The Ten Commandment Plaques Are Coming Down in Muldrow, Oklahoma, but Gage Pulliam Still Has Reason to Worry

Last night, hundreds of people crowded into the Muldrow Public Schools cafeteria as the school board met to discuss what would become of the Ten Commandments plaques that have been posted in all the classrooms for the past two decades.

A picture of one of the Ten Commandment plaques in Muldrow High School

Mary L. Crider of The Times Record was there and reported two things worth mentioned here.

The first is that a local pastor spoke up in defense of the plaques:

Muldrow First Assembly of God Senior Pastor Shawn Money, a representative of the Christian Muldrow Ministry Alliance, told school officials, “We understand the last two weeks have been very difficult for you. We support you. We’re praying for you… We know that in 1980 the Supreme Court ruled it was unconstitutional to have the Ten Commandments in public schools for religious purposes… We disagree.”

Many audience members called out “amens.”

Money said the many Christians in attendance do believe the Ten Commandments have a place in public classrooms and that they are a foundation of our nation. He said the attendees are grateful the Commandments had been in the school for 20 years and hoped they would be again.

In an essay Money wrote and read, “I am the Ten Commandments,” he stated that they were written first by God, passed down through generations and would endure until the end of time. The Ten Commandments, Money said, are the voice of morality and “the thread of the fabric that has held many nations together.”

When he finished, the crowd shouted loud “amens” and gave Money a lengthy standing ovation.

If it wasn’t obvious already, the crowd was overwhelmingly in favor of keeping the Commandments up. Pastor Money (no pun intended?) said that he supported the board’s decision, but wanted to go on record as saying he supports the Ten Commandments, too. As if that was ever in doubt.

The other noteworthy item is the school board’s decision. They weren’t swayed by all the Christians and they ended up doing the right thing, albeit very reluctantly:

School attorney Jerry Richardson of Tulsa said he was not going to try to change the attendees’ minds, nor would the school board want him to try.

“They wish the Ten Commandments could remain in the classrooms. Unfortunately, it is my unpleasant job to tell you the situation is otherwise,” Richardson said.

Chambers’ voice choked as he told the audience the board wished it had another alternative, but removed the plaques rather than spend taxpayer money for costly legal fees that would be incurred fighting to keep them.

In short: We would totally break the law to promote Christianity if we could, but the law won’t let us.

It’s poor reasoning and hardly the sort of strong statement you want to hear from a school board representative, but either way, the plaques are no longer in the classrooms.

And we can thank one student for that.

As I reported over the weekend, Gage Pulliam is the junior who (at the time) anonymously blew the whistle on his school’s obvious violation of church/state separation by taking a picture of one of the plaques and letting the Freedom From Religion Foundation know about what his school was doing.

Gage Pulliam, the student who blew the whistle on his school’s disregard for the Constitution (via Facebook)

What the news reports did not tell you is that Gage was at the meeting last night. And it was the scariest night of his life.

I spoke with Gage late last night to get his version of the story, and his tone was very different from the one you saw in the brief interview above or the articles that mention him.

He told me how he felt after hearing the decision:

I’m happy. I’m not happy that I “beat the Christians” but that the school board understood what needed to be done.

Even so, that happiness came at a price.

I was shaking. I was pale. I was the most scared I’ve been in my life because people were threatening me through their looks.

Of the hundreds of people there, Gage and his family members may have been among the only people there in support of taking the Commandments down.

Gage didn’t join in the standing ovation for Pastor Money. Gage and his brother clapped loudly when Mr. Richardson announced that the school board was going to comply with the law. As a result, a lot of people stared in his direction. Lots of unhappy looks went his way. Even when he was filming an interview with a local news channel, he had to face the camera — and the crowd behind it. They looked at him like he was in the center of a firing squad.

Inside the cafeteria, his dad overheard one man saying he wanted to punch Gage in the face.

When he spoke to me over the weekend, Gage said he wasn’t scared. But he’s pretty scared now:

They hated me. They were disgusted with me.

Do you think they’ll do something to you?

I hope not. They might say something to me at school. After the principal found out it was me [who alerted FFRF], he told me he would help me. So did some football players.

Are you going to take any precautions just in case?

I’m gonna try to walk to class with a few people and stay in small groups, mostly. The principal said he would check up on me during the day.

I asked Gage if students were still planning on wearing their Ten Commandments t-shirts on Wednesday even though the decision has already been made to remove the plaques.

They were, he said with a laugh. But that didn’t bother him. He’s fine with that. In fact, those students are supporting what he already believes: that broadcasting your religious beliefs is fine on a personal level; it’s just not okay when the government (in this case, the school) promotes it.

As before, I’ll keep following this story throughout the week and posting updates on how Gage is doing. He really does thank all of you for your support and kind words.

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.

  • Baby_Raptor

    They disagree, huh? It’s adorable that they think that matters, and sickening that they give so little of a damn about the rights of people who don’t share their beliefs.

    I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: These people are only going to learn when they’re the ones getting stepped on.

  • Tanner B James

    Just think if jeebus was real and could be a born again zombie he’d came back right now and smite all these neighbor loving, selfless, forgiving and cheek turning xtians with laser bolts from his eyes. pew pew pew pew pew pew

  • cipher

    A very brave young man.

    Situations like this confirm me in my opinion that the Union was a good but misguided idea that simply hasn’t worked out. We should Balkanize, retaining a national government only for certain limited purposes, such as defense. There is no reason that people terrified of objective reality should be in a position to dictate reproductive rights for everyone, or what goes into a textbook being used by children here in godless liberal Massachusetts.

    Let them have their theocracies, and leave the rest of us to go to hell in peace.

  • AxeGrrl

    And some Christians wonder why they’re sometimes viewed as being “scary” to the rest of us?

    IMO, there are few things scarier than a person who demonizes equality and fair treatment and feels ‘righteous’ in doing so because they feel that ‘God is on their side’.

    p.s. Hemant, is there a way for us to contact Gage in order to communicate our thanks and support? It sounds like he really needs it.

  • Hemant Mehta

    If you leave your messages here, he’ll see them!

  • Andrew Hall

    I think schools should put up all 613 mitzvot, and have Christians explain how they were ever a good idea.

  • Timmah

    This kid has some real guts, and I can’t imagine how tense the remainder of his time there is gonna be. This was a worthy battle though, and the school did the right thing and caved quickly because they knew they were going to lose.

    My one concern is that since there was no court order, what’s to stop them from putting them back up when he graduates?

  • Jonathan Figdor

    Good luck young man. It gets better, especially if you can move to the coasts.

  • Jeffrey Shallit

    Why not set up a scholarship fund for him? I would contribute.

  • Bert


  • Mara

    Good for you, Gage! There are a lot of folks out here who are proud of you for doing the right thing, even if it was difficult.

  • MargueriteF

    Kudos to this young man, and best of luck to him.

    When Christians argue that the Ten Commandments are a “foundation” of our country, you have to wonder if they’ve actually ever read them. They bear startlingly little resemblance to the Constitution.

  • Kingasaurus

    Reminds me of that old bumper sticker:

    “The First Amendment not the First Commandment”

  • Sandy Kokch

    Stay brave my young friend. What you did took courage and integrity, responsibility, maturity and a strong sense of duty. No matter how many stares or stupid threats get thrown your way you will always have those qualities, and they are what makes a human better than just a walking talking monkey in clothes.
    Stay brave, and rely on your mates who stand with you.
    My hat is tipped to you, to those mates who stand with you, and my best wishes to you all.

  • Kingasaurus

    “Get your foot off my neck!”

    “But I’ve always had my foot on your neck! It’s tradition! How dare you try to get rid of my tradition! Everyone else that i like and respect tells me that they like my foot on your neck. Who are you to change where I put my foot…and where my father put his foot, and where my grandfather put his foot…”

  • Timmah

    The only things that are actually laws are don’t kill people and don’t steal. However those are laws of any civilized nation and not at all unique.

    It’s fun breaking them down to people 1 by 1 and asking them again so HOW do these apply to US law?

  • randall.morrison90

    Like atheists give a damn about people who don’t share their beliefs.

    But I agree, “these people” will only learn when they are getting stepped on.
    Hell, an atheist in KC has threatened to kill me. No one cares.

  • randall.morrison90

    Interesting analogy. In the novel 1984, in which Orwell portrayed his view of how things would turn out he had his character O’Brien say, “If you want a picture of the future, imagine a boot stepping on a human face. Forever.”
    And, interestingly, he portrayed O’Brien as an atheist.

  • randall.morrison90

    May your will be done.

  • Hailey

    Gage, you are extraordinary! You and your brother were brave to attend that school meeting. I wish you all the best in life. Thank you so much for supporting separation of church and state and seeing to it that ALL students feel welcomed in your school. If my son turns out to have a quarter of your compassion and strength, I will be one proud mama.

  • Mairianna

    Why stop there? They should post all sharia law, too! This is what so totally irks me. Christians think that they are being persecuted for their beliefs when we try to stop them from intruding in government. They don’t realize what precarious perch they are on when they can’t think outside their narrow view of the world and allow the government to be secular. They benefit as well. My sister used to say “I think Christianity should be the legal religion.” I’d always ask, “Which version of Christianity, and what if it isn’t your version?”

  • Simon G

    Sorry has he been beated up or something? I have read the article and it just refers to some “unhappy stares”

  • chicago dyke

    the only problem with that scenario is the 1/3-1/2 of the population in conservative states. without a massive relocation program, what do you think will happen to them? if a theocracy is declared in conservative areas, it won’t be long before pogroms begin.

    and besides, it’s not like northern states lack conservative government. MI, WI? rapepublicans are in charge of large portions in the north.

