At a Texas High School, Saying ‘Atheist’ Could Disrupt the Learning Process

While we’re on the subject of the challenges high school atheists are up against, the Secular Student Alliance group at La Porte High School in Texas wanted to put up flyers advertising their group. To make that happen, the school administration had to approve the design (a standard procedure at high schools).

When they submitted a design for approval, this is the message they got back from the principal:

The principal’s note at the top — in reference to the definition of an atheist — reads:

Will not allow this because it could disrupt the educational process at LPHS

Keep in mind they didn’t say, “God is evil” or “Religion is for fools” or anything designed to evoke a negative reaction from other students. They just flat out wrote what an atheist is. They said it wasn’t a bad word. They said atheists don’t believe in god. And yet, the principal thinks that could hurt the education process.

Someone please explain to me how that could be disruptive…

***Update***: This was posted on the LPHS SSA Facebook page:

Hello, everyone. This is Michael Carney, leader of this group. I’d like to thank you all for your support. It really means a lot. The poster situation is on its way to being resolved, and thanks to all of you, I think we’ll get a positive outcome. Again, thank you all. I really appreciate it.


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.

  • Andrew B.

    The word atheist is disruptive because it brings out the worst in Christians.

    • quantheory

      Bingo! You figured it out.

    • http://twitter.com/Kishin_D KishinD

      Basic education, like knowing the meaning of words, is disruptive to the indoctrination process at LDHS.  We sincerely believe that if students are exposed to honest information, they may one day grow up to accept global warming, evolution, or other man-made ideas that deny the truth and glory of Jesus, The Bible, Guns, and America.

      • culturegeek

        My thoughts exactly!  No, really. I didn’t see your post and said the same thing above.  Great minds and all that. 

      • Phill Kelsey

        funny how you still only listed man-made ideas…

        • http://roguemedic.com/ Rogue Medic

          Phill Kelsey,

          Is global warming a man-made idea or just the recognition of reality?

          With no understanding of global warming, would it be any less real?

          Is evolution a man-made idea or just the recognition of reality? 

          With no understanding of evolution, would it be any less real? 

          Is God a man-made idea? 

          With no indoctrination in any particular god, is God real? 

          .

      • https://twitter.com/#!/OffensivAtheist bismarket

         Mustn’t forget REVENGE. The death penalty is alive & well in many U.S. States.

    • mcsween

      Seems like that’s the Christians’ problem…

    • http://www.facebook.com/people/Rich-Weishar/100002680240242 Rich Weishar

      But why are we allowing a group of people get angry over a simple word? Christianity is shoved in the faces of everybody but if atheist is posted at a highschool, it becomes a case of respect and tolerance of their belief.

  • Alan Christensen

    Maybe the educational process would be harmed by the endless hissy fits of the believers.

  • http://twitter.com/remijdio Nick Johnson

    Did he cross through it enough times? It seems angry when someone X’s through something like that. yumadbro?
    Here’s a contact link to the principal
    http://sc.lpisd.org/education/components/form/default.php?sectiondetailid=24691

    • cdogzilla

      Thanks for posting that Nick, I put a copy of the note I sent to the principal up on my website. I hope he gets some feedback from around the country asking to reconsider. 
      http://cdogzilla.blogspot.com/2012/06/at-tx-high-school-saying-atheist-ist.html

    • http://mygodlesslife.blogspot.co.uk/ Tris

      Yup.

      Here’s mine; http://mygodlesslife.blogspot.co.uk/2012/06/at-texas-high-school-saying-atheist.html

    • http://profile.yahoo.com/UNR6HTFCTAM52O253LNTXE22SQ SweetPeet

      just thinking the same thing…  lots of negative emotion from the principal similar to crimes of passion…

    • aleatharhea

      Thanks for the link, Nick. I wrote a note.

  • Doug

    Someone needs a call from the FFRF

  • http://www.facebook.com/Hikari.Pop Crystal Jenae Hollis

    When I was little, the word “Atheist” gave me the same butterflies in my stomach as other cuss words and “satanist.” Boy was I misled. 

    • melizer

      I had butterflies when I caught a glimpse of the horoscopes in the newspaper, I would quickly turn the page with my face turned away. lol

  • quantheory

    Does this mean that teachers can’t mention atheism either (e.g. in social science, history, lit, my school had a philosophy class…)? Sounds like the principal re-invented a “Don’t Say Gay” rule here.

  • Declevidence

    The principal should publish all the censored words, all the words that are disruptive to define and disruptive to the learning process, that way they’ll be sure to not cause any disturbances….and while they’re at it, maybe they can decide about books that are disruptive, and language, and clothing, and body habitus, and race, and sexual orientation, and political beliefs, and……how about “they” just define the “in group” and get rid of anyone in the “out group”?….. what kind of learning process occurs when there is no challenge, no alternative view point, no interpretation, no critical analysis or thinking skills…let alone just learning the meaning of words…..    Obviously this person is not qualified to be an educator or principal.

    • eonL5

      This is exactly what you should send to the principal, I’d say!

  • http://twitter.com/_mikeweber Mike Weber

    They better remove all dictionaries from the school then; they contain the word “atheist” as well. 

    • http://dogmabytes.com/ C Peterson

      Don’t give them any ideas. They’re already rewriting the science and history textbooks to eliminate all those pesky facts that don’t square with their religious dogma. Dictionaries could be next on the list.

      • Complaingingbob

        come on, lets be fair, they also dropped the word capitalism because of the negative association with  “capitalist pig” to free-market economy (what a joke); and they added more about black violent movement part of the civil rights movement, couldn’t have the students thinking it was only non-violent protesting.  there were more changes than that, something about making it look like our founding fathers were wanting a christian nation.  We just need to keep the fundies out of any decision making roles.

    • http://roguemedic.com/ Rogue Medic

      I get the impression that it is the definition, rather than the word, that is more turbulent.

      Without an explanation from the principal, we do not know.

      They may have dictionaries that provide a different definition of “atheist.” Perhaps the suggestion of more than on god is the problem, even though the Bible never says that there are no other gods. It only says not to worship them. o_O

      .

  • http://dogmabytes.com/ C Peterson

    Someone please explain to me how that could be disruptive…

    You haven’t spent much time in Texas, have you?

    How could the concept of “atheist” not be disruptive to what passes as education in that state?

    • littlejohn

      Um, this is in Illinois, not Texas.

      • http://dogmabytes.com/ C Peterson

        You sure about that?

      • Patrick D

         Um, no – I’m reading “Texas High School” in the headline, with further reference to that state in the article.

      • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_P4OGGMQ374PDQTGOWEVIVOFH2I Sheldon H

         Um, where the hell did you get Illinois? The headline says “Texas high school,” and if you do a quick Google search for La Porte High School, you get this:  http://sc.lpisd.org/education/school/school.php?sectionid=8

      • Blah

        La Porte High School. not Lincoln Park High School.

    • Comoc1

      Gotta straighten this out. I went to this high school. It’s not a bad school. Just like any other state in this country, there are some intolerant people. I’m quite sick of seeing so many Americans singling out Texas as full of “red neck retarded intolerant hicks”! Yes, there are some of those here, but I can assure you, from first hand experience, MANY intelligent and good hearted people have and will graduate from this school. In fact, my class was composed of some of the smartest most competitive people I have ever met.

      • http://dogmabytes.com/ C Peterson

        The simple fact is that Texas is full of “red neck retarded intolerant hicks”. Their legislators continuously demonstrate this, and their citizens do so, as well (not least because they keep electing the same sort of cretins).

        I fully realize that this does not mean that every Texan is a moron. But the state, like all those in the south, has more than its fair share, and I believe the stereotype is quite fairly used.

      • http://profile.yahoo.com/RMSD7LRGWOJYD274IZD6BQOUJI Emily

        I went to a high school right next to this high school.  You are in denial.  Texas is CHOCK FULL of intolerant hicks.  Sure, not EVERYONE is an intolerant hick, but having grown up in this state and living here for 24 years, it is absolutely backwards in most places.

