Zack Kopplin Receives Hugh Hefner First Amendment Award

Zack Kopplin, the former high school student (now at Rice University), worked tirelessly to repeal the wrongly-named “Louisiana Science Education Act” — a bill which actually “encourages the state’s science teachers to miseducate their students about the scientific standing of evolution and climate change.”

Even though his work didn’t lead to a repeal, he’s now at least getting recognized for his efforts. He’s one of four recipients of the Hugh M. Hefner First Amendment Award:

… the award was established in 1979 and is intended to “honor individuals who have made significant contributions in the vital effort to protect and enhance First Amendment rights for all Americans. The award winners, many of whom are unsung heroes, come from various walks of life.” Kopplin will receive a cash award of $5,000 and a commemorative plaque.

… and a trip to the Playboy Mansion for the reception. (For Science!)

Congrats, Zack!

About Hemant Mehta

Hemant Mehta is the editor of Friendly Atheist, appears on the Atheist Voice channel on YouTube, and co-hosts the uniquely-named Friendly Atheist Podcast. You can read much more about him here.

  • judith sanders

    I’m curious about what kind of coverage his award will receive in LA.  Might be best for the God team if it wasn’t mentioned at all.

  • Tom_Nightingale

    I love that this award exists!

  • Fsq

    Way to go kid!!!!

    First Amenment rights are among the most crucial and important out there. And even within the atheist community, there is a subset that wishes to restrict speech and police thought….i’m looking at you camous-feminists and thise who feel we are either with you 100per ent or you are against us.

    Anytime something like this id awarded it is a great day.

    • Dan

      Your bit about feminists and the First Amendment sounds
      exactly like how Sarah Palin views the First Amendment: she doesn’t seem to
      understand that criticizing someone for saying something you disagree with
      isn’t trying to “restrict speech and police thought.”

      I really wish people would understand that using your First Amendment right to
      criticize what someone else says using their First Amendment right is an example
      of liberty, not denying liberty. Free speech is not the same thing as freedom
      from being criticized for your speech. 

  • Wahya

    I’m here in Louisiana, and no news outlet is saying anything at all anywhere in the state about this.  Go figure…

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100003168019842 Douglas Parfait

    Poor Jindal, he only made Governor.  Congrats Zack!

  • Carrie

    The award recipient did a great thing, and I’m glad it’s being recognized. Howeeeever, this strikes me the same way as when someone calls a woman a sexist slur for saying something racist. It’s the right idea (fighting bigotry) with the wrong execution (using sexism) to reinforce positive or punish negative behavior. Just sort of…sigh. 

  • Stephen R

    Not that I disagree with what the activist was fighting for, but in the end what he was doing was **silencing a certain viewpoint** (however silly that viewpoint may seem); which hardly seems a ringing example of defending Freedom of Speech.


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