belt should leave the Union. Those who understand science and appreciate a civilized government would be welcome in the USA and the conservatives can stay in the South or Utah, I just don't want them in my town.

Like everyone here, I am so sick of followers claiming an all power god, then acting sneaking and underhanded. And what a bunch of gutless educators, they would be better as clergy instead of having children to educate. As many have said and I would agree, if hiring people with degrees from the Bible states, I would look very closely at competence and not asume a professional education or understanding.

Thank you Professor Dawkins for standing up for the Worlds Children, if rewards were just, we should be calling you Sir Richard Dawkins and Mr. Hitchens and Dr. PZ Myers would recieve the Medal of Freedom.

Thu, 15 Sep 2011 01:48:45 UTC | #870986

mordacious1's Avatar Comment 6 by mordacious1

So...was there ever a lawsuit resulting from the Damon Fowler situation? Fowler v. Louisiana Assholes...

Thu, 15 Sep 2011 05:21:32 UTC | #871022

Crimbly's Avatar Comment 7 by Crimbly

"Creamer said his administration didn’t block the formation of the club, but some fellow teachers have made their displeasure known. At least one or two students a year drop out of his class once they find out he’s an atheist, he said."

What a sorry state for the school where even educators, who should know better, have a problem with an atheist. And the students who drop out of his class - well, they have preconceptions even before they've been taught by the man, he's better off without their "displeasure".

What is wonderful however is the support the man is getting from some of his students, and Damon Fowler's scholarship after his parents kicked him out. Theists when rattled are like little children in prams throwing out their toys.

Thu, 15 Sep 2011 06:39:52 UTC | #871037

Sjoerd Westenborg's Avatar Comment 8 by Sjoerd Westenborg

I can't believe people actually reject and ruin their own children! just because they are atheist (or homosexual, in love with a black person or latino, converted to islam etc. for that matter). It sickens me. I'm definitely going to make sure some extra donations are being send to groups like the SSA from Europe.

Thu, 15 Sep 2011 09:56:36 UTC | #871071

foundationist's Avatar Comment 9 by foundationist

Comment 8 by Sjoerd Westenborg :

I can't believe people actually reject and ruin their own children! just because they are atheist

Yes, to me that was really the most frightening aspect of the story. I´m a father myself and the very idea of anyone throwing out his young child is completely mindboggling.

Comment 4 by Neodarwinian :

I have said on here many times that this divide between the superstitious and the rational may come to be settled by the sword

Well, count me out. I´m not to be trusted with sharp devices.

Thu, 15 Sep 2011 10:02:30 UTC | #871073

GBile's Avatar Comment 10 by GBile

Isn't christianity supposed to be a religion of peace? So where does all this anger and vile behavior come from. Throwing your own child out of your house ?? How low can you go ? It could be 'uncertainty', but more likely it is fear. And when it is fear, where does all this talk of religion providing 'solace' and 'comfort' coming from ?

Well anyway, I find these students and kids 'coming out' very brave. I hope you will all succeed in your efforts. You never walk alone!

Thu, 15 Sep 2011 10:56:40 UTC | #871086

Jay G's Avatar Comment 11 by Jay G

When Christianity becomes a religion of peace (along with Islam) the Chicago Cubs will win a World Series.

Thu, 15 Sep 2011 12:04:02 UTC | #871104

drumdaddy's Avatar Comment 12 by drumdaddy

The kids are getting smarter. I forecast majority atheism in the USA by the year 2025.

Thu, 15 Sep 2011 12:10:20 UTC | #871106

Functional Atheist's Avatar Comment 13 by Functional Atheist

Atheist and agnostic youths would be wise to follow the lead of LGBT youths, because the parallels in their situations are so similar: both belong to minorities that are specifically condemned and vilified by the churches of their communities. Moreover, atheist kids and teachers, like LGBT kids and teachers, are subject to bullying or ostracism in the schools, not merely by bigoted students, but by bigoted teachers, administrators, school board members and parents. They also typically face opposition from the same array of Republican politicians--if you're an ignorant, bigoted homophobic politician, the chance that you're also virulently anti-atheist is quite high. LGBT kids are significantly more likely to be homeless than average--loving Christians parents kick them out of the house. It would be interesting if that over-representation among homeless teens also applies to atheists--I wager it would.

The solution? Coming out publicly, organizing into groups, and suing, or threatening to sue, when discriminated against. Few things motivate a school's administration more than a credible threat to bring suit.

Sorry, attorneys of America, but there's plenty of pro bono work waiting out there. Fortunately, the mere threat of a lawsuit is often sufficient: we're not talking about you taking on the burden of an actual suit in most cases, merely the time and effort required to write a few letters and make a few phone calls. The need is most urgent in the most backwards states, which is an unfair burden on members of, for example, the Mississippi bar, and/or admitted to the bar of the 5th Federal district, but that's usually the case with civil rights law.