        Oh and for the record my biology teacher taught creationism in class, my government teacher (a coach) ranted that if gays are ever allowed to marry then people will start marrying their dogs, and my volleyball coach said that the reason we kept losing games was because we weren’t praying enough, and then proceeded to make us read the bible during practice.  I complained about all of these teachers to the principal and no action was taken, probably because our principal was very religious (Christian) as well.

        In short, Texas education is a joke, and I am speaking from first-hand experience.  Quit living in denial.

        • Faerythewarriorprincess

          This really does depend on where in Texas you live.  I live near Austin, and it was not like what you describe.  However, I have also spent the last 4 years in Waco, which has over 150 Baptist churches, and it is much more like your description.  Some places in Texas are extremely religious, some are not.  We can’t judge a whole state based only on one person’s experience.

          As to the education, that is highly dependent on the schools you go to and the teachers you have.  On the whole, I received a very good education.  In 12 years of school in Texas, I only had one teacher who ever brought his religion in to the class room.  Of course, this only reflects my experience, and can’t be used to generalize about the state of education in Texas as a whole.  Education here certainly has problems, but education has problems all over the country.  

      • Zmixtli

        I have no doubt that many intelligent, good hearted people, yada yada yada…we just lament the fact they are in the vast minority….

    • https://twitter.com/#!/OffensivAtheist bismarket

       God’s agin it, the bibles agin it & i’m agin it!

  • NewEnglandBob

    How can it be disruptive? It might explode those rigid religious pea brains. The ones that have never been taught how to think.

    • http://www.facebook.com/muscleheadbob Robert Germanovich

      whatchu crazy atheist commies tryin to say the earth aint 6000 years old and people didnt live with dinosaurs.. carbon dating my foot. (they dont even know how crazy this sounds)whenever christians talk, i hear voice of Early from Squidbillies talking about “america was founded by jesus”… makes me laugh.

      • T-Rex

        Well, the Flintstones was a documentary after all…wasn’t it?

  • http://www.etsy.com/shop/skeletaldropkick Skeletal Dropkick

    There is so much irony in that principal’s note that is hurts…

  • Tiktaalik

    What he meant to say was “Will not allow the freedom of speech to be in my school because I disagree with this group.”

  • William Snedden

    It’s probably disruptive at LPHS similar to the way pictures of Muhammad can be “disruptive”…

  • Glasofruix

    Man that awful handwriting suits better a 13 yo girl rather than a grown man/woman…

    • Mike in LAS

      And the Random use of Capital Letters….

      • Fsq

        pick your battles. That is just petty and distracting. And really, with the advent of keyboards and computers, hand writing is a rarity and not often employed or practiced. This seems like a very petty quibble.

        • Glasofruix

           Uh no, I write pretty much daily.

          • Fsq

            And I fly helicopters and airplanes at least three times a week, yet, the general population does not…..and most people really do not use handwritten skills anymore.

            • http://yetanotheratheist.com/ TerranRich

              I shouldn’t bother continuing to teach my children to write then, should I?

              • Fsq

                I don’t give a good damn what you do to your kids, as long as you don’t follow Catholic priest leads.

            • Glasofruix

              You’re not the first one to say that handwriting is useless, the thing is that every person who said that to me lives the US. I don’t know what’s happening in there, but in Europe it’s still taught and used extensively, some companies even ask for handwritten cover letters (needless to say that someone with the principal’s handwriting will not be hired).

              • Fsq

                Fair enough.

                And to be fair, my work is all keyboards, laptops and iPads, with a rare day spent scribbling in small notebooks.

        • Marsha

          No, actually that’s what I noticed too… not for “petty and distracting” reasons (I hope) but rather for analytical (again, I hope) reasons.  It looks like something is not quite as it seems…

          It looks like 2 different people wrote the notes and *to me* it looks almost like a younger person reacting to what an adult said.  I could imagine a disgruntled kid coming back from being “talked to” by an adult and then writing the upper portion, simply neglecting the sarcastic pre-amble of “that &%!* teacher said to me:”. 

          I don’t know but I think I will wait for more info on this one… 

          • Glasofruix

            ^This, when i saw the note and the “crossing” i immediately thought it was a kid’s doing.

        • http://twitter.com/FelyxLeiter Felyx Leiter

          He’s a high school principal.  The man should understand capitalization.

          • http://twitter.com/FelyxLeiter Felyx Leiter

            (or woman)

    • the other jenny

      You can tell it’s a grown-up writing because it’s missing the obligatory smiley-hearts dotting the “I”s. 

    • http://profiles.google.com/julielada Julie Lada

       You haven’t spent a whole lot of time reading medical charts, have you?

      • Glasofruix

        It’s not awful as unreadable, it looks childish.

  • Justin Miyundees

    It is disruptive to the status quo not only at this school, but nationally.  The culture in the US is so hardwired to Christianity that the entire US economy and infrastructure will collapse (no it won’t) if a high school student offers an alternative to theocracy that “the right” is so close to instituting.  [So much for the myth of a liberal education system.]  
    Funny part is, the entire US economy and infrastructure will also collapse (no it won’t) if Christians fail to hold majority status as well.  This is what’s so delightful about Christians – they fail to demonstrate an ability for abstract thought – “what if we were not the majority?” never enters their heads.  Or if it does, they go all Baby Jane on the idea – “but you are in the wheelchair Blanche!” and go on their merry delusional bullying way and violate the separation of church & state at every opportunity the way God intended (no he doesn’t).

  • Lee Miller

    We all know that “atheism” is a code word for “satan worship and child sacrifice.”  We can’t let those kinds of things into school in a Christian country, by God!

  • Justin Miyundees

    On a technical note, your pull quote is incorrect.  It isn’t “disrupt the educational process at LPHS”, it’s “Disrupt the Educational Process at LPHS”.  

    See the difference?  It’s like “my struggle” compared to “My Struggle”.

    • http://twitter.com/Cafeeine Cafeeine

      Is that like the most understated Godwinning ever?

    • http://www.flickr.com/photos/chidy/ chicago dyke, orphan

      i kinda think so, Cafeeine.

      Justin wins the thread/. 

  • http://www.facebook.com/muscleheadbob Robert Germanovich

    texas is not going to handle the whole “round earth” knowledge movement as easily as the rest of the country. you have to remember, they’re the taliban of christianity down there. I’m surprised there aren’t modern day witch trials. Watch that episode of Big Bang Theory where Sheldon says (in front of his Texan mother) “i’ll just stay here and teach evolution to creationists”. His mother, who knows he is a genius, says at the top of her lungs “AND THAT IS YOUR OPINION” to which he calmly replies “facts are not opinions, they’re facts” and she replies even louder “AND THAT IS YOUR OPINION”. Taliban of christianity folks, taliban of christianity.

    • AtheistInTexas

      i’m assuming you live here in Texas and can confirm this statement? I’ve been here 30 years and haven’t really experienced any of that craziness you claim. “Taliban of Christianity”… pft – maybe you forgot the Westboro Baptist people reside in Kansas…

      • http://www.facebook.com/muscleheadbob Robert Germanovich

        nope, no desire to even enter that state. between the perforated border, the crazy christians, the slaying of americans by drug dealers invading from the south, i’m content to remain up here in the great northeast.

        • AtheistInTexas

          AH! well if we’re just taking generalizations based on one’s region, you must be one of those pretentious,  only cares for themselves, self absorbed, rude, a-holes from the northeast I hear so much about! 

          • Mjwebber03

            Atheistintexas, and you just made yourself look like a fool

            • http://www.facebook.com/muscleheadbob Robert Germanovich

              he was demonstrating the Texas brand of tolerance. Notice he did not contest the slayings or drug dealers.