  • Satirical

    Good job Gage. Many would have

  • Raising_Rlyeh

    “The Ten Commandments, Money said, are the voice of morality and “the thread of the fabric that has held many nations together.””

    Oh yes, the first 40% of the commandments are full of morality.

  • Satirical

    …collapsed under the pressure of the majority, but its good to know we have young atheists that are willing to stand up to constitutional violations.

  • corps_suk

    Sure we do, we care about muslims not getting to put up their plaque, or wiccans not getting to post their beliefs in classrooms, or Pastafarians not getting to make everyone pray before eating pasta at school…or thè Hindus, or the jews, or the native americans, or the buddhists…

    See we care so much that ALL these people be treated equally that we ask the government not to treat any one of them with preference, just like the constitution says.

    Like christians give a damn about the constitution though…

  • velveteenRabbit

    poor persecuted 80%-er

  • Kingasaurus

    Are you the king of the useless tangent?

    The point is, if people have been doing something they shouldn’t be doing for a long time, they tend to see it as something they should be allowed to do. So when someone speaks up and tells them that what they’re doing is wrong, they viscerally see it as an unwarranted attack on tradition. The idea that they shouldn’t have been doing that thing in the first place doesn’t occur to them because nobody had the guts to buck tradition and complain before. “Tradition”, by itself, is never a good reason to continue to do anything. You need a reason beyond that.

    Why do you think Southern slave-owners didn’t like those pesky Northern abolitionists rocking the boat and telling them slavery was morally wrong and they should stop? How did they react? “Those outsiders are trying to take away our God-sanctioned way of life! Who do they think they are, telling us what to do?” Sound familiar? They hated such interference so much, that they eventually started shooting.

    I think my analogy is light-years better than yours.

  • corps_suk

    Right, and that boot is currently a christian boot stepping on the faces of realists…nice analogy and thanks for not getting the point.

  • corps_suk

    Right, if you ever been to western MI you would know that religious ignorance isn’t only in the south…Calvin, Hope, Cornerstone, etc…

  • PegK

    Always remember Gage that in this case you are in the right. I commend you for being the one to stand up to these bullies and face fear straight on. Too many just stand by helpless not wanting to stir the pot. It is brave people like yourself who continue to help move our country forward. Thank you.

  • Kingasaurus

    “See we care so much that ALL these people be treated equally that we ask
    the government not to treat any one of them with preference, just like
    the constitution says.”

    Correct. Randall can’t see this, because all he sees is people who share his particular beliefs no longer being allowed to use public funds or institutions in the service of giving an implicit or explicit stamp of approval to what he thinks.

    Atheists don’t want schools to preach atheism, or give atheists a stamp of approval. They just want taxpayer-funded public schools to NOT give preferential treatment to anyone’s religion, no matter who they are or how much of a majority of the school district they comprise.

    It’s simple, but they never seem to get the distinction.

  • Gideon

    Yeesh. The real answer is so simple. If they seriously want a school that endorses a particular religion, they can do what many others have done and put their money where their mouths are: pay for a private religious school themselves.

    Did any reporters quiz them on the spot? I’m always amused by how few of these activists are able to, without preparation, recite all 10 in order.

  • dcl3500

    Good luck to that kid, brave he is. Hope he makes it out of there in one piece. Damned good christians anyways, scary bunch of whackjobs.

  • Baby_Raptor

    Threats really don’t phase me, no. See, I’m an Atheist, and I’m a woman who believes that I should have control over my own body, and lastly I’m Bisexual.

    So between those three, there’s someone in the news every other day saying something horrible about me. Mainly Christians, because supposedly I’m ruining their precious God-blessed country. And, yes, That includes death threats. And nobody bats a Fucking eye…In fact, people on your side get pissy as hell when someone actually stands up to these people.

    Apparently saying “Hey, threats aren’t cool. People unlike you have rights too.” is somehow denying the Christer their right to freedom of religion.

    But talking about how everyone else should either die or at least live a closeted, miserable life? Nah, that’s fine. This is America, after all. The world’s resident Christer theocracy.

  • cipher

    As you said – a massive relocation program. Move the conservatives to the red states. They won’t want to remain in blue states anyway.* We’ll then have plenty of jobs for the liberals who wish to relocate.

    Some states will be easy. How many liberals are there in Texas? Shouldn’t be more than a planeload or two.

    I really think it’s doable.

    (*Of course, once they get to the promised land, they’ll find out
    that the red states, for all of their caterwauling about big government, have been taking far more from it than they’ve been giving back for years – but that won’t be our problem.)

  • cipher

    Just think of the eternity of pleasure it will give you and your friends.

  • Baby_Raptor

    I might could possibly see your intended insult working if you had said something about the government in the book being totally Atheist, or if 1984 actually had something to say about religion, but…The way it stands now, you’re just getting blank stares.

  • Baby_Raptor

    Well, he’s partially right.

    The last 6, which were shamelessly ripped from other codes of the time, probably did help hold a lot of nations together.

    The first 4 are just useless.

  • Baby_Raptor

    And with that, the thread’s resident Christer openly admits that he doesn’t give two shits about the rights of people who don’t toe his line.

    Yup, sure making me want your God. I can just feel the love and goodness and mercy pouring out of you.

  • ukvillafan

    Like Christians give a damn about people who don’t share their beliefs.

    Like Muslims give a damn about people who don’t share their beliefs.

    Like Jews give a damn about people who don’t share their beliefs.

    Like Hindus give a damn about people who don’t share their beliefs.

    Like Buddhists give a damn about people who don’t share their beliefs.
    Once you take your original inane posting to its extreme, its sheer stupidity becomes plain to see.
    Public schools are not allowed to promote a religion per se – hence it is wrong to have the Ten Commandments on the walls anywhere in the school, let alone on the wall of EVERY classroom!! The whole point of your country was its founders claimed to be escaping, amongst other things, religious persecution by the state. This is why your constitution prevents ‘state religion’ – as a means to prevent persecution. The purpose of these ‘religionists’ who would promote such displays of a Christian nature is ACTUALLY TO PROMOTE PERSECUTION – persecution of those who do not share such beliefs. At home, in your church, walking the streets, you can be as religious as you like, but you should not be allowed to use the state and its organs to promote your mythology over anyone elses. That’s how persecution starts.
    The fact that you cannot, or will not, see this is testament (pun intended) to your total inability to understand the rather simple context of this issue. You’d soon see the point if you end up with public schools displaying quotes from the Koran

  • OkieLiberal

    You are forgetting Texas’s liberal hotbed….. Austin. Lots of libs there! As for Oklahoma, yeah, a couple of flights should take care of us. :)

  • Janice Brouwer

    well said!!!

  • steve Yates

    Bravo Gage Pulliam. The Rosa Parks of rationalism.

  • Reginald Selkirk

    Gage and his family members may have been among the only people there in support of taking the Commandments down.

    Of course they were! That would be true if they were the only people there for that purpose. That would be true if there were 1000 other people there for that purpose. This is a poorly chose phrase because it conveys no meaning.

  • Janice Brouwer

    …unhappy stares yes, I’d be willing to be they’d lynch him if they a) could get him alone, and b) thought they could get away with it…

  • Pesley H Booden

    Why can’t these creepy Christians keep their disgusting death cult to themselves?

  • FBG

    If you stir up a hornets’ nest, best prepare to get stung. Nature 101.

  • FBG

    Western MI is the only part of MI that is thriving economically. The liberal Eastern MI is a depressed, strip-mall sh*thole, and Detroit is a 3rd world war zone. The rest of the state would GLADLY give it to Canada or Ohio.

  • cipher

    People tell me about Austin. Are there that many?

  • observer

    “‘We know that in 1980 the Supreme Court ruled it was unconstitutional to have the Ten Commandments in public schools for religious purposes… We disagree.’

    The Ten Commandments, Money said, are the voice of morality…”

    So you had the Commandments hung because it’s “voice of morality”, yet you knew that just hanging it is unconstitutional…

    Christian extremists keep using that word (morality), I don’t think it means what they think it means.

  • FBG

    The way the Founders designed this country was supposed to allow for local culture and local control (certainly at a state level), and prohibit the overarching control of a central government. What you have here is a local culture at war with a culture that is trying to impose its will from hundreds or thousands of miles away via lawsuit and threat of violence.

  • FBG

    The way the Founders designed this country was supposed to allow for local culture and local control (certainly at a state level), and prohibit the overarching control of a central government. What you have here is a local culture at war with a culture that is trying to impose its will from hundreds or thousands of miles away via lawsuit and threat of violence.

  • TJ

    Many and growing.

  • Taz

    I hope some students decide to wear t-shirts with the first amendment printed on them.

  • Kingasaurus

    A “local culture” isn’t allowed to violate the Constitution.

    Getting citizens to follow the law isn’t “overarching control.”

  • DavidMHart

    Except that the ‘hornets’ here are human beings, who ought to be able to look at the situation rationally, realise that the school had been illegally and unfairly privileging their religious beliefs, and accept that both the law and basic fair play dictate that the school should adopt a neutral stance. You can’t reason with hornets. You ought to be able to reason with humans – and if you’re saying you can’t – well, you’re comparing these Christians to hostile, virtually brainless hive-mind insects. I’d like to hope that would turn out to be an unfair comparison.