Thu, 15 Sep 2011 12:11:49 UTC | #871108

Nunbeliever's Avatar Comment 14 by Nunbeliever

All this just goes to show that no matter how civilized and cultivated we like to think we are humans really are nothing but mammals governed by irrational emotions and primitive instincts like fear of the unknown, tribalism, etc... The future is not looking bright. Yes, we have superior cognitive and intellectual skills compared to all other animals on this planet. But when it comes to wisdom and self-awareness we are no better than any random baboon (I apologize to all the baboons who might be offended by my analogy). My point is that although we might intellectually realize what the best thing is to do (although few even get this far) we are still pretty much slaves to our primitive emotions and instincts. Pretty saddening, when you think about it. Let's give you one very simple example to show just how true this is. Imagine a married man with two kids an enormous mortage and a wife who stays home with the kids who is on a business trip and meets a gorgeous woman in the hotel lobby bar. He knows it's a really bad idea to follow the woman to her room. He repeats the words "don't do it, don't do it, don't do it" like a mantra in his head, but to no success. Eventually he gives in to his emotions... I am sure most of us like to think we would never act in such a stupid way. Nonetheless statistics show that is not true. We are really stupid! The sooner we realize this the better. Although a person who realizes he/she is stupid is not all that stupid is he/she... ;-)

Thu, 15 Sep 2011 13:24:07 UTC | #871130

Peter Grant's Avatar Comment 15 by Peter Grant

It's good to see at least some of the youth are rebelling against authority and dogma :D

Thu, 15 Sep 2011 13:32:29 UTC | #871131

achromat666's Avatar Comment 16 by achromat666

For a country that constantly extols the freedoms it offers its populace, there has been over the long haul a tremendous uphill struggle for people of differing ideologies, ethnicities, sexual orientations, etc that rather makes the claim appear quite hypocritical. And for all the progress we make, it often takes only the right climate of fearmongering and narrowmindedness to threaten to drag it down.

And Atheism is one of those causes that like so many others has had to get a stronger voice in communities to get others to understand that whether you agree or not you do not have the right to judge someone because they don't think the way you do.

This article is a strong reminder that I know many of us do not need that the struggle while making headway is still quite uphill.

Thu, 15 Sep 2011 13:42:34 UTC | #871132

Jay G's Avatar Comment 17 by Jay G

Comment 13 by Functional Atheist :

Atheist and agnostic youths would be wise to follow the lead of LGBT youths, because the parallels in their situations are so similar: both belong to minorities that are specifically condemned and vilified by the churches of their communities. Moreover, atheist kids and teachers, like LGBT kids and teachers, are subject to bullying or ostracism in the schools, not merely by bigoted students, but by bigoted teachers, administrators, school board members and parents. They also typically face opposition from the same array of Republican politicians--if you're an ignorant, bigoted homophobic politician, the chance that you're also virulently anti-atheist is quite high. LGBT kids are significantly more likely to be homeless than average--loving Christians parents kick them out of the house. It would be interesting if that over-representation among homeless teens also applies to atheists--I wager it would. The solution? Coming out publicly, organizing into groups, and suing, or threatening to sue, when discriminated against. Few things motivate a school's administration more than a credible threat to bring suit.

Sorry, attorneys of America, but there's plenty of pro bono work waiting out there. Fortunately, the mere threat of a lawsuit is often sufficient: we're not talking about you taking on the burden of an actual suit in most cases, merely the time and effort required to write a few letters and make a few phone calls. The need is most urgent in the most backwards states, which is an unfair burden on members of, for example, the Mississippi bar, and/or admitted to the bar of the 5th Federal district, but that's usually the case with civil rights law.

I don't see the connection. LGBT involves a very distinct lifestyle. Atheism is not a lifestyle. It's just a refusal to assert a proposition in the absence of supporting evidence.

Thu, 15 Sep 2011 14:33:59 UTC | #871147

tembuki's Avatar Comment 18 by tembuki

Comment 17 by Jay G :

I don't see the connection. LGBT involves a very distinct lifestyle. Atheism is not a lifestyle. It's just a refusal to assert a proposition in the absence of supporting evidence.

I think the point that functional atheist was trying to make wasn't that the two groups are similar, but that they face similar circumstances in how others treat them because of variances from the mainstream POV.

Thu, 15 Sep 2011 15:27:01 UTC | #871168

Aztek's Avatar Comment 19 by Aztek

I have to admit I have a very hard time relating to these people's plight. In Finland not talking about god is the default position. Sure, there are a little bit more believers here than in our neighbouring, less religious countries Sweden, Norway and Denmark. But still talking about your faith is simply considered weird.