              • Travis Dykes

                I grew up in San Antonio, have driven end to end across the state several ways (up/down, east/west, slantways/sideways), and still go back fairly often, and I completely agree with Athiestintexas’s appraisement of things, in the cities where the majority of Texas’s population is, the religious people tend to be run of the mill religious, there are plenty of non-religious, and everyone seems to get along.  In the smaller towns, especially the north east and parts of the panhandle, you get some real crazies (great example, Glenrose… (go there if you want examples of crazies in Texas to bitch about) but even in towns like Glenrose I would have trouble saying that EVERYONE there is a religious fundamentalist.  Looking at the whole of a state, I found the religious nut-bags to be far more prominent in Colorado (where I went to college) than they are in Texas.  There maybe some sampling bias there, but the area I grew up in in Texas is fairly conservative, and Ft. Collins, Co is really liberal, so maybe the bias is in the other direction. 

                 As for the drug cartels and killings, very little of the violence is on this side of the border, and what violence there is is fairly comparable to gang/drug related violence in other major US cities.  San Antonio, where me and my wife are from is on one of the major travel routes from the border to the rest of the nation (i.e. where the drugs are going to travel from the boarder north and east) and drug related violence has not really changed at all in the time since when Mexico was considered safe 10 years ago and now.  My wife also lived out in west Texas about 150 miles away from the border and 4 hours from Juarez (which by west Texas standards is a hop, skip, and a jump away), in a town thats on one of the major highway routs from the border to the rest of the country, and it was a really safe town.  As mentioned above El Passo is reported to be one of the safest cities in the US and its directly across the boarder from Juarez.  So IDK where your getting your information from other than personal bias but I think you can stop now.  
                 Robert Germanovich, your arguments about Texas sucking, aside from not being based on facts are completely off topic here.

            • T-Rex

              I dunno, I live in south Florida and I run to annoying, rude, pushy A-holes from the northeast every day. I also run into ignorant, delusional, red neck idiots from the South, naive, Bible thumping midwesterners, liberal, tofu eating, vegan A-wipes from the west coast etc.. We’re a diverse bunch here in south Florida. Aren’t stereotypes great? Anyways, stereotypes are based on observable patterns and are mostly true so don’t get all huffy when someone whips one out on you based on your race, gender, accent, etc.. Now if I could just get around this crappy Asian drive in front me.

              • Viscant

                Many stereotypes are blatantly false, actually. 

              • http://roguemedic.com/ Rogue Medic

                Do you have any evidence to demonstrate that stereotypes are mostly true, rather than mostly superficial?

                .

            • Complainingbob

              NO he did not, you are generalizing, Texas is really fucking big, the majority of the population resides in 4 major cities, sure the small towns may have more than there fair share of the crazies but what small towns across the nation don’t.  Austin is as liberal and secular as could want.  Yes, there are way to many churches and they are vocal about it, but lets not insult people for not wanting to be generalized in with the crazies.

              • aleatharhea

                It is true that Austin is a liberal oasis in Texas. And it is really a shame that we progressives get lumped in (or feel like we get lumped in) with the vast conservative wasteland.

                It’s also a shame that Texas Republicans have gerrymandered the districts to the point where they’ve locked in an unrepresentative power 
                imbalance. And so guess what? The Republicans are always the ones you see on TV… in Austin! Right in front of the Texas capital building! There they are on national television, right-wing extremists speaking at their 10th grade level, standing in front of a recognizable symbol of Austin, which is an educated, progressive city! Oh, how we hate the rest of the nation thinking they represent us in any way, shape or form.

            • http://roguemedic.com/ Rogue Medic

              I got the impression it was satire. 

              I am from the northeast..

          • AtheistInOklahomaLol

            I live in Oklahoma (sadly) and visit Texas often. I can confirm that there are plenty of crazy fundies in both of these states. It’s called the fucking bible belt, AtheistInTexas, deal with it. Just because your sample size and 30 years of ‘experience’ haven’t proven this true, it still is.

            • http://www.facebook.com/muscleheadbob Robert Germanovich

              he wants us to believe that there are more atheists there than here. doesn’t hold water, but it just may walk on it.

              • AtheistInTexas

                no, not at all, at least not as a percentage of  the state population. But people are A LOT more tolerant than you make them out to be – at least in the cities.

                • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=725821262 Alerik Hoeh

                   There is apparently a huge disparity between the large cities and the bulk of Texas which is glaringly obvious in voting patterns.  I don’t have any maps that show this on hand, but I’ve seen them.

                • AtheistInTexas
                • aleatharhea

                  The thing about the “voting maps”, Alerik, is that they don’t accurately reflect the political leanings of the population.
                  http://www.huffingtonpost.com/lou-dubose/texas-redistricting-gerrymandering_b_1223195.html

                  But regardless of the growing black and Hispanic populations and the educated progressive population, it is undeniably true that Texas does have a huge percentage of ultra right-wing bigots and Christian extremists. And yes, AtheistInTexas, sorry, but my junior high and high schools were shot through with them. If your particular circle of friends during your particular year in your particular school wasn’t so bad, then I’m happy for you. But to declare that the rest of us didn’t go through hell with those bigots is just myopic.

                  I’m happy to report that some of those people went away to college and became decent human beings, but others are the same narrow-minded, repressive Jihadist bigots they always were.

              • http://roguemedic.com/ Rogue Medic

                Where did anyone state that there are more atheists in Texas than in Germanovichland?

                In what way does the relative number of atheists justify your bias?

                .

            • lovememyColbert!

              I think the state of Florida, which I am a native, has to be the craziest christian state……for gawd sake the people here elected Rick Scott, and he has a huge christian base…..

              • Bill the Cat

                 Rick Scott – to those of you not familiar – holds the records for pleading the 5th during congressional hearings. (75 IIRC) He was president of the medical company with the largest amount of medicare  over billings.  (Also in the state of ignorance called Florida.)

          • AtheistInVirgina

            Little defensive atheist in Texas? I have lived in Texas for 3 years at one time and Robert is pretty spot on

        • http://www.facebook.com/scott.trimble.0 Scott Trimble

           The  border is not nearly so perforated as the right would have you believe. The Christians are no more crazy here than elsewhere. Most of the loony ones that have made headlines lately have not been in Texas (i.e electrified fence guy is in NC; end of the world guy is in FL, I think; WBC is based in Kansas, as noted above; the kid singing the anti-gay song in church was in Indiana….). And the drug cartels do not generally “invade” or kill people on the US side of the border. Juarez, where some of the worst cartel-related violence has occurred, is just across the border from El Paso, which is one of the safest cities in the US.

          I have lived all my 45 years in Texas, and it does suck, but for the most part not for the reasons you give. I hate it because it’s too conservative, and too f***ing hot!

          • aleatharhea

            I agree with Scott Trimble on every point!

            Robert, Texas is HUGE. You have to drive 8, 10 or even 12 hours to go from border to border. Even if crazed drug mules were pouring over the border murdering people (they’re not), most of us live nowhere NEAR that border. But there simply is no illegal immigrant-related violence on the US side of the border, apart from occasional border patrol agent excessive force against Mexicans nationals while in custody.

            The only sign most Texans ever see of illegal immigration is Mexican laborers working for companies that enthusiastically invite them to jobs that pay far below minimum wage. The maintenance men in apartments and rent houses where I’ve lived, for example. They spoke no English, so may have been illegal… Nice, polite, working hard for pitance, but nonetheless, illegal.

            I agree with Scott: The only things that make Texas suck are the unbearable heat and the conservative bent. He’s really being very mild, saying it’s too conservative. But I’d say  it’s got a lot of ultra-right wing, intolerant, anti-education religious extremist bigots, who have gerrymandered their chosen criminals (many of them convicted) into permanent positions of power, where they can wage their Jihad on the rest of the unfortunate citizenry, who just want to have an equitable society, protect the Earth for their children and advance science for humankind.

        • http://roguemedic.com/ Rogue Medic

          I love Big Bang Theory, but I don’t mistake it for a documentary.

          Are you trying to mock the Freedom Fries movement, or are you really this biased based on geography?

          .

      • Val0221

        I lived in Texas for 30 years and I can tell you that the word “atheist” is equal to saying “baby killer” or “Hitler.”  I the town I grew up in (Lytle) this is still the norm.  So far, I am the only person who dares to declare to be an atheist.  I now live in San Diego (thank God) but thanks to Facebook I get to debate all of them daily. 