  • cipher

    Well, we’ll have to charter a 747, then!

  • FBG

    Violate the way the Constitution is *currently interpreted* by liberal judges. Interesting that we didn’t have the same sorts of legal challenges before the mid-20th century.

  • ukvillafan

    The point(s) being, O’Brien’s atheism was not the root cause of his horrific philosophy, the choice of an ‘atheistic’ totalitarian regime was a commentary on the time – you have to read Orwell in context you know – and the ‘hero’ Winston Smith was an atheist too. Other than those points, great analogy! (Not sure if you understand sarcasm and irony, but I’m saying your analogy was not ‘interesting’ but rubbish, misguided, even, and clearly born out of ignorance, prejudice and a very poor grasp of Orwellian contextual issues. Got that?)

  • Kingasaurus

    Interesting that the Supreme Court upheld slavery until there was a shooting war to get rid of it, and the SC upheld government sponsored racial segregation for a hundred years after that.

    I’ll take the “current interpretation” if you don’t mind.

  • cipher

    I am eminently in favor of letting you have your theocracy, and removing all government influence and funding. I’d like to see how long you’d last.

    I’d give you about six months.

  • Brian Westley

    If it’s a true threat, please post your police report.

  • corps_suk

    Dude, the unemployment rate in Grand Rapids, the largest city in Western MI, is 8.8%!!!

    So you’re bragging about being the fastest fat kid…thanks for reinforcing the idea of ignorance in Western MI, guess its not isolated to religious zealots.

  • Brian Westley

    Post Draco’s laws too. Kill someone? Death! Steal a cabbage? Death!

  • ukvillafan

    Absolutely 100% with you.
    Sadly, you’ll not get any semblance of understanding from good ol’ Randall because it isn’t part of his way of thinking to, well, ‘think’. If religionists had a decent capacity for critical thinking there’d be fewer religionists, by definition.
    Even if it were true that he has been threatened by ‘an atheist’ he still doesn’t grasp the fact, indeed, can’t grasp it, that the atheism is unlikely to be a motivating factor.
    Of course, we’d all deplore the threat of violence, us atheists more so than others, and we’d all hope that the threat would not be carried out. We’re a compassionate lot in that way. Having said that, we’d not miss the ‘incisive’ nature of his arguments too much! :-)

  • FBG

    In late April 2013 Forbes ranked Grand Rapids 4th out of its 10 Best Cities for Finding Employment. As of February 2013 unemployment was at 6.6% for Grand Rapids/Wyoming.

    “The ranking reflects considerations such as: the diversity of industries in the city, the cost of living, the range in size of companies offering employment, and high level of education among its residents. All those factors were weighed equally.”

    Forbes has also ranked Grand Rapids as one of its Happiest Cities for Workers and as the #1 city in the country for raising a family. But, whatevs. Go on hating G.R. because, you know, some of its citizenry go to church. And like it.

  • MariaO

    Killing people is perfectly legal in the US in several circumstances – as long as the decision is taken by the state or its agents. So that leaves only stealing…

  • C Peterson

    Even not killing isn’t a law- Americans kill legally all the time (especially in Texas). Not murdering is a law, of course, but very seldom do we see these copies of the Ten Commandments utilize the proper terminology. And in the copy shown above, it isn’t even clear that the restriction is limited to humans! Thou shalt not kill… what exactly?

  • Glasofruix

    Or if a person sets a foot on your property, you’re allowed to dhoot his head off.

  • FBG

    I wonder if the U.S. citizenry, after the bloody “shooting war” that killed 600,000+ of its young men thought the price was worth paying considering that slavery was on its way out in the West anyway, as opposed to, say, Africa, which is still rife with it today.

    It’s really quite possible that, given a little more time, the South would have voluntarily done away with slavery as all of the rest of the Christian west did (unlike, for instance, the rest of the world). Without Lincoln’s holocaust of blood.

  • C Peterson

    Quite the opposite. Fix the problem by eliminating the Union completely. Almost all of our current problems derive from the ill-considered and now deeply obsolete concept of states and states rights. Eliminate the states as anything other than administrative zones, and invest all power of governance in a single, national government. Eliminate the Senate.

    The current system significantly boosts the political influence of what would otherwise be a relatively ignored minority.

  • ukvillafan

    Except that the Ten Commandments say nothing about other ills (rape, incest, child abuse, slavery etc.) and, in any event, are Commandments even ‘God’ cannot keep to – especially the one about not killing people ….. So I think you are generous in the extreme to consider him even ‘partially right’! :-)

  • Kingasaurus

    The merits of the Civil War is hardly the point.

    The point is that the Courts didn’t do their job in interpreting the Constitution in a way that everyone today agrees is correct. If the SC had been courageous and outlawed slavery without a war (and the South somehow agreed to it without firing a gun), do you think Southerners would complain about “liberal judges” taking away their “traditions” and “way of life”? You bet your ass they would.

    Reactionaries (religious or not) always complain that the country is this-close to ruination, and the court system is full of liberals who are ruining everything. 1860, 1960, 2013, it makes no difference. The reaction is always the same.

  • LWMT

    I care. I don’t want anyone to be threatened with death. Did the atheist actually threaten you because they found out you were a Christian or is there more to the story?

  • cipher

    I’d be in favor of it, actually, but we have even less of a chance of pulling that off – and I’m not convinced the fundies and neocons comprise a minority. According to some estimates, there may be as many as 100 million evangelicals in this country. No, they aren’t all fundies – but they ain’t all Jim Wallis, either.

    Plus, CP, I have to tell you – I’d derive a certain amount of pleasure from watching them founder and sink on their own. I’m not a nice man.

  • Gus Snarp

    I’m so tired of these people who will reluctantly comply with the law when someone forces them to, but think they can flaunt it the rest of the time. I’m so tired of people who simply don’t get separation of Church and State and why it’s important to have a secular government.

    I grew up in a small town in the South where the majority of people are born again, fundamentalist, evangelical Christians, and most of the rest are some other stripe of Christian. At least three of my high school classmates went on to get “degrees” from Liberty University. But the ten commandments were not on the wall. No one led the school or classes in prayer. There was a Fellowship of Christian Athletes group who met on campus, but they met before the school day began and the meetings ended before classes started, they never got extended into day long revivals in the gym. My biology teacher taught evolution as undisputed fact. In short, religion was taught in the home and the church, which is better for both religious people and no-religious people, and everyone was just fine with that. No one wanted to insert their beliefs into the school, no one considered it.

    Why is it that twenty years later there are still people who can’t get a handle on this? Why does it seem that the Christians are angrier about it than ever before? And how can anyone not understand that when you can pray to yourself any time you want, you can form Christian clubs and use school property the same way any other club would, you can practice and teach your religion in the home and the church, and you can even tell other students all about what you believe as long as you’re not disrupting class, that the only reason to hang Bible verses (and let’s not forget that the Ten Commandments are not some special document, they’re just a Bible verse) on the wall is to use the State to coerce non-religious students and students who practice a different religion?

  • LWMT

    I bet that’s what the atheists are trying to do! They’re trying to control us! Get the 10 commandments back up! Seriously, one of my biggest pet peeves with religious people is the loose associations they make.

  • Gus Snarp

    If you live in America, best prepare to obey the law.

    If you’re a human being, best prepare to settle your differences with words rather than violence or threats of violence.

    If you break the law, best prepare to go to jail.

  • Gus Snarp

    It’s nice to see that some of his fellow students, as well as the Principal, are looking out for his safety and supportive of his right to speak out. Awful and scary as this is, at least Gage has that support and the support of his family. He’s in a lot better situation than Damon Fowler was.

    You’re a brave young man, Gage. Keep it up.

  • SeekerLancer

    You know what gets me? Christians like this always say that we’re the ones making a big deal out of things like this. That we should just leave well enough alone. Yet when we ask them to remove public displays of religion all they have to do is say, “You’re right. It’s illegal. We’ll take care of it.” That’s it. They can continue to promote God all they want in ways that don’t involve the government.

    Instead they always make these huge, dramatic shows of it. Acting like their beliefs are being directly threatened because they’re not allowed special privilege. We simply request they obey the law and they always make a fight of it despite the fact they know they’re wrong. They create the drama themselves just to cast us as bad guys.

  • LWMT

    Gage, I think you are very brave and have a very bright future. You did the right thing, even though it was the hard thing and it took a lot of courage. I hope others can look to you and see that the 10 commandments aren’t necessary to lead a moral, compassionate life.

  • C Peterson

    Well, if we isolate them and let them sink, let’s make darn sure we clear out all the bases and armories first. They’re just the sort to use them against us.

  • cipher

    Heh! Yeah.

  • goodwithoutgod

    Grand Rapids is a massive shit hole. I’ve lived there and also in Detroit. I’ll take Detroit any day, and that’s saying a lot since Detroit has serious flaws of its own.

  • primenumbers

    “probably did help hold a lot of nations together” – I think you’ve got the arrow of causality in the wrong direction there. Common human values hold society together, and then get written down – not the other way around. And as for those values, they’re all set without exceptions which makes them unjust.

  • AxeGrrl

    Perfect response.

    I’m saving that one.

  • cipher

    Thereby validating my call for Balkanization!

    (Hi, Jonathan! I used to come occasionally to the Harvard Humanist gatherings.)

