Gage Pulliam Wins $1,000 Student Activist Award

When Gage Pulliam saw that his high school had plaques with the Ten Commandments on them in every classroom, he wasn’t sure what he could do about it, so he told the Freedom From Religion Foundation. At the time, his name wasn’t known to the public. But after identifying himself on this site, Gage has shown himself to be a brave activist, speaking to news crews about why he supports church/state separation and letting the public know that he’s not anti-Christian; he’s just pro-equality.

Now, the FFRF has awarded him with their first “Strong Backbone Student Activist Award,” worth $1,000:

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

A New York FFRF member who prefers not to be named endowed the “Strong Backbone” award. The donor sent FFRF the $1000 contribution as his own “80th birthday present,” specifying the award should go to a high school student who has “showed uncommon strength in standing up for his or her freethought sentiments.”

Gage is well-deserving of the award and I’m hoping it also inspires other students in his situation — students who see Christianity being promoted in their schools in an illegal way — to alert a real higher power to the injustice.

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.

  • GodVlogger (on YouTube)

    I tip my hat to this young man!

  • Kevin_Of_Bangor

    So when he does get to college he will be able to purchase one book, maybe two :)

  • Michael W Busch

    Completely missing the joke: More like 10-20, depending on the books and given the online markets in used copies and in non-US editions. But, yes, college textbooks are still too expensive.

  • ShoeUnited

    My predictions of today’s stories in a nutshell:

    Child does the wrong thing, lies about guns: Gets Scholarship – Christians demand atheists pay for overreacting

    Child does the right thing, exposes illegal activity: Gets $1000 – Christians demand atheists pay for overreacting

    More at 11…

  • Karen

    And WHAT a backbone! What a strong young man, committed to doing what’s right. I hope he finds the success he richly deserves.

  • JET

    Irony: Gage condemned to a hell that doesn’t exist… Cole condemned to a hell that does.

  • chicago dyke

    way to miss the point, rich person.

  • Kevin_Of_Bangor

    Rich? As in have money? I’m so rich that next week I have to give my car back to the bank because I cannot make the payments and I’m behind in my rent.

    Did you miss my little smiley face at the end of my sentence?

    Edit: I’m not the person who down voted you.

  • anniewhoo

    I love reading this type of story. Way to go Gage, and happy birthday to the generous donor!

  • RobertoTheChi

    What a brave guy! I can only hope my dd is as brave as Gage when she’s older. You have a very bright future ahead of you, Gage!

  • Tanner B James

    If he comes here, to Washington, to go to school he could virtually spend nothing on his books, thanks goto the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation’s Open Course Library. We are so Liberal here that it gives Conservatives cancer.

  • Kevin_Of_Bangor

    Bunch of pot smoking hippies :)

  • Gus Snarp


  • Drew M.