        • AtheistInTexas

          Just different experiences I suppose. I live and work in Houston, my boss, landlord, and family all know I am atheist. Still have a job, a  house, and a family – guess they don’t think “baby killer” or “Hitler” are that bad…

          • Bruce Heerssen

            I also live in Houston, and (mostly) grew up here. It is true that Texas is, generally speaking, very religious. But it is also true that there are a lot of atheists and nonreligious, especially in the big cities. I’m a very social person, and the people I meet run the gamut of religious belief, from atheism to fundamentalism of all stripes.

            I’m of two minds about LaPorte’s decision. On the one hand, I think such a sign could prove potentially disruptive to the learning environment. On the other hand, free speech is important, and such disruption could provide a very teachable moment to a good educator.

      • Kimmiedeckard

        You’ve never experienced it? What about the article in discussion? Sounds pretty sick to me!

      • stormkite

        Yep.  He’s right. 

        Not everywhere, of course, and if you’re not apparently a member of the clan they’ll put the front on and you won’t see through it…  but.  If you appear to be part of the family, the crazy comes out…. and it is the pure stuff, 120 percent straight religious/racial psychosis, the kind that’s beyond any form of treatment.

      • Wil600p

        yeah but, they dont have any power to do anything where as the religious right, in this state, has their fingers jn everything.

      • AquaBuddha

        I’ve lived in this shit hole my entire life. The only thing worse than the fundies here are the every day people. The people here are selfish and ignorant despite their worship of someone who preached the opposite.

        I don’t understand how the state of Texas can be filled with so many assholes when it’s in between so many other nice states and countries. Mexico has some problems, but they’re all generally nice people. Oklahoma has some problems, too, but at least they’re not shitty about it. Texas is the only state I’ve resided in that has people who will say “Praise Jesus!” while they’re thinking of who to stab in the back next.

        I’ve been nice to everyone I’ve ever met, disregarding their religious background or preferences because none of that really matters if that person is a good person. That’s why Texas sucks so hard, as it’s the only southern state I’ve experienced where “southern hospitality” becomes “southern duplicity.”

        Oh, and the beach looks like something somebody with dysentery shat out after eating too much beef and broccoli.

        • AtheistInTexas

          where in Texas are you that you are around these people you claim?

        • Travis Dykes

          Your beach comment pretty acuratly describes the whole of the 3rd coast, which is in large part due to all of the under-regulated oil drilling done in the gulf (Florida has much tighter restrictions, so their beaches on the gulf are a lot nicer).  Not really a commentary on the state.  Id also really like to know where in Texas your living that people are such assholes.  Ive lived in several small towns and not seen this as well as in San Antonio which is one of the friendlier cities Ive lived in.  Also I dont see how you can compare it to other southern states you’ve lived in if
           you’ve lived in Texas all your life…  Your description of Texans as “people who will say “Praise Jesus!” while they’re thinking of who to stab in the back next.” probably accurately describes people in every state, but Ive not seen any evidence of it being especially problematic in Texas.  Maybe some parts of East Texas, but no more so than here in Louisiana where Im living right now.  I also found your coment about Texas being surrounded by so many nice states to be rather hillarious.  Louisiana is the kind of state where the issues mentioned in the original post here wouldn’t happen because there arnt enough people in a school who are non-believers to make a club much less have their posters rejected by the school, who would literally paddle them for trying…  Oklahoma is another state thats kinda a shining example of a state run by the religious.  New Mexico in my experience seems pretty close to Texas on these things, but they dont have a high enough population to make the news as often.  Finally, if you dont like living in Texas, what is it that has kept you living there your whole life?  I get a job keeping you someplace for a few years, or family for longer, but your whole life?

    • Austinite

      Um, you realize that show is not a documentary, right? It’s a comedy show, probably one not written by texans. I can take a joke, but I can’t accept it as evidence of anything relevant here.

      I have family that will occasionally post something backasswards on FB, and when I try to correct them, they wiggle out of the discussion by accusing me of ‘intellectual elitism’ or similar, but we can generally agree to disagree. I also have family (including myself) who never voted for either Bush (and they are not from Texas, by the way) . Or perry, for that matter. I grew up in a small town near FW (not really a district town now, just a suburb) and I can tell you religion in schools is a-ok with a lot of people here. But now I live in Austin and we continue to fight the good fight despite long odds (and, as others have noted, other cities also have a strong liberal faction).

      So, yes, we deserve a lot of the shit we’re taking here, but we are not uniformly republican morons. I think we’d do better to focus on the crime rather than the only-partially-deserved stereotypes.

      • Austinite

        F’in autocorrect! *distinct

        And my own mistake: should have been clearer. My family has been here for generations. The Bushes moved here to dodge taxes.

  • http://netwrok.us/videos/ Viral Videos

    I think she should cross it out a few more times, she didn’t quite allow her personal emotions to interfere with her professional work as much as she could have.

    • http://www.facebook.com/people/Bruce-Dame/1437602178 Bruce Dame

      Those gentle strokes seem to be a subtle hint that free speech and freedom from religion, both guaranteed by the US Constitution’s First Amendment, are verboten en der Texas, as a Nazi would say!

  • Hypersapien

    What learning process?

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Bruce-Wright/1451447525 Bruce Wright

    I wonder if a sign reading this would pass muster (I’m betting it would) :

    “Christian:  It’s not a bad word.  It just means someone who loves Jesus!”

    • NickDB

       Christian, it’s not a bad word. It just means someone who believes in Jesus yet ignores most of his “love thy neighbour” teachings.

  • Fsq

    somehow “Texas” and “educational process” seems a bit oxymoronic.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Adam-Patrick/100000027906887 Adam Patrick

    Wow, those atheists are getting aggressive! They are telling us what atheists are now.  What’s next? /sarcasm

  • http://twitter.com/emilyhasbooks Emily Dietle

    Show your support for the Secular Students at LPHS & like their facebook page: http://www.facebook.com/pages/LPHS-Secular-Student-Alliance/111614505622865

  • http://www.holytape.etsy.com Holytape

    Someone please explain to me how that could be disruptive…

    JESUS!!!1!!!!1

  • http://www.everydayintheparkwithgeorge.com/ Matt E

    I see we all noticed the hyper-emotional crossing out and capitalization. Clearly the “A” word and the idea of atheists being ok people offended the (almost certainly Christian) sensibilities of the principal. After seeing that I was a little surprised to see that the SSA meeting info was ok’d; you wold think someone so emotionally agitated would just reject the whole thing. Then I noticed that the rejection was written in cursive while the ok’d section was printed and in what looks (to my admittedly inexpert opinion) to be a different person’s handwriting.

    anybody else get the impression that the principal had her hissy fit and the someone else further down saw the lawsuit danger and took mitigating steps?

    • http://friendlyatheist.com Richard Wade

      That’s a very astute observation. Perhaps this is a glimpse of the intraoffice tension behind the scenes at La Porte High School.  Someone with a cooler head has learned how to deal with an emotional Principal by offering placating compromises.

    • http://www.everydayintheparkwithgeorge.com/ Matt E

      In the cause of accuracy and to point out both that 1) atheists, like everybody else, can jump to unwarranted conclusions and 2) atheists generally find it easier to self-correct and abandon said conclusions, I would like to make the following correction.

      Based on the gender terminology of other commenters, I was operating under the assumption that the principal in question was a woman. I did not do appropriate fact-checking until after I posted. I have since found out that the principal of LPHS is a man so: the last sentence should read “…the principal had his hissy fit…” My apologies for the inaccuracy. 

  • Ida Know

    could Disrupt the Educational Process = might Make the Students Think!  And we Can’t Have That!

  • Ronlawhouston

    In Texas, we don’t need Gods, we have principals.  They really are lord and master of their domains.  That makes them the sole arbiter of what is “disruptive.”  With no offense to the members of the La Porte SSA, they need to remember that their fellow classmates are probably not exactly enlightened.  Sure, we don’t find it disruptive but those red state rednecks are easily disrupted.