  • FBG

    Yeah, I’ve lived there too. And in Detroit. And Detroit is worse than the Soviet Union, where I’ve also lived. Glass all over the sidewalks, buildings burned and burning, no work, unemployment everywhere. 27% of the houses abandoned, Half the lighting out or off. A backlog of buildings to be demolished in the 10s of thousands. Bullet proof glass everywhere. Completely corrupt, bankrupt government. 50,000 homeless dogs roaming the city. A horrendous problem of animal cruelty. Children regularly being shot. Huge murder rate. #1 Miserable City as ranked by Forbes.

    You go ahead and live in Detroit.

  • SeekerLancer

    We like to rag on Texas but honestly a lot of people aren’t that bad especially if you live around Austin and Houston. Dallas/Fort Worth is the worst of the big cities and even they have their liberal sections.

    The growing hispanic population is also mostly democratic. I’ve seen some population trends predicting Texas actually being a blue state by the mid 2020′s.

  • Willy Occam

    Just once, I would LOVE to see a Christian stand up for the Constitution and say something like: “You know, I believe in The Ten Commandments, and I would like to see them plastered everywhere I go so I can be constantly reminded of their importance; but I also realize that it is unconstitutional to display them in publicly-funded places, and I support other people’s rights not to see them in such places.” But no… instead we get comments like “this is a Christian nation,” and “you’re taking away my rights,” etc. I can understand why a Christian wouldn’t express such opinions in public (or else s/he would be on the receiving end of that “Christian love” we see so much of… the kind with the torches and pitchforks), but I would at least like to read a comment like that on this type of forum.

    But I think I will be waiting a long time….

  • ShoeUnited

    Gage, when you read this, just remember you only got a year and change left and you’re doing the right thing. You’ve seen many people come out of the woodwork to support what is right for equality and willing to help. If you ever come into trouble remember that you’ve got friends to lean on.

    Be smart, be safe, and keep being you. You’re a good kid.

  • ShoeUnited

    At least the list could be shortened. Just list the crimes and one result. Would make a handy little tract.

  • Taz

    Gage Pulliam is a student at the school – he is not “thousands of miles away”. The Bill of Rights is intended to protect the rights of the minority from the tyranny of the majority. If you want your kids to spend their time gazing at the ten commandments then you can wallpaper every room of your house with them. No one will object.

  • Jennifer

    Gage is an incredibly brave guy – I’m sincerely sorry for the harassment he will most certainly be receiving from all of those “good Christian people” in his town/school – I hope he can stay safe there. Be strong, Gage, and THANK YOU!

  • Tyrrlin Flamestrike

    Gage, honestly you’re one of the bravest people I know. Standing up for what you know is right, especially against the majority, takes more courage than most people will ever have in a lifetime. Good luck to you, and I wish you the best!

  • onamission5

    Argument from “stop trying to change things and your problems will magically go away all by themselves.” Is this a logical fallacy yet? It should be.

  • onamission5

    Ditto Oregon. I know people tend to think of Oregon as this liberal hotbed, but really, that’s just Portland, Eugene, Ashland, to a limited extent, Bend, and some portions of the coast. The rural parts of the state– which would be most of it– are as red as can be. My SIL, who is Thai, was told by a group of locals at a gas station in Roseburg to “go back to Mexico.” The Southern Oregon town I went to high school in still had sundown laws until the mid-80′s and it wasn’t the only one.
    So, when people make the argument that the US should abandon the south because the south is so much worse than everywhere else, I have to roll my eyes, hard. It’s shit everywhere, folks.

  • msproton

    This is not an issue here, but i follow what goes in the US, and i believe his is so brave and i hope that he is an inspiration to others.

  • onamission5

    Spoken like someone who’s never had to stand in a room full of people who are glowering at them in full presence of city officials and law enforcement. If that’s how they act in public, how will they act when they get this young man or members of his family alone?

  • The AW

    Hi Gage! I live in Oklahoma too and I know just what looks you are talking about! I’ve seen them on some of my own family members faces before. Just wanted to say I appreciate your bravery.

    Though athiest are few and far between in Oklahoma we are here hidden in the neighborhoods between all the churches. We support you!

  • Rich Wilson

    Gage, have you considered wearing a 10 commandments shirt one day just to make the point? I’m not sure they’d get it, but it might be an interesting experiment. I was going to suggest the 5 pillars of Islam, but that might not be such a good idea :-)

  • James Greene

    Or if that person is wearing the uniform of a nation we have gone to war with. Then, it is not only legal, but patriotic.

  • James Greene

    Almost every state in the last election had a significant division between democrats and republicans. This idea that some states are more to one side or the other is only true to a limited extent. In my state of NC, the split is closer to 51 percent Republican and 49 percent Democrat, yet our state is generally considered a Red state. I would not want to leave my home based on this almost arbitrary determination.

  • Spuddie

    Of course your definition of “being stepped on” is not being able to exert privilege over other sects under the color of law. To blatantly violate the 1st Amendment with social sanction.

    What you call being oppressed anyone else calls, abiding by our laws and respecting religious freedom.

  • Guy

    Kudos to Gage. I live in Oklahoma & grew up atheist in a small town. Even living in the capitol city, as I do now, it is no walk in the park. I’d gladly shake his hand.

  • JET

    Well done, Gage. Please focus on the fact that there are many, many young people who believe the way you do. They are perhaps just not brave enough to stand up for their rights among the glares and subliminal threats of those who would stomp on the Constitution in the name of their religion. Your senior year will probably be very difficult and hopefully you will weather it as well as you have these past few weeks. But then you will go off to college and discover a wonderful world where civil rights trump religious privilege, and where the pursuit of knowledge is valued over the preservation of mythology. You have a bright future ahead of you.

  • John Edwards

    Gage, if you’re reading this: I salute you :)

  • spyderkl

    Oh, man. I’m glad to hear they’re taking it down, but I think Gage is in for a rough time of it with all that Christian “love”. I think he’ll be okay, especially if his principal follows through and supports him.

    If Gage is reading this:

    You are one brave guy. In fact, the bravest person I know who doesn’t live in my house. :D It’s good that the principal and some of the football team are standing up for you, and it’s terrific that you have your family’s support. Hang on to that.

  • Earl G.

    When folks think the earth is 6000 years old, that humans rode dinosaurs, and that 2 of every animal could fit on a boat … expecting them to comprehend a document as complex and full of big words as the Constitution is probably asking too much.

  • Earl G.

    Threat of violence, huh? Tell me, did the FFRF threaten to beat up the principal? Did they threaten to punch every member of the school board in the face? Maybe they promised to get stabby with the classroom teachers. Please, tell me more about these secular “threats” of “violence” that, you know, *totally* happened.

  • Chris Keene

    a long time reader first post i wanted to comment on (tho they are all good.) Standing up against the norm in high school is a difficult decision at any time. Going against the grain of a whole community, that’s just amazingly difficult. In the world there are people applauding you for your determination to stand up for right over wrong. Continue to support free speech and injustice. It’s a skill that we will need in your generation very soon I think. Know that you, Gage, did something hundreds of us wish we could do.

  • Earl G.

    Exactly. The minorities in these new theocracies would be in grave danger. It also seems immoral to completely abandon the children in these places: dooming them to poor education, possibly robbing them of many aspects of modern medicine, not protecting their human rights if they happen to be gay or female, etc.

  • chris

    probably because many though not all religious people don’t just Promote there ideology but force it on others. its not Christianity or atheism that sparks violence. its power over others. when a religion is powerful and large it forces itself on others. and through the ages this leads to intolerance and then persecution. but when they becomes the smaller group they then become the persecuted and claim it unfair to do the same to them. large groups of humans use power and force to get what they want, a survival of the fittest attitude but if they become the weaker group the change their moral position to a slave morality and opt for the golden rule ideology because when your weak a why cant we get along attitude is a good rhetorical argument for why they should leave you alone. its human nature to exploit for our own benefit. weather it is ultimately profitable to mankind? that a question that can only be answered by the results of its incorporation. if its a bad idea then no value will come of it and if its a good idea if will most likely stay and flourish.

    I say this … (Like religious people give a damn about people who don’t share their beliefs) :). see, its not enough that you believe. you seem to need to force it on others. you just didn’t change your attitude about forcing things on others until you were on the loosing side. its a great rhetorical device but exposes the bullshit you preach. persecution of the smaller group is ok, as long as it isn’t your group.

  • RobMcCune

    Argument ad libertarian?

  • Jeff

    Or if a person produces more melanin than you. It’s okay to shoot people with more melanin.

  • Richard Wade

    Of the hundreds of people there, Gage and his family members may have
    been among the only people there in support of taking the Commandments

    Oh they’re there. They’re just afraid to speak up. Forgive them their faintheartedness. It is not easy to go against your family, friends, and what appears to be a crowd that could turn into a lynch mob in a trice, and it’s especially hard when one is young. A few of them might surreptitiously express their agreement with him. The young ones might take a stand on a similar issue later in life, when they’re more self-confident.

    I admire Gage’s courage that more often develops later in life.

  • abb3w

    Contrariwise, formal Balkanization would add passport and immigration barriers to such moves.

  • Chris Keene

    i would never threaten to kill a christian, they have as much right to their beliefs and thoughts as i do. I dont hope christians die, i hope they burn in hell, since that is a socially acceptable thing to say.

  • Earl G.

    Hymenopterans (wasps, bees, etc.) actually have complex brains and exhibit quite sophisticated learning, recognition, memory, and communication behavior. Just sayin’.

    But colloquially, FBG was certainly implying that the Christians are dangerous and uncontrollable.

  • RobMcCune

    So did civil rights cases. Does that mean equal protection under the law is an invention of liberal judges too?

