More Material for the Book

As the number of clubs for atheist and freethinking students continues to grow around the country, Alabama has finally gotten its very first, the Auburn High School Freethinkers’ Club in Birmingham. It took two years, though, because the administration tried to block its formation. And here’s the predictable response from some of the schoolmates:

Regardless, Duncan got death threats from fellow students:

“One threatened to shoot me and every other atheist with a shotgun.”

Duncan and his family ultimately decided it wasn’t a serious threat and didn’t report it. But then there was the time a classmate tried to choke Duncan.

“I kinda kicked him, and he never touched me again,” he says matter-of-factly.

The former principal of the school tried to prevent the formation of the club, but the new principal supports it even though he’s a Christian:

Things have calmed down and the club is established, thanks partly to principal Dr. Todd Freeman, the club’s sponsor.

Freeman says, “Our kids have a right to meet. And they have a right to establish a club, and it’s not my prerogative to necessarily agree or disagree with positions of clubs, but it is my prerogative and responsibility to make sure they have the right to have the club. I could see where there would be resistance, but it’s not really a question because it’s law.”

Then Freeman, who happens to be a devout Christian, adds, “Duncan knows my particular spiritual beliefs as a Christian and so do his mom and dad, whom we have a great relationship with, and work very well with. They’re just very nice folks.”

Good for him.

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  • eric

    Nice to see there are some christian secularists in Alabama.

  • azportsider

    Well, one, anyway.

  • MikeMa

    How long before Dr Freeman starts to feel some heat?

  • tbp1

    Slight correction. The dateline of the article may be Birmingham, but it appears the club is in Auburn, a college town and hence a relatively liberal, relatively cosmopolitan, enclave in Alabama. My spouse is an Auburn High grad and some of my in-laws still live there, so I’ve been there quite a bit.

  • greg1466

    First the election results and now this. I’m not sure how to handle all of these signs of apparent national sanity in one week. Though I’m with MikeMa…I see a huge backlash against Dr Freeman coming. Hopefully he stands up for his students. The fact that his words indicate he understands the law gives me hope.

  • MikeMa


    I am not worried so much about Dr Freeman standing up for his students. He’s already done that and, as you say, he has the law to back him. I worry about violence against him, his property or family.

    The religious right is not always sane or even reasonable. /understatement

  • Jim

    MikeMa, they can be, but they aren’t always. I was “outed” as a liberal *gasp* and a progressive *shock* and an evolutionist *vapors* at my church, and while I’ve had some vitriol from the rank in file, the support from the people behind the pulpit, and from people who actually know me, has been surprisingly robust.

  • carlbenson

    As has been pointed out, I’m a graduate of Auburn High School, which resides in Auburn, AL. It is the quintessential college town and yes, vastly more liberal and educated than most of the state. I’m proud of Auburn leading the way here.

    And fwiw, Todd Freeman was my Asst. Baseball Coach. He’s the Nate Silver of baseball statistics and a great guy.

  • bourgect

    I thought Nate Silver was the Nate Silver of baseball statistics.

  • carlbenson

    Haha! touché!

  • Abby Normal

    Good news indeed. But sadly it’s one step forward, five steps back for Alabama. Roy Moore is once again chief justice.

  • MikeMa


    That this student club formed in one of the truly rare, progressive areas of the state may go some way to protecting the people and the law.

    You were ‘outed’, huh? Probably for the best and I’m glad you have not had too bad a time of it. Being open about your differing views may help other like-minded folks to speak up as well as persuade the haters to hate a little less. Not looking for a blue Alabama any time soon but there is hope.

  • Jim

    MikeMa, to be fair, I was outed in NH, which isn’t exactly fundy-friendly territory, despite what you may have heard, and they do take their “live free or die” pretty seriously.