  • tgoral

    They have a valid point — It might disrupt the education process by making people actually think, and they can’t have that.

  • gorillasandbananas

    I’m an atheist and like most atheists, I’m secularist, but I’m pretty sure the words “atheist” and “secularist” do not mean the same thing. A secularist is someone who believes in the separation of Church and State. The president of Americans United for the Separation of Church and State is a Baptist minister, one of the board members is a Rabbi. So, why not define “Secularist” instead of “atheist” on the poster? 

  • http://twitter.com/Scone_Mason Scone_Mason

    Learning about reality is disruptive in a state where George W. Bush and Rick Perry  can be elected governor.

  • http://friendlyatheist.com Richard Wade

    The principal disallows the definition of “atheist,” and allows the part at the very bottom about the SSA and its objective, BUT the principal seems to be too embarrassed to take a stand, yes or no, on the statement in the middle over the flag, “America was founded on equality, respect and tolerance.”

    Perhaps he or she realizes it’s irony and hypocrisy if that statement is allowed, and it’s an ugly, anti-American attitude if it is disallowed.

  • http://winlb.wordpress.com/ ToonForever

    My note to the principal:

    I’m writing about your poor decision to excise the word “atheist” and accompanying explanation from your school’s Secular Student Alliance flyer.  

    How does explaining a club’s position disrupt education?  Would you consider the Christian club defining “Christian” on their flyer “disruptive,” I wonder?

    How can learning, discussing, and debate be disruptive?  Is not the sharing and discussing of contrary ideas part and parcel of the educational process?  Does not the open airing of conflicting ideas encourage students to think, to analyze, and to consider all of the available viewpoints around a certain topic?  Does this not encourage them to be open to the ideas of others rather than close-minded and intolerant?  Does this not encourage them to make more informed choices for themselves, and when they’re adults, for their families and workplaces?

    One would be hard pressed not to think you are specifically marginalizing a group of students with whom you disagree.  One might even think you’ve simply denied those whose lack of belief in the prevalent religious thought of your community offends you.

    I know I speak for many when I say how disappointed I am that students in this modern age still have to battle this unfair, unbalanced treatment just because they don’t conform to the religious majority.

    I hope you will reconsider your stance on denying this student group the same opportunity to express their purpose that other groups in your school surely enjoy.

  • Antbombo86

    GoodAfternoon,I am writing to you today to express my outrage at your blocking of a poster meant to inform students what the proper meaning of an Atheist is. I would like to ask what is disruptive about it? This is typical christianity at work. Block anything that has the potential to open peoples eyes to the fallacy of your beliefs. Do we not live in a country where all types of beliefs are allowed to be practiced and discussed? All these students wanted to do was inform other like minded (FREE thinkers) that there is a proper and friendly forum for them to get together and discuss their views, opinions and beliefs. Your action on this matter is the center of the problem in our country in regards to stifling the first ammendement. When something like this is shot down it looks nothing more then a theist questioning their own beliefs and “faith” and in fear rejects the opportunity for others rights to question said beliefs. This is a highschool where young minds are learning and growing to be the leaders of the future generation. Why would you stymie this process? Your actions are deplorable at best and i would ask that you reconsider such a poor decision….so i may have taken a more passive aggressive aproach but what can ya do. I hope he is inundated with emails. Thanks for posting the address.

  • Judy Lynne

    I emailed this to the principal: Why would you fear atheists, who have been shown by rigorous study to act more humanely than the religious, who do good for fellow man because they know it’s right all by themselves, and who simply want to feel free in this American society to not believe in any god or gods? We are your friends, relatives, family, doctors, neighbors and volunteers. Please get past the mob psychology that brought us The Red Scare. People are all basically good, believers and nonbelievers. Let us gather just the same as other groups. Let the word ‘atheist’ be seen. It’s not a bad word. It’s not a religion. It has nothing to do with evil or your devil. We’re just people. Let us been seen without knee jerk animosity. You can help us all learn about each other or you can foster fear. Do the right thing for our all-inclusive, loving America.

  • CultOfReason

    Just curious…I would ask the principal if the word “Theist” was also disruptive.  How about “Christian”, “Muslim”, “Jew”?  Are any of those words disruptive as well?   If not, why not?

  • Homerman81

    Principals these days are businessmen, not teachers.  They usually don’t know much about ‘the learning process.’  Looks to me like he has discussed this with the kids before, can’t back up his intolerant position and is now getting angry about it.

  • JamesNCleveland
  • Kodie

    I don’t know but maybe thinking that it’s promoting a “religious” viewpoint? It’s also the reason I wouldn’t get into teaching – parents. It might instigate bullying, which would be disruptive, it might instigate parents of students who pull their kids out of school, or at best, have a witch hunt. The principal said it was ok to have meetings, even if he crossed out quite violently what the meetings would be about, and probably should have corrected the extraneous comma in the part that was allowed to be on the poster.

    Although I do have an alternate viewpoint – that hindering open discussion is antithetical to the education process, perhaps heading off a lot of nonsense (rather than civil discussion of alternate points of view) was the goal. I can just imagine working in a school system is a lot of avoiding bullshit traps and uproars where nothing actually gets accomplished. As for the “atheist in texas” comments about us northeasterners, well, the Atheist “good without god” posters on the subway all got vandalized (some with vulgar or violent intentions, and I thought we were less agitated about religious privilege up here, and more of a weenie “coexist” sort of place – but not for atheists.  That’s just the subway in Boston, I can imagine a poster in a school in Texas isn’t going to get a lot of respect. Mostly because I think a lot of teenagers just aren’t thinking for themselves and if indoctrinated in thick Christian values, are going to act more impulsively. I know that’s ageist, a lot of teens aren’t like this, but the school has to act on eggshells as if this sign is a fucking time bomb, I wouldn’t push it. They’re allowed to have meetings, and even put the flag on their sign. I thought Christians thought they owned the flag. Seems a principal allowing a meeting of utter Communists in his school (I am speculating his plausible views), even allowing those commies to use the flag, is fine by me. They can tell the attendees what an atheist is when they come to see what this flag USA meeting is about.

  • JamesM

    They should post the flyers just like that.

  • Edward Tarte

    Following my departure from the Catholic priesthood in May 1968, I taught middle school math in the LaPorte TX school district for 17 consecutive school  (Sept. 1968-May 1985).  I distinctly remember one question on the application for employment:  “Do you believe in a Supreme Being?”  I answered yes, truthfully, since it would be many years before I would become an atheist.  I have no difficulty imagining the frustrations that any  student or group of students would encounter in trying to get a Secular Student Alliance group started at LaPorte High School.

    • CultOfReason

       Edward,

      Is it even legal to ask that question?

  • http://friendlyatheist.com Richard Wade

    Here’s what I sent to the Principal:

    @font-face {
    font-family: “Times New Roman”;
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    }p.MsoNormal, li.MsoNormal, div.MsoNormal { margin: 0in 0in 0.0001pt; font-size: 14pt; font-family: Arial; }table.MsoNormalTable { font-size: 10pt; font-family: “Times New Roman”; }div.Section1 { page: Section1; }

    To the Principal at La Porte High School:

     

    It is very disappointing and alarming to see that you have
    redacted a simple and accurate description of the word “atheist” in the flyer submitted
    to you by the Secular Student Alliance, repeatedly crossed out with apparent
    emotional intensity, and with the rationalization that it would “Disrupt the
    Educational Process at LPHS.”

     

    Apparently what you mean by “educational process” is a
    process of indoctrination into Christian privilege and intellectual
    intolerance.

     

    If that simple display of the word “atheist” would be so
    disruptive, then whatever control you have over your school is based on
    authoritarian suppression rather than based on respect for various and
    differing views.