  • lynnguist

    It is scary to realize that people believe that those 10 commandments are the 10 most important morals issues in society.

  • Tom

    The actual laws we use here in civilisation are also, fortunately, way more nuanced than those few, uselessly simplistic commandments. Take a look at how we actually implement “Thou Shalt Not Kill,” for example: there’s murder, sure, but in some legal systems there are differing degrees of murder. Then there’s manslaughter, voluntary and involuntary, and I believe infanticide is a separate crime too. There’s also criminal transmission of HIV, and the whole moral minefield that abortion currently constitutes.

    One also has to consider, at varying times and in varying jurisdictions, insanity pleas, self-defence, imperfect self-defence, Castle Laws, Stand Your Ground laws, Duty To Retreat laws, not to mention the catch-all term in English law of “reasonable behaviour,” and probably countless other subtleties besides. This is to say nothing of how it all applies to uniformed services which are permitted and often required to deploy lethal force.

    Regardless of whether they’re god’s word or not (and this all constitutes evidence that they’re not), even those elements of the ten commandments that correspond to morality commonly held before and since are, in practical terms, virtually useless for legal application in their imprecision and lack of sophistication. You might as well conduct surgery with a knapped flint as rely on the ten commandments in a courtroom.

  • Sue Blue

    I’m sure Jesus would be so proud of all his glaring, shouting, angry followers. Ganging up on a kid. Way to be Christ-like and loving and forgiving.

    I’d like to nominate Gage Pulliam for the same recognition and scholarship that Jessica Ahlquist received. Recognizing and rewarding young people who stand up for reason and the Constitution lets the backwards troglodytes know, in the best possible way, exactly where their hatred and stupidity gets them – nowhere.

    Gage, you are one brave guy, and so are your family members. Stay safe!

  • kagekiri

    Supposedly, the Hebrew word in that commandment is actually “murder”, or killing people unlawfully, rather than the word used for “just” killings, like soldiers killing each other in battle.

    Or at least, this was the line fed to us most times kids asked about soldiers in Bible study, as these commandments are given only a few decades (and a few chapters in the Bible) before God tells the Israelites to wipe out the nations in the Promised land down to every last woman and child (except for rape-able virgins, of course). Even as a fundie from birth, that was an obvious contradiction.

  • David Benjamin Patton

    There is no reasoning with these people. Simply none. Have you ever tried to talk an addict out of using their drug of choice at the height of their addiction? It’s the same thing.

  • David Benjamin Patton

    Our forefathers stole the land from the peoples who were already here so there goes that one too.

  • RobMcCune

    If you can’t beat’em, revel in thoughts of intimidation and mob violence. It’s the christian thing to do.

  • kagekiri

    Eh, I was a fundie young-earth creationist from a young age, and I did well in school, particularly in biology and history. It’s easy to look down on fundies as a bunch of crazy imbeciles, but not all are, really. I don’t think my IQ suddenly jumped when I deconverted after graduating college, nor did my reading comprehension change.

    Religion creates rather large blind spots and compartmentalized applications of skepticism. When this is combined with the sense of self-martyrdom that churches foster, you end up with people who feel that pointing out their blindspots constitutes religious persecution and who are skeptical of YOUR skepticism (“you just want to be a hedonist, and that’s why you argue that God doesn’t exist!”).

    Thus they stay mired in their backwards views that they never apply any skepticism to.

  • Oranje


  • allein

    I believe there were one or two on one of the threads on this from the other day.

  • phantomreader42

    Ah, cheering with sadistic glee at threats to murder a child! How very christian of you, FBG!

  • Michael W Busch

    Hell, an atheist in KC has threatened to kill me. No one cares.

    Documentation, please.

  • Gus Snarp

    The real problem is that the real divide is not north/south, it’s urban/rural. That’s why you can find hotbeds of religious ignorance in most states, and hotbeds of liberalism in the south.

    Traditionally, cities had to have a surrounding rural area to supply food, though today this has been reduced substantially and most food, even fresh produce, comes from across the country. Of course, that’s not a very sustainable model and locally grown food tends to be fresher, tastier, and have much less of a carbon footprint. Nevertheless, it’s mostly eggs and dairy that are still produced regionally in large quantities.

    So it would be technically feasible to move all the urban populations into one huge urban cluster and cut off all the rural areas. At least as long as they were willing to continue feeding us. If they decided to cut off the food supply, we’d be done. And of course there are costs associated with that kind of urban agglomeration: pollution, traffic, infrastructure costs, just to name a few…..

  • FBG

    Wrong. I was implying that people – all people – are volatile in groups. And that the response was completely predictable. I don’t want to see this guy get hurt. And, interestingly enough, so far he hasn’t.

  • onamission5


  • ShoeUnited

    Lawyers shitting their pants.

  • guest

    Loving Christians giving the stink eye to a teenager and threatening him with bodily harm for standing up for the American Constitution and equal rights because their religious PRIVILEGES and Bronze Age rules that were posted illegally were taken down. Sounds about right.

  • Mick

    Remember how Moses got the commandments on tablets of stone, but smashed them before anybody could read them?

    Now go to Exodus 34:1 where God gets another set of stone tablets ready with the promise that he will rewrite the words that were on the tablets that Moses had smashed.

    The words that were written on the second set of stone tablets are shown in Exodus 34:14-26.

    Then, just to make sure there is no mistaking that these are indeed THE Ten Commandments the reader is told (in verse 28) that God “wrote on the tablets the words of the covenant–the Ten Commandments.” (And that’s the first time the phrase “ten commandments” appears in the bible.)

    I’ll bet a penny to a pinch of shit that the school has a completely different set of laws hanging on the classroom walls.

  • codemonkey

    Gus, I have a similar home background (and still live in a small Southern town), so I know where you’re coming from. The Christians are getting angry because freethinkers are becoming more bold, daring to “come out of the woodwork”, so to speak, instead of keeping our thoughts to ourselves and allowing them to run roughshod over us. Christians tolerate us like they tolerate prostitutes; as long as they don’t have to actually face those eeevil people, they can go about their perfect little lives. But when we actually dare to step into the sun alongside them, then it’s “OMG, IT’S AN ATHEIST – SUPRESS IT!!”

  • Kristofer Wetherbe

    I hadn’t considered this particular action. I think it’s brilliant.

  • Gus Snarp

    We should print those up on Ten Commandments t-shirts, signs, what have you and sell them. When Christian buyers complain we just point out chapter and verse and say, don’t you read your Bible?

    Although I always have trouble counting where one begins and another ends…

  • Feminerd

    Actually, the 14th Amendment incorporated all the amendments to the states. The reason states have limits on the gun restrictions they can pass is the same reason they can’t endorse religion.

    We had legal challenges starting ~1950s because before that, people could be and sometimes were lynched for denying God! The idea of civil liberties became more important because of WWII and Cold War propaganda, and we realized that we were actually failing pretty hard at a lot of the things we claimed to be best at. So brave people stood up to try to rectify that situation, in the face of pretty monstrous opposition.

  • Rich Wilson

    Maybe the real ones, as Mick points out elsewhere, from Exodus 34:14-26

  • Miss_Beara

    “We know that in 1980 the Supreme Court ruled it was unconstitutional to have the Ten Commandments in public schools for religious purposes… We disagree.”

    Well, that settles that then. They disagree with it even though it is unconstitutional so that means they don’t have to follow the law because of Jesus.

  • Christa Bradford

    You stated the school board did what was right. No, the school board did what was legally required b/c they do not have the financial backing to fight this type crap

  • phantomreader42

    randall’s not JUST the King of the Useless Tanget. He’s also Potentate of Projection, Earl of Ignorance, Sultan of Stupidity, Heirophant of Hypocrisy, and Viscount of Wishful Thinking!

  • phantomreader42

    Ah, threatening to murder a child for daring to suggest they obey the law! How very christian of them!

  • phantomreader42

    FBG, apologist for slavery, babbled:

    It’s really quite possible that, given a little more time, the South would have voluntarily done away with slavery as all of the rest of the Christian west did (unlike, for instance, the rest of the world). Without Lincoln’s holocaust of blood.

    Because the leader of the Union was somehow responsible for a “Holocaust of blood”, despite the fact that it was the CONFEDERACY that fired the first shot and fought for slavery and the inferiority of non-whites? Yeah, the one you want to compare to Hitler is the guy who DIDN’T run on a platform of enslaving millions for being the wrong race. What color is the sky on your planet?

  • Michael W Busch

    And how would you sort the population into “true conservatives” and “true liberals” ? What happens when the members of each of your relocated populations disagree with each other, which they do? Do you split things again? Coercive partitioning is not a good solution.

    A better thing to do is to educate and persuade. It takes time and a lot of effort, but it does work.

  • Rich Wilson

    This is one of those times that I really wish Hitch were still alive to rip that one.

  • TrueGrit

    You people are as sickening to listen to as you are to watch. Imposing your half-baked beliefs on society like it’s the norm, when you couldn’t be further from the truth! Pathetic, really…….

  • TrueGrit

    Murder? Unhappy stares and overhearing someone wanting to punch him is hardly murder. How dramatic can you get!?

  • Lillynyx

    I have to express my admiration for young Gage and his fight for the law to simply be upheld in his school. I think he knew what type of reaction there would be, but I find it sickening that a parent of another student actually stated he would like to punch Gage in the face. The school principal and teachers must do their duty to protect him as long as he is within those walls. To constantly hear how theists state that their rights are always being trampled upon would be almost laughable…but, it’s not.