If you say you're an atheist you're considered part of the normal, rational people. Even though it is possible to meet religious people who have a problem with you being an atheist, they rarely open their mouths about it. That's because they know it'll turn against themselves. Publicly speaking about one's faith puts you in the group of kooks, and you are put in the position of having to defend you beliefs (which, of course, you can't).

So as much I want to, it's very hard to understand what those mentioned in the article are going through. My lack of faith has never led to any problems. But I do understand that people growing up in an environment as described in the article feel the need to form groups and unite.

Thu, 15 Sep 2011 15:56:30 UTC | #871182

Peter Grant's Avatar Comment 20 by Peter Grant

Comment 19 by Aztek

Publicly speaking about one's faith puts you in the group of kooks, and you are put in the position of having to defend you beliefs (which, of course, you can't).

Wish it was like that everywhere and I really don't see why it can't be. What do you think is the distinguishing factor, education perhaps?

Thu, 15 Sep 2011 16:29:11 UTC | #871190

aquilacane's Avatar Comment 21 by aquilacane

Comment 19 by Aztek

I have to admit I have a very hard time relating to these people's plight. In Finland not talking about god is the default position. Sure, there are a little bit more believers here than in our neighbouring, less religious countries Sweden, Norway and Denmark. But still talking about your faith is simply considered weird.

Canada is somewhat the same. It's not so much weird; however, it's more a matter of not being polite. We apologize for just about anything here, even being bumped at the fault of someone else. A "Sorry for standing where you were going without looking", sort of thing. Religion does play a role but it's not as in your face or anti-freethinking as the States.

In the States, well, you're just the devil. Not worth shit.

Thu, 15 Sep 2011 16:39:59 UTC | #871193

Red Dog's Avatar Comment 22 by Red Dog

I realize how lucky I've been when I read stories like this. I've always been "out" as an atheist even going back to high school. Its not like I went around proselytizing the good news of atheism but if anyone asked me, even at work, I always told them. I think because I've lived in big cities on the east and west coast of the US and have always had jobs in science and engineering I never faced any serious discrimination.

Thu, 15 Sep 2011 17:29:32 UTC | #871216

Paul the Pretentious's Avatar Comment 23 by Paul the Pretentious

Mississippi is inarguably the most ignorant State in the Union. Understand, this is a place where all the churches outnumber all the schools and all the libraries combined. Faith is espoused as a particular virtue, whereas literacy is not. It's a State of dumb farmers.

Down here, people say "atheist" in the same tones they used to say "nigger". It really is that bad. About the only way I've managed to be openly atheistic without pissing anyone off is by being funny about it.

"You're saved, right?"

"No. I can't wait to go to hell."

"But why do you want to go to hell?"

"Well, that's where all my friends are going."

Ridgeland is only three hours away from me. If they want to organize an event, if it's on a day I'm not working, I'll try my best to be there. This State is in serious need of a shame campaign.

Thu, 15 Sep 2011 17:32:16 UTC | #871218

taylor_atheist_in_utah's Avatar Comment 24 by taylor_atheist_in_utah

I can relate I am an atheist in Utah. It is very strange here everyone is Mormon. I feel like an outcast being atheist. My family are all Mormon and most people I meet are Mormon.

Thu, 15 Sep 2011 17:44:21 UTC | #871221

Steven Mading's Avatar Comment 25 by Steven Mading

Comment 12 by drumdaddy :

The kids are getting smarter. I forecast majority atheism in the USA by the year 2025.

Don't count on it. In my state, the Tea Partiers who just got into power this year are de-funding the public educational system in order to help prop up the attractiveness of faith schools, and experienced public school teachers are taking early retirement to get the heck out of the profession that's getting unfairly maligned with a disproportionate degree of austerity measures based on the incorrect public perception that they're the cause of the budget shortfall. The current kids, who are the result of the good education our state used to have in the 90's and naughties, are getting less religious, but I now fear about the kids that grow up as a result of the education they're about to get in the 2010's and 2020's.

I don't think the trend is as optimisitc as you portray. If is was, the tea party wouldn't be on the rise.

Thu, 15 Sep 2011 18:51:06 UTC | #871241

Robert Howard's Avatar Comment 26 by Robert Howard

@Comments 19 by Aztec & 21 by aquilacane

Same situation here in Britain. Tony Blair's chief spin doctor, Alastair Campbell, once famously interrupted Blair during a Q&A when the interviewer asked about the PM's faith, saying "We don't do God". It wasn't until he left Downing Street and converted to Roman Catholicism that we learned the true extent of Blair's faith.