     

    Are you and the faculty and students at LPHS so afraid of a
    mere word?  Are you all so timid
    that a viewpoint that differs from the majority is so intimidating that you
    must suffocate it?  If your
    objection to a simple word has its roots in your religion, is your faith so weak,
    delicate, and fragile that it cannot withstand even the thought that
    non-believers actually exist, and that they’re perfectly ordinary and decent
    people?  

     

    Will your faith crumble if you give up your prejudice?

     

    I noticed that you did not cross out the statement over the
    American flag, “America was founded on equality, respect and tolerance.” Are
    you too embarrassed by the irony and hypocrisy if you make it clear that you disallow
    that statement too? You clearly do not agree with it.

     

    I urge you to reconsider your ill-informed reflex and to
    permit the entire SSA flyer as it was submitted. It is not negative, or “disruptive”
    or inflammatory in any way. Let your students be exposed to the reality that
    not everyone has to be exactly like them as if they were all stamped out of a
    machine. If anyone makes a disruption about it, that will be a teachable
    moment. That will be your opportunity to establish your authority based on
    intellectual integrity and the principal of tolerance, rather than based on the
    cowardly suppression of differing views.

     

    Yours truly,

    Richard Wade

     

    • Fsq

      If that simple display of the word “atheist” would be so disruptive, then whatever control you have over your school is based on authoritarian suppression rather than based on respect for various and differing views.

      —- Dick, that was an absolutely brilliant deduction and fantastic tidbit to give to the principle. Truly.

      That was well done.

      • http://friendlyatheist.com Richard Wade

        Thank you.

  • Tim K.

    “You keep using those words, I don’t think they mean what you think they mean”

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Chris-Leithiser/593361421 Chris Leithiser

    They should post an exact reproduction of that poster with the scribbling intact.

  • Gusty822

    It’s disruptive because it brings doubt to everything Christians have been taught

  • http://twitter.com/moother moother

    To me it’s entirely obvious that dictionary definitions are disruptive to the education process… 

    Fuckwit:  A very stupid person.

  • Dholifield

     If you think you need to educate people to accept it is a bad word  then it is disruptive.  Clearly the principle thinks it IS a bad word and he/she will censor opinions that disagree with his/hers.  Probably he/she thinks it is good to censor in this case because they believe their opinion not only just an opinion but is the objective, absolute truth of the matter.   In that case, education can’t be distinguished from indoctrination.  

  • dr. erniepaul izereckt

    COCK -O-MAYMEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE BULLSHEET INDEED:)(;

  • GUEST

    QUICK! SOMEONE CALL THE ACLU!

  • Rodger

    I’ve lived in Texas for forty-three years, so far, and yes, atheists are reviled. Ads advocating freethought organizations in theatres have been cancelled after contracts were signed, bus ads rejected while christian ads are accepted, and rejection of billboards for “objectionable content” when the only text is the word “Atheists” and a web address. 
    These folks don’t seem to want to be reasoned with. Our very existence offends them, and acknowledging that existence yields cries of  “Stop persecuting the christians!”  Orwell would recognize this place right off, with no hints.

  • Derrick__Casey

    I’d send it around without approval anyways.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/JS-Rogers/616084796 JS. Rogers

    Maybe the principle is afraid that these Atheist students are more intelligent then him.  By his remark, I’d say they are.

  • http://www.facebook.com/AnonymousBoy Larry Meredith

    Education: It disrupts the education process.

  • bkw

    So the principle advocates mob rule and might-makes-right. Religion brings out the worst in me, and is disruptive if I allow it, but since there are more religious people in that school, the rest have to appease them instead of having equal citizenship.

  • bob42

    This is a small school district just a few miles away from my free-thinking home. I’m not at all surprised at the official reaction. The SSA might as well have tried to post an illustrated flyer saying, “All you can eat Baby Buffet, every Monday at  2:45!”

    Don’t look for any prompt responses from the principal or the school board. I’m sure they’re too busy redacting the words atheist, Buddhist, Hindu, and Humanist from all dictionaries, and adding them to the list of forbidden words on the school’s internet firewalls. 

  • Robert T. Gross

    It should go without saying, but apparently does not. There are good and bad persons of every  belief or non-belief system.  As part of education, everyone should be apprised of the meaning of the word. It should be rather innocuous to those secure in their faith.
    To say atheism is foolish or factually wrong is one thing. To say it is evil is something entirely different. I suspect that it evokes fear in those who have a vested interest in the promotion of theism — especially their own brand of theism.

    • Austinite

      Overall, I agree with this, but ‘disruptive’ =/= ‘evil.’

  • Karmakaze

    It will be disruptive once the lawsuits are settled and the annual budget is a lot smaller.

  • TimothyWells

    Before going all gung ho contacting the school, this was in march, we should find out if and how it was resolved before flooding the school with letters about something that may have been addressed.

  • Kenneth

    I just graduated from LPHS last Friday, I remember attending the meetings that poster attempted to advertise. Other students kept tearing down the posters, but they couldn’t stop the meetings. I sure hope my teacher that let us use her rooms for the meetings doesn’t somehow get caught up in the middle of all this, she was a nice teacher

  • hackeysack09

    If you say it three times more will appear.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100001627228091 Alexander Ryan

    Believe me, it can be a disruption. This March, in my biology class, there was a 15 minute argument between teacher and peers (I didn’t get involved) over whether evolution of the theory of evolution was being taught. Teachers just really want to keep focus on learning, and any religion or nonreligion being brought up would cause stirs unless everyone was one religion.

  • Stacy Turner

    Christ’s left nut.  This is ridiculous.

  • Ethen D.

    I don’t disagree with you. Really there is nothing wrong with atheism or that sign. But the idea that the sign is being posted is likely to rise controversy over the subject over religion which a school does not want.

  • http://elbruces.blogspot.com/ El Bruce

    Photocopy that and put those up as is, with the comments.

  • culturegeek

    How can a definition of the word “atheist” be disruptive of the education process? 
    Well, it can be very disruptive if it’s really an indoctrination process.  An explanation of what a word actually means could result in learning! Can’t have that, can they? 

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=515209390 James William Jake Frizell

    It is disruptive because it would actually open a discussion about it. The idea of people actually talking about something instead of just staying ignorant would take away from being spoon fed information about how they’re supposed to “think”.

  • http://twitter.com/secular_oz secular_oz

    What sort of half-wit writes “[the word 'atheist'] could disrupt the education process” without the immediately obvious “[the word 'God'] could disrupt the education process”?

    • banana_slug

      Disrupt?  Heck, the word god completely reverses the education process

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1462456274 Matthew Spruill

    Anyone notice the “Fellowship of Christian Athletes” under the extracurricular activities section? 
    http://sc.lpisd.org/education/club/club.php?sectionid=2206&

  • them0use

    The group’s Facebook page (https://www.facebook.com/pages/LPHS-Secular-Student-Alliance/) says “The poster situation is on its way to being resolved, and thanks to all of you, I think we’ll get a positive outcome.”. Keep it loaded for updates.

  • TXfreethinker

    So, is SSA going to call Americans United for Separation of Church and State and take this to court?

  • TXfreethinker

    So, is SSA going to call Americans United & take this to court?

  • Rk60s

    After reading this,it appears to me,that there is no educational process at this school to disrupt.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/William-John-Lynch/1746258998 William John Lynch

    this is retarded, who cares if these people are atheist, they are not disrupting the learning process, it is the retarded Christians down in Texas that make a big deal over every thing. If something like this happened in the state of new york the principles would just ignore this because it is just stupid

  • Confused Child

    this happens at my school when i say ‘im an athiest’ i get looks of discust as if to say i just said ‘i eat babies’ we find offensive what we are taught is offensive and something has to give.

  • ReligionDegradesHumanity

    Seems like another coward hiding behind 2000 years of ignorance and barbarism.  It should say something along the lines of ” christians owe our species a year of technological development for each time they used religion to suppress science “. Deity worshipers are blatant traitors to the human species.     

  • http://twitter.com/Buffy2q Buffy

    We certainly can’t have students learning that the nonsense they’ve heard about atheists isn’t necessarily true.  That would disrupt the “learning process”. 