    I knew when I was nine years old that I didn’t believe in any god or gods. My beautiful 15 year-old sister had died horribly, by drowning. It was repeatedly stated that god loved her so much that he wanted her back. I saw that for the bullsh*t that it was. I’m sorry to say that it’s only been in the past 10 years or so that I have been much more open about my antitheism. It was a subject that just never arose very often and religion was mostly kept out of the public school system. I know that by the time I was in high school, in the early 1970s, the morning recital of the lords’ prayer had no place in the classroom. I certainly never thought my safety would be compromised, but there were occasions when the reaction of ‘friends’ would be just hurtful, where a couple of them actually backed away from me, like I had something contagious. I’m close to 60 now and have well passed the point where I really give a damn what others think. Happily, religion isn’t the big issue in Canada that it is in the United States. Any time one of our politicians spouts evangelical nonsense, they are usually soundly put down, very often by the laughter of the rest of the population via the media.

    I want to wish Gage the very best in his efforts to keep up the fight for his own rights, and that of others, to not be subjected to the superstitious, backward thinking of others. I hope that Gage will some day decide to use his intelligence and good sense in educating others about the real world/universe and all the wonderful mysteries that surround us.
    Good luck to you, young man…I think we’ll be hearing your name in a very positive way as you go through your life journey!

  • m6wg4bxw

    Fucking Gage! Far out, man!

  • m6wg4bxw

    Trololol. Now gtfo.

  • Rob McClain

    I wish I could walk to class with this kid every day for the rest of the year. He’s got courage and conviction.

  • Matthew Baker

    Well you know you have made it when you upset Ken Ham. Good job Gage (I am not sure how to link his scree but if you scroll down on his timeline you find it)

  • cipher

    I say this here from time to time, and sometimes when I do, I get slammed, because it isn’t something people want to hear, especially if they have friends and relatives still in the fundamentalist world who, they are hoping, will one day get out.

    There is a growing body of experimental data that is strongly suggestive of a neurological foundation for ideological orientation in general, fundamentalism in particular. It isn’t conclusive, but that’s where my money is.

    For example, there was a long-term study (I had a link, and I can’t find it now) that followed children from kindergarten through young adulthood. The researchers found that traits we associate with liberalism vs. conservatism showed up in early childhood. Children who were better at sharing and who were flexible in terms of group dynamics grew up to be liberals. Those who, as children, were more heavily invested in defining what belonged to them as opposed to others, who were more comfortable with sharply defined hierarchies of authority, who needed to know who was in charge of whom – you guessed it; they grew up to be conservatives.

    We should certainly try to improve the educational system and make as much information available to as many people as possible – but I’ve pretty much given up on the idea that education is the key to changing people. I’m largely convinced it’s innate.

  • Mark Powell

    Hey Gage, you’re my new hero. Thank you for standing up to those intimidators. You have a great deal of courage and moral strength. Do you realize what a hero you are to the atheist community. I salute you sir. Job well done.

  • E. Cedric

    cipher, you are alright bro!!!

    I am not a nice man either. I am a realist, and while extremely liberal, I am not one of those “superior” liberals who say “oh peace love and kumbaya”. I am taking a more mercenary approach to life, in finding some very good wisdom from George Carlin as he got older, – the reality is we are not going to change anything, so I am just going to sit back in my front row seat to the freakshow and watch the country go down in a blazing fireball.

  • E. Cedric

    Bullshit. I grew up in a very small town that was as liberal as you will find, and very very very very rural. So this rural/urban nonsense is pure shit. Go to Memphis and say that. Go to Mobile and say that.

    No, it is not urban/rural.

  • E. Cedric

    I’m not on the christer side, but you are one of the last voices of reason around here. You and that kitty thing are shrill and reactionary doofi (plural of doofus) who just shreek and shrill-out when someone does not toe your party line misandrist crap.

  • E. Cedric

    They would make Zimbabwe seem like a preschool.

  • Jax

    unless you don’t agree and then they will be quickly deleted!

  • E. Cedric

    “beated up” BEATED…..the “n” and “d” keys are way too far apart to excuse that to a typo. That is some pure Christian dumbs-ness there….

  • E. Cedric

    Back when I was a mountaineer and did risk management consulting for guiding outfits, I would always hear from the guides (who hated any consultant coming in from management), “we haven’t had an accident yet, so why do we need you?”

    Translation in their minds: “We are perfect and what we are doing is perfectly safe”

    Reality: You have been lucky your unsafe procedures have not resulted in deaths.

    You argue from the guides’ eyes here, “interestingly enough, so far he hasn’t”. Yes, that is correct, but by no means does it mean he, his family, his eighth-grade sister are safe.

    Grow some intellect.

  • E. Cedric

    What world are you living in Gus? Take off the rosy glasses and check out reality.

  • cipher

    I suppose that’s true. Go outside of a twenty mile ring around Boston, and you’ll find bubbas – or “townies”, as we used to call them – to rival those found in the South and Midwest.

    What we really need is mandatory intelligence testing as a prerequisite for reproduction.

  • E. Cedric

    Easy there Mr. Wayne.

    Pilgrim, when you try and talk like that, you’d best be smilin’, cuz we is here to uphold the LAWS, somethin’ you and yer outlaw Xian kin likes to ignore…..

  • cipher

    Yeah, truthfully, I think America is finished. I don’t think we’re coming back from this – and as we continue to go down, we’ll be taking the rest of the world down with us.

  • gg

    Good job Gage! I’m glad you have the support of your parents. It is really too bad when people either just don’t get the Constitution, or think (like Biblical verses) they can pick and choose which parts they want to follow. I hope all the students DO wear their 10 Commandment shirts to school for the rest of the year. They are welcome to it. It is free speech, protected by the …..Constitution.

  • E. Cedric

    I dunno….I kind of think China has already won, and they never even had to fire a single bullet. We pretty much handed them the car keys and said, “your turn” without so much as a slap-fight. So, the Earth will certainly purge humans over the next couple of centuries, but the USA won’t take down the rest of the world as it implodes, it’ll be China as it belches “clean coal” into the sky.

  • E. Cedric

    I’ll be among those that think Hemant gets a little trigger happy with the “censorship” button, but in this case, you are beyond left field.

    Between the two threads vis-a-vis Gage, Hemant pulled a post that had a defenders phone number in it, which, from a safety standpoint was a smart move.

  • Charles Honeycutt

    You could yourself an egotistical pseudonym and anonymously troll boards saying ignorant things while lacking even a basic understanding of the issues. That’s pretty dramatic.

    And by “dramatic” I mean “clumsy and pathetic”.

  • cipher

    Eh, perhaps. In any case, it ain’t gonna be pretty.

  • Michael W Busch

    You are confusing early childhood education and environment for innate traits. There is very little that is innate about political affiliation, or for what you are labeling as conservative and liberal – which appears to actually be authoritarian-follower and non-authoritarian-follower, which is not the same thing.

    There could be an innate component to authoritarianism, but if there is one it is again dominated by education and life history, and even then the correlations are far from perfect. Rob Altemeyer has done a bunch of work on this. e.g.

    Do not mistake how children and adults raised in a particular culture behave for innate traits.

  • Charles Honeycutt

    You can also go the other way, taking each part of the U.S. Constitution and Bill of Rights and comparing them to the Bible, looking for compatabilty. Invariably you get one of two results: “Not Applicable” (freedom of the press) or “Irreconcilable” (elected government versus divine kingship).

  • Charles Honeycutt

    Or hell, even if he isn’t wearing a uniform, even a metaphorical one.

  • Charles Honeycutt

    Did she ever reply to that?

  • Charles Honeycutt

    Stupidly citing Glenn Beck revisionistic history does not make you look like anything other than someone who stupidly cites revisionist history.

  • cipher

    I’m not confusing anything, I disagree re: lack of correlation, and it’s only one example (which I chose because I felt it was relevant) – and as I recall, Altemeyer didn’t say anything specific about genetics (although I could be wrong about that one).

    Believe what you like.

  • Charles Honeycutt

    Thanks for admitting that your morality is based on the schoolyard argument of “Someone was mean to me so I can be mean to other people”, but really, we already knew that.

  • E. Cedric

    No, I just don’t give a damn about YOUR particular views.

  • Charles Honeycutt

    As illuminated by other posters, it’s amazing how whenever someone cites 1984 in a thread, it always turns out that they know nothing about the novel or its author, yet are talking anyway.

  • Charles Honeycutt

    Can we call him the “protagonist” rather than the “hero”?

    Also, quality takedown there.

  • Charles Honeycutt

    And eyebrows raised in mild contempt, don’t forget those.

  • Michael W Busch

    You are confusing an observed behavior, which is empirically demonstrated to be predominately determined by education and experience throughout life – starting at a very early age, with innate traits.

    Altemeyer hasn’t focused on genetics, because his work and that of others shows that authoritarianism is almost entirely environmental. And, again, authoritarianism is not the same as political or religious affiliation. In Soviet Russia, atheists and strict communists were more likely to be authoritarians than other people were; while in the US right now it is nearly the opposite.

  • Rich Wilson

    I think you’re confusing this blog with the likes of say, Ken Ham or Ray Comfort, who ban any slightly dissenting opinion.

    You’ll notice that Hemant in general thinks the solution to disagreeable speech is more speech.

