At the University of Louisiana at Lafayette, the school newspaper The Vermilion recently gave a column to the priest of the school’s on-campus Catholic Church.
Scott C. Broussard helps run the Secular Student Alliance group at the school and he requested — and received! — the chance to write his own column in the paper. Call it a reasonable counterweight to the priest’s drivel.
His first column appeared this past week and focuses on the false notion that atheists are evil:
Being an open atheist in this country is an invitation for ostracism. We aren’t wanted. I’ve heard how we worship Satan, we’re idiots, we deserve to be killed, etc. Watch the YouTube video “Anything but an Atheist” and see how despised and misunderstood we are. Google “Jessica Ahlquist” or “Damon Fowler” — they’re teenage atheists who have been threatened by their communities.
Quarterback Tim Tebow is praised for Bible verses on his uniform — how much outrage would there be if he had written “No God?” It’s that double standard I want to fight.
My purpose is to discuss secular issues (in science, politics and society) and reach out to others who maybe don’t feel as comfortable being an atheist. To them: it’s OK. Admit that you’re a non-believer! Email me! You’re in the company of Thomas Jefferson, Daniel Radcliffe, Carl Sagan, Albert Einstein, Richard Feynman, Brad Pitt, Pat Tillman, Roger Ebert and even the Mythbusters. The more of us who speak up, the stronger we’ll be together.
Scott tells me he’s already “received several emails from closeted atheists” in response to the first column.
This is how you do it. You go public with your own atheism and then you help others build up the confidence to do the same. That’s tough to do anywhere, but especially at a Catholic-heavy campus. So hats off to Scott for taking a leadership role at his school!