High-schooler Elise Brown recently wrote this fantastic opinion piece for her community’s local paper regarding celebrating Christmas as an atheist and the importance of religious pluralism in our country. While it’s not online at the paper’s site, she reposted it here.
I love this excerpt, a response to Rick Perry‘s “Stronger” ad:
A statesman who insists that the national dialogue about religion must be limited to Christianity is no statesman at all.
We all have different beliefs and ways to celebrate the season of giving, but as Americans, we have shared values like respect and liberty that apply to us all. I may not agree with your belief structure, but I will always respect your right to believe it. Respect my right to believe what I believe in return.
I wish all of you a very merry Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, Ashura, Yule, Festivus, Solstice… whatever you celebrate, be proud that you have a right to celebrate it. Let nobody take that from you. Because liberty, especially of the mind and spirit, is the greatest gift of all.
Her dad tells me the mayor of West Linn, Oregon sent her a personal email thanking her for the piece and expressing his support for what she said. Nice!