  • Luddite

    Some serious anger scratching!

  • Jenniferzotou

    This principle needs the sack. He is supposed to be an educator – this is the antithesis of education

  • Ross M.

    I have said this before, but I will say it again. If we are to have free speech, with the limitations it has now of course, then it is the responsibility of the listener to not be offended by what they might hear. That being said, open hatred and bigotry still require this, but obviously this is not the intent of free speech to bring out hate. Maybe I’m being too liberal with my interpretation of free speech, but I think people should be able to post a non-inflammatory poster that is purely educational. Sorry bible belt, get with the times please. 

  • Alex P

    The denial of gods disrupts education? I don’t want to live in that kind of world anymore :

    • http://www.facebook.com/people/Arthur-Bryne/100002441143047 Arthur Bryne

      No, no. It’s apparently indicating that there is a perfectly cromulent word for such denial that’s disruptive.

  • Guest

    Well they better remove all of the dictionaries from that school. Wouldn’t want someone to open it to the word atheist as it could cause a disruption to the learning process.

  • Jennblueyes

    Keep fighting the good fight! My high school never had a group like this and I really wish it had to help educate students on what an atheist really is. Whenever I stated that I was an atheist in my mostly Christian high school the most common response was, “so you worship the devil?” Unacceptable!

  • http://www.facebook.com/wjhamilton29464 William J. Hamilton

    A generation of officially enforced Christianity will empty the churches.  Without global control of the culture, a religion operating this way simply can’t maintain itself.  You either honestly convert and persuade people or you end up with empty pews.  

  • bob42

    The Secular Student Alliance is not listed on the school’s Extra-Curricular Clubs/Organization page on the official school website, but the Fellowship of Christian Athletes is. 

    The SSA meets weekly, 15 minutes after school is over for the day. The FCA meets weekly,  during second period. 
    I am not at all surprised. http://sc.lpisd.org/education/components/sectionlist/default.php?sectiondetailid=93&linkid=nav-menu-container-4-38412 

  • https://twitter.com/#!/OffensivAtheist bismarket

    I think, School is a VERY misleading word to call that establishment & i find it offensive that they would choose to use it. What they are basically saying is, for some students learning a new word (unless approved) could make them think & if Christian, possibly violent. Oh well done.

  • http://www.facebook.com/Tanukisan3122 Chris White

    //
    Someone please explain to me how that could be disruptive…//

    Well, it’s obvious, isn’t it? The students might start to actually think …. like –  for themselves!!!!!…….. That has the potential to undermine the whole system!!!!!!

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Mike-Cross/100001606208848 Mike Cross

    the fuck? actually, atheists learn better and faster because we dont close our minds to things because of certain beliefs, ask what Darwinism is to any christian and most will tell you its evolution lol -not caring for grammar cuz im out of school and dont really need it- its not disruptive, because the only ones that have a problem are the christians and some muslims, we dont start any debate, we just simply tell them to keep their opinions to themselves, no one is alike so not everyone wants to hear about god, then they fucking flip out, start getting all riled up, on a few occasions i’ve gotten in trouble for DEFENDING myself, because he swung at me and i nearly broke his arm.  my point is,  most of us do not like talking to christians because they’re ignorance of what an atheist and their distorted views of us is, i have some friends, but we dont talk about religion, because we know that we disagree, thats mutal respect, mud slinging(figuratively) because someone is an atheist is ignorance.

  • http://www.facebook.com/dave.lanson Dave Lanson

    I would have explained to the principal that because of the fine job he and the educational establishment are doing in molding young minds, most of the students probably couldn’t read the sign because it has multisyllabic words and no pictures.

  • omcdurham

    Religion disrupts the education process, because it teaches only one view of issues; at least among the Judeo-Christian-Islamic doctrines. To use a well worn cliche, thinking ‘outside the box’ is not something religious people do well. Atheists do well by thinking clearly, objectively, and of their own volition. I saw a sign in front of a church yesterday calling itself a ‘Freewill Baptist Church’. If one is guided by a supernatural fairy that is vehemently jealous and vindictive, how is believing in it “Freewill”? Seems contradictory to me. I also saw a church a few months ago that called itself a Methodist Christian Episcopal Baptist Church, in Durham, NC. I can only wonder…

  • http://blog.zemox.com/ Jamal Wills

    Interesting article.  I think the “disruption” of the definition of a word is possible.  For example, I learned that I was an agnostic from a vocabulary word as a freshman in a Chicago high school.  (No problem there, of course.)  
    I went to college at the historically black Jackson State University in Jackson, MS.  There I learned how twisted definitions could be.  I told someone that I was an agnostic and It was automatically assumed that I was saying that God absolutely doesn’t exist.  

    I had to explain that I thought that a god may or may not exist, but that existence may not be verifiable.  Also, if a god did exist then the nature of that god may not be understood or correlate with any of the human developed religions.

    My roommate was an atheist (AND a Republican–a double whammy at JSU), so of course he was in league with Satan.  Our differences led to a number of interesting conversations with our fellow Christians.

    Could you imagine what would happen if people started to know what “atheist” really means?  It could lead to a subtle shift in power.  The word would be less demonized and some may come to realize that they are indeed atheist!

  • http://blog.zemox.com/ Jamal Wills

    I don’t know.  It looks a bit like my handwriting, only a bit more legible.  I never won any of the handwriting contests in grade school.  :-)

  • http://blog.zemox.com/ Jamal Wills

    Actually, I’ve found that those words are much more acceptable than “atheist.”  Religious dialogues are more common between faiths than those between believers and non-believers.

  • http://blog.zemox.com/ Jamal Wills

    That’s a really narrow and unfair view of being Christian.  I don’t like the way the word has been abused and misused.  It’s much like those who accuse all Liberals of being Marxist.  

  • http://blog.zemox.com/ Jamal Wills

    If I could “like” it a gain, I would!  

  • William A Wheaton

    Arthur C Clarke called himself an atheist (and I guess we have to take his word for it), yet in his key novel “Childhood’s End”, he suggested the idea of a vast cosmic intelligence, an amalgamation of  ancient civilizations, like neurons in a great brain, strewn throughout the Universe.  I read the book when I was 13, and immediately realized I could no longer be an atheist, only an agnostic, because his concept seemed so credible, but functionally the equivalent of a god.  But what then is the nature of God?  Is it a Force (“May the Force Be with You!”), a person, or what?  Probably it is not required to have a great white beard, but beyond that all seems up for grabs.  I think if we cannot agree on a clear definition of the concept, we cannot really argue sensibly about the notions built upon it.

    • http://roguemedic.com/ Rogue Medic


      I think if we cannot agree on a clear definition of the concept, we cannot really argue sensibly about the notions built upon it.”

      Why argue about notions that we have no reason to believe are real?

      This is just the God of the Gaps we do not even know about.

      .

    • http://blog.zemox.com/ Jamal Wills

      I had a similar experience while reading Sagan’s Contact.  An almost godlike intelligence brings 5 people across space-time to have a chat.  It tells Ellie that it didn’t create the wormhole transport system used to get them there.  What was to them an almost god like intelligence left it behind.  That intelligence left, because it found a message in some vastly complex mathematics left by what they thought was an almost godlike intelligence.  So, they went off beyond the cosmic  horizon looking for it.

      A few points to consider: 1) as far as I recall, at no point was the word “god” or “godlike” used in the conversation;  2) it wasn’t made clear who left the message, it may not have been “god” since there may be more to the cosmos than we were told in the book, but it or they had an incomprehensible power; 3) how the message was left is an exercise left for the reader.  The alien left an important clue.  Buried deep in the number PI (in base 11 if I recall correctly), billions or trillions of digits deep, is a binary image of a circle and a line that is roughly the length of its circumference.