  • anniewhoo


    I don’t think you are alone, but it takes a great deal of
    courage to stand up for what you believe is fair and right. I am sure
    there are others at the school who may feel the same way you do, but for
    one reason or another, are not in a position to stand beside you.
    Perhaps there is a student who fears s/he would be disowned if s/he
    stood beside you. Or a student who is already ridiculed or bullied and
    just can’t bear one more reason. Perhaps there is a student who really
    needs letters of recommendation from certain faculty members if s/he
    ever plans to further his/her education. These other students are silent
    heroes too, for going into classrooms day in and day out, with messages
    they know have no place in a public school. Thank you for being their
    voice. I wish you all the best, and imagine you will have a bright
    future. You have already demonstrated that you are a man of principle.
    May it take you far.

    PS- Please take advantage of the offers
    from the principal and football team to have your back. Whether they
    agree with what you did or not, they too are showing us all what being a
    good person really means.

  • timberwraith

    Actually, those laws, which you imply are “half-baked beliefs”, are designed to protect and foster a diversity of religious beliefs. They are designed to protect people of all religious and non-religious persuasions from the tyranny of the dominant religious belief system of the era. What of those Christians who hail from disfavored denominations and minority sects (Mennonites, Amish, and Christian immigrants of foreign sects, for example, or Catholics 60 years ago)? Do they not deserve protection from the whims of the more dominant parts of Christianity?

    You can’t protect one set of religious beliefs from oppression without protecting all of them. Setting up the government so that it favors one set of beliefs about religion over all others is the surest way to encourage discrimination.

    Do you know what a truly half-baked idea is? Being a member of the culturally dominant group and believing that you have the right to bend the law in ways that enables you to push around people who are members of minority groups. If you truly believe that’s the way society should run, then you’re endorsing nothing less than the religious oppression of others. You are no better than the average schoolyard bully.

  • E. Cedric

    Oh it’s you again. Hey Mikey, why don’t you learn how to talk to people without the slightly Asberger’s tones, eh? Seriously, you are about as much fun as that “Sheldon” guy from the low brow “Big Bang Theory” – only without the comedic timing and slight hint of humanity.

  • Camorris

    Perhaps it’s because they don’t have them memorized that they want them displayed everywhere.

  • Comment Avenger

    It’ll be interesting to see where the atheists send their children to school in a world free from Christianity. When all hell breaks loose they’ll long for the good old days, or perhaps they’ll be giddy with nothing there…there.

  • comment avenger

    where do you think primative law study begins?

  • comment avenger

    Haven’t read too widely, eh?

  • comment avenger

    And, I assume that you along with your enlightened friends, will do the stepping. You folks just don’t see how our constitution doesn’t work without a people able to govern THEMSELVES.

  • Michael W Busch

    You add slurs against neurodiversity to the list of harmful stereotypes you promote. Cut out the nonsense.

  • comment avenger


  • comment avenger

    you’ve got to be kidding me. boy those hospitals, half-way homes, red cross (which all had Christian beginnings) are sure stepping on your necks.

  • comment avenger

    so enlightened..

  • E. Cedric

    Hey Rainman, you free next weekend? I am thinking about a Vegas trip and could use someone who can count cards.

  • E. Cedric

    Neurodiversity!!! Oh MY GAWD!!! You have got to be fucking kidding me!?! You pansie-assed little douchetool! Jesus Tap Dancing Christ, you truly are trying to dumb down speech and make everything ridiculously pussified.

    It is amazing. Just when you think people could not get any more wussied and pussied, and BAM, it happens.

  • comment avenger

    I’ll be eager to see if you feed me when I’m hungry and clothe me when I am naked. I am praying right now for you all because the bile of hate for Christians is obvious.

  • Rich Wilson

    While keeping in mind that nobody has the right to not be offended, I try to draw a distinction between intentionally saying something I know will offend someone in order to raise a point, and just saying something to piss someone off.

    I’m not sure if you’re trying to speak out in defense of the right to piss people off, or just trying to piss someone off.

  • Michael W Busch

    You are lying. Hemant is quite indulgent in terms of what people say in their comments – in several ways more so than I would be, actually. But it’s his blog and so his rules.

  • E. Cedric

    A little of both if truth is to be told.

    Carlin was right, we have become a nation of pussies and a nation who loves to make language just fucking retarded.

  • comment avenger

    We are the government. OK, no ten commandments, but what’s gonna fill the void? Shall we get our guidance from the government, Obama, ….oooh, not too gracious I must say. How will the blind lead the blind?

  • phantomreader42


  • comment avenger

    Don’t worry, you can take down any poster or plaque, but our love is strong for those who hate because Jesus live within us. Never will we stop loving.

  • comment avenger

    all I get from atheists is a determined quest to live in a preoccupied self-absorption.

  • Antinomian

    This from a chronic mental masturbater.

  • comment avenger

    Hemant, looked at your site…impressive. But will you still be an enlightened humanist when your own stockpile shrinks and what we share hurts us personally to the4 point of death? Like the Christians who stayed to nurse those during the black plague?

  • comment avenger

    Shall we get a little editing here, please?

  • E. Cedric

    That’s because you are a gestapo jackass. You have this fucked up pussy version of language and are every bit as dangerous as the far right. People like you scare me because you not only want watered down language, you want to control thought.

  • Michael W Busch

    Chronologically, Ancient Egyptian law, old Sumerian law, traditional Chinese law. In terms of current importance, the Code of Hammurabi.

  • Renshia

    going to learn? Haha that was a good one. When there stepped on they will just be poor victims. There ain’t no learning being done in that bunch.

  • TCC
  • Renshia

    your example is way better than his metaphor.

  • Michael W Busch

    Less religious countries generally have higher quality of life and better social support networks than more religious ones (consider Scandinavia). The causality actually probably goes the other way around, though.

  • Michael W Busch

    We learn from experience, just like we always have.

  • Renshia

    Oh no! Not the eyebrows.

  • Thalfon

    “After the principal found out it was me [who alerted FFRF], he told me he would help me. So did some football players.”

    I feel like the principal and the football players who made this offer also deserve some recognition. Anyone standing up for him might end up the target of similar ridicule. It’s interesting, you always hear the whole “big, mean jockey” stereotype, and maybe sometimes it’s true, but in my experience that’s not been the case. I remember that in my high school anyone who tried to bully the special needs students usually found themselves on the wrong side of the football team.

    As for the principal, it’s so common that we hear about bullying being totally ignored in schools, even when it’s *not* over something as controversial as this (however uncontroversial this ought to be). That the principal is willing to go out of his way to check on Gage and make sure he’s alright tells me good things about him.

    Best wishes, Gage, and all those helping you out.

  • phantomreader42

    So, let me get this straight, randall. A fictional character in a book you clearly haven’t read, who according to you was an atheist despite it being irrelevant to the story even if true, described a cruel future that superficially resembles an analogy someone on the Internet used to describe the cruel acts of your cult in the REAL WORLD, in the PRESENT, and this somehow magically makes your cult’s shameless violations of the law and violent threats against children the fault of atheists?

    What color is the sky on your planet, randall? And does it have an unusually high atmospheric pressure, because you seem to be too stupid to remember to breathe without help…

  • Kristofer Wetherbe

    How about one version on the front and another on the back?

  • comment avenger

    how’s that working for you, MB?

  • comment avenger

    MB, the article you mention says nothing about social support networks. Actually when quality of life improves people who were poor (the core of the article) find they don’t have the thirsting need for God and enjoy the delusion of materialism.

  • comment avenger


  • comment avenger

    Where are my posts, Hemant? My points were substantive. Let the community know that this free thinking is a charade. What a fraud.

  • Michael W Busch

    That’s included in the Human Development Index: , most particularly the inequality-adjusted version. And if you are trying to pull the line “suffering is good”: that is complete nonsense.

  • comment avenger

    Good luck on that democracy experiment. You’ll have to legislate a 100,000,000 laws just to try and govern the common non-self-governed person.

  • Michael W Busch

    Pretty well, so far, but there is lots of room for improvement.

  • comment avenger

    forget it cipher, mike is locked in on his rivulet of reason.

  • comment avenger

    And you get drugs and guns and blah and armed guards. Freedom doesn’t require us to abdicate our moral fabric at the whim of societies contrarians.

  • RobMcCune

    If you could look beyond your own prejudices, you might see something different.

  • comment avenger

    i’m not saying it is good. never mentioned it. but it sure enough exists. how would you comfort someone suffering?

  • comment avenger

    you guys and your psycho-social lens looking at ancient civilizations. How cute.

  • comment avenger

    My how blatantly dumb of you. TX res. HKS grad, etc.

  • Michael W Busch

    Your statement was “when quality of life improves people … enjoy the delusion of materialism”. You therefore imply that an improved quality of life, which in large part is due to there being less suffering, is somehow bad. In answer to your question: we should try to prevent as much suffering as possible from happening in the first place, and do all that we can to relieve suffering when does happen. The actions we take will depend on the situation, and could be many different things.

  • comment avenger

    remove this

  • Aspieguy

    It’s odd that a religion that claims to be based upon love, its followers do a lot of hating.

  • cipher

    And I’m telling you there’s empirical evidence to the contrary. That was my point. Your insistence that I’m “confused” doesn’t alter that.

    Also, your statement about societal change really has no bearing upon what I said earlier.

    You’re believing what you want to believe.

  • corps_suk

    Even if you’re a bible thumping idiot…be interested to see if you feed poor gay kids being bullied by christians at their school?

