Guest Speakers at Public High School Encourage Students to Turn to God Instead of Food

We already know Alcoholics Anonymous is notorious for pushing the idea of God in their Twelve Step program (though there are secular alternatives to AA). But they’re not the only ones.

Will at Godless Teens is a freshman at a public high school in Colorado and, yesterday, his health class played host to guest speakers from Overeaters Anonymous, who were there to talk about “how people will often overeat to deal with stress.”

Initially, that wasn’t a problem… until Will saw (and took a picture of) what they had written on the board before class:

It’s hard to make out, but those are their Twelve Steps. And seven of them deal directly with God:

  1. We admitted we were powerless over food — that our lives had become unmanageable.
  2. Came to believe that a Power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity.
  3. Made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God as we understood Him.
  4. Made a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves.
  5. Admitted to God, to ourselves and to another human being the exact nature of our wrongs.
  6. Were entirely ready to have God remove all these defects of character.
  7. Humbly asked Him to remove our shortcomings.
  8. Made a list of all persons we had harmed and became willing to make amends to them all.
  9. Made direct amends to such people wherever possible, except when to do so would injure them or others.
  10. Continued to take personal inventory and when we were wrong, promptly admitted it.
  11. Sought through prayer and meditation to improve our conscious contact with God as we understood Him, praying only for knowledge of His will for us and the power to carry that out.
  12. Having had a spiritual awakening as the result of these Steps, we tried to carry this message to compulsive overeaters and to practice these principles in all our affairs.

Will writes about the real problem here:

Nothing — nothing — justifies the fact that this group came and proselytized to us. As somebody who suffers from mental illness and has a lot of friends (some of which are atheists) that also suffers from mental illness, this is disgusting, revolting, and absolutely insulting. It uses students like us in an attempt to turn us into proselytizing Christians.

I’ve suggested to Will that he should contact the Freedom From Religion Foundation or his state’s ACLU affiliate. But we should all learn a lesson from him — when he realized something shady was about to take place in the classroom, he documented it (with a picture). It’s not just his word against the teacher’s — it’s his word, with proof that the guest speakers were suggesting to the kids that, if they’re overeating, they should turn to God for guidance.

That’s a heads-up move from a young atheist and one other students would do well to imitate.

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.