It's de rigueur for American politicians to end speeches with the words God bless America, but it would amount to career suicide if a British politico were to do similar. I don't know about Finns and Canucks, but we Brits pride ourselves on our cynicism (you only have to listen to or watch some of our topical comedy programmes, The News Quiz, Have I Got News for You etc, to understand this).

America, frequently to its credit, doesn't seem to possess this cynical attitude. This is dandy, even encouraging for the species; the problems only begin when churches and politicians get into bed together and try to exploit this innate magnanimity for their own power and profit.

I would imagine that modern America's hatred of Godlessness has a lot to do with the Cold War, when communism began to be seen as the ne plus ultra of evil. As communism was perceived to be atheistic in nature, it and atheism became irrevocably intertwined in the mind of the average American.

Old attitudes die hard but they're not immortal; and all of this has only happened in the last half century or so. I still hold out hope for our former colony.

Thu, 15 Sep 2011 19:11:03 UTC | #871247

raytoman's Avatar Comment 27 by raytoman

Comment 12 by drumdaddy

The kids are getting smarter. I forecast majority atheism in the USA by the year 2025.

@@@@@@@

The 2010 US Exam Results disagree with your assertion. In fact they are much worse than last year. The US, like the rest of the religious world, is dumbing down. That means more religious people which is the case (increased by almost 5 billion in the last 50 years and still increasing).

Todays kids are also much fatter and have much shorter life expectancy.This again ensures that they need religion to give their lives meaning.

As for atheists. They claim 75 million but I see little evidence of this. This site for instance has probably more religious people than not and others who claim to be athiests but also claim to be spiritual (no god but vampires and astrology and witchcraft, etc).

Maybe you mean that all religious people are athiests about all gods except theirs.Maybe, but unless they go that one god further they are religious. Atheists are such a broad church that all they need to do to claim the title is to say they don't believe in a god.

My definition is Rational Humanist which by definition also means that they believe we are all brothers and sisters and need to evolve a society where everyone is enitiled to a home, food and education and the opportunity to lead a free and fullfilling life.

Not whilst we deliberately keep people illiterate and ignorant and brainwash them from birth into one of the thousands of religions and atheists examine naval fluff and debate religion. We need to be developing the alternative and communication that.

Should be easy. The Universe, life and humanity is much more interesting that any myth and and we are capable of much more.

g learn r, be to b y iahs . past n. , even afterae e

Fri, 16 Sep 2011 02:48:32 UTC | #871383

Sean_W's Avatar Comment 28 by Sean_W

Comment 26 by Robert Howard

It's funny, so many religious Americans have very shallow roots here. Perhaps someone should inform them that Europe has not been very religious or freakishly conservative for a long time, provided that's true of course, and on a scale to warrant the boasting often seen in these parts.

Fri, 16 Sep 2011 03:10:44 UTC | #871388

Functional Atheist's Avatar Comment 29 by Functional Atheist

@17 Your failure to understand my analogy between being an atheist kid and a gay kid puzzles me.

How about gays and atheists having, largely, the same opponents who are, largely, motivated by the same 'reasons': the Bible, tradition, fear, bigotry, ignorance.

How about the fact that LGBT kids are often rejected and vilified and kicked out of the house by their own parents? Do you think any devout Christians would, maybe, reject and vilify and kick out of the house their own atheist kids?

How about so-called 'reparative' therapies that attempt to 'pray away the gay'--don't be you think there might be Christian parents who attempt similar quack therapies to restore the 'faith' of their atheist kid?

How about 'normative' status? In a small town that is overwhelmingly Christian and straight, a kid who is an atheist is 'weird' and 'not normal' and maybe 'in league with Satan, just as a kid who is gay is 'weird' and 'not normal' and maybe 'in league with Satan.

The parallels are numerous and obvious to me. Remember, analogies are about situations that are similar, not about things that are exactly in every way identical.

Fri, 16 Sep 2011 07:07:38 UTC | #871425

Barry Pearson's Avatar Comment 30 by Barry Pearson

Comment 12 by drumdaddy :

The kids are getting smarter. I forecast majority atheism in the USA by the year 2025.

We are engaged in a war for enlightenment, being fought over generations. See "The war for enlightenment".

I predict that atheism will become widespread in the USA not so much by de-conversion of adults, but because each generation will be less religious than the previous one.

It will be years before even a particular new generation by itself is majority atheist. (Perhaps 2025, who knows?) Then it will be generations before the older generations where atheists are a minority die out.

We are engaged in a war for enlightenment, being fought over generations. And we are winning some battles! See "We are winning some battles in the “war for enlightenment”".

Fri, 16 Sep 2011 07:21:41 UTC | #871426