  • corps_suk

    Yeah silly me thinking about the national organizations devoted to discriminating against their fellow citizens, or pushing the control of women, or trying to change curriculum in schools so we grow up to ignorant to question a bronze aged myth…yup a couple hospitals means we cant criticize all that other crap.

  • Sids

    Well if you put it that way then it’s the ‘basis’ of the law in every country in hisory. Killing people unlawfully is against the law by definition. In that sense, the Aztec blood sacrifices were perfectly in concordance with the 10 commandments.

  • Sids

    Ok. No one is trying to stop you from loving, so that’s kinda irrelevent. In fact, if taking down a plaque stopped you from being able to love then that would be rather disturbing.

    I’m also unaware of anyone hating because “Jesus lives within” you. You seem to be halucinating that.

  • Robert Burkholder

    The First Amendment as adopted September 25,1789 (relevant clause reads “Congress shall make no law respecting the establishment of religion,nor prohibiting the free exercise thereof:” The US Constitution declares every Judge in every State is bound by the written Constitution. The twice passed Fundamental Law the Northwest Ordinance Article III provides Religion,Morality and Knowledge being necessary to good government and the happiness of mankind,schools and the means of education shall forever be encouraged.’ Justice Joseph Story in Commentaries on the Constitution 1833 published the general if not universal sentiment in America when the Constitution and (First) Amendment were adopted was that Christianity should receive encouragement from the State….” And both Justice Joseph Story and Thomas Jefferson (who often used religious /Christian quotes in his political writing )agreed that metaphysical refinements and tests of logical skill were out of place in understanding the Constitution/Law. The Judiciary Committee reports of 19 Jan.1853 Mr.Badger US Senate–and corresponding US House report by Mr. Meacham 27 March 1854-both discussed the meaning of the Establishment clause– and they both affirm and expand upon what was published by Joseph Story. The endorsement Test invented by Sandra Day O’Connor in the 1980′s is such out of place refinement that does NOT defend the Constitution.I cannot agree it was the right decision.But one contrary to our Constitution and Law.

  • onamission5

    Yikes. Can’t get behind that either. Down with eugenics.


    Those people who would insert religion into the public schools and otherwise attempt to breach the barrier of church and state should imagine a world where the religion they hate the most has control over the lives of their children. Rights, under our constitution, are not matters of majority rule and never have been. The bill of rights protects the individual from the tyranny of the majority, like the imbeciles living in Muldrow Oklahoma.

  • Michael W Busch

    The empirical evidence you cited does not support your conclusion. I have explained why.

    And that social change can and does happen is entirely relevant to why your idea of “they’re not going to change, so put all the fundamentalists somewhere and let them self-destruct” is bad – it is far better to make society better for everyone than it is to falsely deem social problems to be insolvable.

  • PhiloKGB

    Your anecdotes are not at all persuasive in the face of demographics.

  • kagekiri

    Yeah, sorry, that’s not clear. It was probably something closer to “personal reasons” are murder, as opposed to “mere” killing as a soldier being your job.

    So hitmen and mercenaries would be fine…

  • E. Cedric

    So the fight to uphold our foundation documents and laws is “crap”? Sister, you are one fucked up chick.

  • E. Cedric

    I dare you to go through the same threats as Gage and his (uninvolved) eighth grade sister and then flap your stupid gums.

    Come on tough guy, put up or shut up.

    Fucking fool. Total fucking fool

  • Charles Honeycutt

    The Inquisition and the Dark Ages had Christian beginnings. Please try to make a point.

    The Red Cross was instituted as a secular organization. Their symbol is not a reference to Christianity, which is pretty obvious just from the shape. You’re ignorant.

  • Charles Honeycutt

    It’s funny how when one looks at your history of comments, they’re all about how loving and humble you are and how other people are nasty. And now here you are changing the subject because you can’t actually refute what anyone is saying. Poor little dishonest hypocrite.

  • Charles Honeycutt

    The love that no doubt forces you to make snide comments like this: “you guys and your psycho-social lens looking at ancient civilizations. How cute.”

    Pro Tip: When you don’t know anything about a subject, it will become obvious very, very quickly when you open your proverbial mouth.

    Pro Tip Deux: Your hypocrisy is not an argument.

    Pro Tip Trois: Your comment history shows that you claiming to be loving is you whistling in the dark – merely an expression of fear and personal insecurity.

  • Charles Honeycutt

    You ignorant people and your lack of knowledge of basic history and snide, self-important need to cover up said ignorance with gibberish. How… cute.

  • Charles Honeycutt

    He went into a room with hundreds of people who were there specifically because they took personal offense to his actions and equate it to an attack on their very identities. Many of those people are teenagers (with the attendant common issues) whom he will encounter daily in crowded halls. An ADULT made a threat against him outside, and that was just the one they could hear in that crowd (it may have been an outlier, but it certainly wasn’t unique.) “Unhappy stares” was a serious understatement.

  • Charles Honeycutt


  • Charles Honeycutt

    The Constitution and Bill of Rights were written with the express theory that people are NOT good at self-governance. You’re ignorant of history.

    Also, trying to change the subject doesn’t work here. You’ll have to try another form of dishonest behavior.

  • Charles Honeycutt

    Highly quotable and painfully accurate. I like it.

  • Charles Honeycutt

    What part of “The causality actually probably goes the other way around, though.” was difficult for you to understand?

    Thanks for admitting that people give in to the delusion of religion more often when desperate for physical relief.

    Hmmm, when quality of life improves… So Adam and Eve had no need for God because he gave them things. But when he treated humanity like shit, they started coming back.

    Thank you for the brainwashing abuser/abused relationship analogy. It’s good that you understand how twisted your beliefs are.

  • Charles Honeycutt

    How do you bloviate a phantom, exactly?

    Good job being a hypocrite with the Grammar Nazi thing below and in other posts. I read that Jesus loves hypocrites. He gives them the power to shoot beams from their eyes or something.

  • Andrew Cooper

    There should be an Amendment requiring line breaks in blog comments. Christ.

  • Beau

    Hang in there, Gage, buddy. Rely on your friends and keep that support system around you. You’ve also got the entire Atheist community watching your back, not to mention the FFRF. Take the higher road. Don’t let these bigots’ comments affect you. Let it go in one ear and out the other. We’re with you, man.

  • Seana

    You’re doing the right thing kiddo!!

  • John Daugherty


  • Rich Wilson

    Please accept that I feel in no way compelled to avoid offending every religious belief on the planet. Any that turn out to be legitimate can surely handle it.

  • Lillynyx

    Avenger…thank you for your kind words. Those were Mormons who said that. Mother had forced us kids to go to the Mormon temple as it was about as anti-Catholic as she could find. (Father was a non-practicing Catholic…I was exposed to the hypocrisy at a very early age). By the time I was 11 years old, I was big enough to fight back, literally tooth and nail, and she couldn’t drag me out the door anymore. I’m just really sorry that I never spoke about being nontheist years earlier.

  • Charles Honeycutt

    Too stupid to know what a Grammar Nazi is? Unsurprising, hypocrite.

  • Charles Honeycutt

    I made no claim to high intelligence. That’s just your lack of reading comprehension and your sullen, egotistical inability to accept that you said an ignorant thing to try to score points coming to the fore. I’m sure that Jesus loves it when people do that.

    You wanted to be treated like a lying ass, and you got your wish. Actually, given your history of comments, you got treated mildly. Enjoy.

  • Charles Honeycutt

    You came here to insult people and got the same treatment in return. Unable to accept that you got schooled and should improve, you’re sullenly digging in.

    Does Jesus love your libel and judgmentalism? How about your dishonesty in trying to change the subject because you know you’re wrong, does he love that?

  • Charles Honeycutt

    Nothing you have said as a Christian has been derided. Does Jesus love that you lie when you can’t get your way?

    How about your changing the subject when wrong, being called out on it, then changing it again, does he love your dishonesty?

    There’s relaxing about your attitude. You’re whistling in the dark and lying because you’re insecure over the fragility of your beliefs; too insecure to even use the power of Google to fix them. Instead, you double down and make yourself even more dishonest in a desperate search for ego inflation.

  • Charles Honeycutt

    You might as well have typed, “U mad bro?” You’re just trolling now. Welcome to reportland, Hypocrite.

    Enjoy masturbating and crying in the mirror over how special you are, so special that Jesus has given you special permission to lie about people and speak other than the truth.

  • Charles Honeycutt

    Actually, you’re desperately trying to keep yourself inflated. Keep puffing, Angrums. I’m sure you can keep up with all the holes in your ego if you act pissy and sullen nonstop.

  • Charles Honeycutt

    EISEGETE, Grammar Nazi Hypocrite. EISEGETE. Jesus you’re bad at this.

    Does Jesus love that when you can’t rebut an argument, you just dismiss and libel the other person while stewing in your impotence?

  • Charles Honeycutt

    Actually, mine is Voltaire. He intercedes for me all the time.

    “I have never made but one prayer to God, a very short one: ‘O Lord make my enemies ridiculous.’ And God granted it.”

  • Rich Wilson

    Your Jesus is no more holly than Linus’s Great Pumpkin. Will you treat Pumpkins with reverence just because I ask you to? Do you treat Cows with the same reverence that Hindus to?

    No, nothing is ‘Holy’ and ‘deserves not to be profaned’. You’re free to do so yourself, but asking others to bend their actions to your fantasy is ridiculous.

  • Andrew Cooper


  • Andrew Cooper

    You can keep that rule yourself if you want to. If you want other people to, you’ll have to provide a cogent argument for why they should.