      Thinking about that STILL gets to me.  Just think that some dude decided to sit down and create the number PI, and created it in such a way that an unambiguous  message could be found within it.  That means not only the number PI, but all mathematics and logic required to calculate PI had to fit together in such a way that that result would occur.  Such an entity would be pre-logical or non-logical, and hence no logic what-so-ever could completely define it.  So, if God or some such entity apparently had a choice in how to form PI.  It had a choice in how to form mathematics and reasoning and all we use to experience and understand the universe.  That is truly the single most miraculous or supernatural thing I have ever seen, heard, or read about.

      Considering that the number PI is involved in everything from the structure of space-time to the behavior of subatomic quanta and influences pretty much everything in between.  Of course, without such a sign, there is no reason to suspect that that is actually what happened.  But it really puts into perspective what a range of power a creator God might have.  It also means that any real discussion about God may be fruitless.

      For instance, how do you count how many?  We like integers and in the past people chose many different ones.  Monotheism tends to choose 1 as a number (though there is that 1==3 issue for some).  Atheists like 0 for the number.  But, I don’t know.  What if God chose to be numbered by e or PI, or i, or the number 42-ei+PIj-k/7 ?  None of it makes sense if God is non-logical and can’t be discussed logically.

      I guess we would be better off just discussing the weather.  Maybe a bit more useful too…

  • KynndalTeel

    Hi,
    My name is Kynndal Teel and I attended Kingwood Park High School until I graduated early from another campus. I tried to start a freethinkers club but was told no as I had no sponsor. This week the ACLU did a report about religion being pushed in Texas public schools by teachers, coaches with the support of the administration.  They asked me to talk because mine was one of the worst cases of the roughly 500 mostly religious complaints they get every month.  A local Fox news picked upon the story.  The local blog in Kingwood called Kingwood Underground where it occurred immediately had 4 parents some teachers at the local school start saying I went up to kids and told them to turn shirts inside out, they said I lied and pushed my atheist views,  None of that happened and I am not atheist.  Then when I went on to say it wasn’t true they asked me if I was a drug addict or had od’d. 
     
     I was a state swimmer who quit swimming after my coach ask me to say a prayer when I was  freshman at a school dinner that was to honor many of my accomplishments.  He asked me in front of a group of swimmers and I did not know what to say.  I hid in the bathroom and did not say the prayer.  I and my mother asked the district if they could ask me.  We also asked it be kept private.  Instead they told another coach who sent an email to the entire team with every one’s email address left open saying someone had complained and the prayers would have to stop that had been going on for three years.  Since I have worn Obama shirts to school in a very conservative area just to get people to stop saying ugly things they assumed it was us who complained.  People including teachers started sending send all to the open list rude emails saying they would stand up for their Christian beliefs and we needed to shut up or leave and quit complaining. And the parent who had been appointed Team Parent by the coach for team communication sent an email to the entire team and Supt. Guy Sconzo saying my father threatened to sue over the prayer.  That had not happened.  This went on for 2 days with my parents asking the district to put a stop to it from the first email.  They only did after 17 emails had been sent and we had been accused.  They did not apologize or do anything. Then the boy swimmers started bullying me and saying I would burn in hell.  They told me my mom was a devil.They followed me at football games.  One swimmer all week told students he had a demon in him telling him to do bad things.  He then said Jesus came into him and wrestled the demon out.  The next day at a swim meet as I was climbing out after swimming a 200-IM EVENT he fell in front of me and blocked me as I was dripping wet trying to get around him.  He started yelling that God had told him to fall and pray in front of me.  I was so embarrassed as a lot of the guys laughed. My mom again complained and nothing happened except everyone said my mom was trying to stop the boy from praying.  Embarrassingly I am a Dcup and if I even had a little cleavage I would be chastised and embarrassed and sent to the principal’s for demerits.  I was wearing regular layered shirts. Parents and students FB friended me and then had mutual friends who I unknowingly friended talk to me about praying the rosary and not to tell my parents. The school district said they would train the staff on what is appropriate in schools.  After the training here is what the staff at the school did that entire school year of 2010-2011.
    I had my Physics teacher write on the board and encourage us to attend Fall Riot a Southern Baptist event that is held in September across the South to baptize kids.  Other teachers put the flyers on their windows.  They handed them out to kids.  I had kids push them at me.  They put announcements for Catholic masses on the entry to the school front doors. At half-time the band director started having the band close every half time show with God of Our Fathers as he himself said ‘To honor the catholic faith’.  A teacher blogged on the local community board about our family and said we were nut jobs for complaining.  My mom figured who is was – a teacher who we did not know – when they confronted her in the Principal’s office she stated we were ‘disgusting because we were not Christians’.  And ‘everyone at this school is Christian’.  She said her husband blogged about us and the principal said and did nothing.  Her daughter went around the school telling everyone my mom was suing her mom.  Not true.  We did file a complaint to the school board but the Supt. Guy Sconzo has required school choirs to sing christian songs at National Prayer Day for a grade.  They could not opt out.  That year 2011 on National prayer day he held a fundraiser basketball game at my school in which he invited the local parish priest from his church to play and they sold religious items for Christianity in the hallways.   The school board president Dan Huberty prayed  for all students too accept God that had yet to do so. The principal told my mom is wife was Jewish as a child and was made to say the Lord’s prayer and is now Christian. In the meantime my own coach had put up a picture of Jesus that faced the area I swam in until after months my mom asked if he could take it down. The yearbook teacher would get on the broadcast system for the whole school (she had a swimmer) and asked students to pray.  The schools Athletic director’s wife said he worked in public schools to bring kids closer to Christ.  He required kids to pray and he adopted a theme Kia Kaha.  Look it up in terms of Christianity.  It’s a sneaky way to put it in schools.  The yearbook teacher also included several pages about religion mostly Christianity with a bone to Jews and Muslims but pages for a local preacher’s kid to write why he is christian and catholics with  big picture of the Virgin Mary.  It also stated people who believed in religion and God were healthier. The graduation ceremony for my brother included students leading a benediction that was unconstitutional.  My brother was forced to be a part of prayer circles by his team captain. My sister was made to attend a middle school assembly where the principal encouraged the kids to pray and the athletic director there said in God’s name amen at the end of a moment of silence. Her history teacher told the students the bible was a great history book.  My mom laughed and said at least she didn’t say it was a science book.  The health teacher told the kids they couldn’t talk about sex because they had to remain virgins until they married. Finally my mom said she would like a copy of the training the district had provided because it was really being pushed for the entire year after I complained.  She was told it was attorney client privilege and she could not review the training.  My mom who had been honored as a volunteer of the year for the district and was a lifetime PTA member for all her hours was banned by the principal from volunteering at the school because he said she made the yearbook teacher and the one who said we were disgusting uncomfortable.  My mom had volunteered at that school for three years and was never rude to those teachers.  My parents filed formal complaints through the school system and were never ugly to any of these people but no one did anything. I quit swimming and was very depressed. My brother had graduated and he had helped protect me when no one else would.  I started missing school.  I have a serious medical condition that stress makes worse.  I was experiencing blinding headaches.  Even though I had hospital and dr’s excuses they tried to take my parents to court because I was missing days all after they had done nothing to help, nor apologize and had allowed it to be pushed on me by anyone who chose to.  I finally transferred to a program to graduate early am now in college.  I decided to tell my story to help others.  I am still bullied by teachers and parents as with what happened yesterday.  My mom is funny she finally joined the blog and made them delete it after she said they had been arrested for prostitution and then said she meant persecution of non Christians.  She said they had lied and distorted the truth and hiding behind screen names wouldn’t protect them from liability for libel so they deleted it. They tried to say the coach asked a group not me and named a boy who was not even in my class when the coach asked me because the boys swam a different period.  They said I was in a coma for drugs and that is why I did not come back to school that I had dropped out.  Not true I had quietly transferred.  My mom says this is what the religious right does tries to distort the story and pull it away from the real truth.  I hate Texas some days and I despise religion in schools.  Part of my therapy for myself is speaking up which I was scared to do.  I felt all alone.  Me against everyone. I am taking university level classes at the local community college hoping to transfer away. But someone has to stand up we are scared because of what they do.  I forgot to say people started putting nails in all our car tires and throwing trash in our yard all the time. 


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