School Board Member Apologizes for Saying Atheists Can “Crawl Back Into Their Hellhole”

A couple of nights ago, at a meeting of the Millard School Board in Omaha, Nebraska, there was a push to rename winter break “Christmas break” by Board member Paul Meyer.

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Meyer said he was getting “a little bit tired of a minute minority in this country that keeps pushing Christmas out, keep pushing God out, keep pushing Christ out, when the majority is still a Judeo-Christian country.”

“I would like to make a motion that we rename this period Christmas break, and those atheists who don’t like it can crawl back into their hellhole, because I, for one, will not put my Lord, my God, aside for a few atheists,” Meyer said. “And if they don’t like it, the ACLU doesn’t like it, the heck with them.”

The rest of the board thankfully ignored him, but it was still disturbing that a board member would treat atheists with such contempt (over a generic name for a vacation, no less). It’s not like anyone was stopping him from celebrating Christmas.

To his credit, Meyer finally apologized yesterday in a letter to District employees:

In a letter to district staff, he wrote that after reflection he realized his comments “have been hurtful to many people.”

“This is not what I intended, and I am sorry,” he wrote.

In his letter of apology, Meyer, a Lutheran, wrote that his comments at the meeting stemmed from his strong religious faith. He described them as “mine alone and not that of the board or district. And no, I do not hate anyone.”

Could’ve fooled me.

But good. He apologized and dropped his silly, petty fight. Maybe they can move on now.

Kudos to Amanda Novotny, the director of American Atheists’ Nebraska affiliate, for publicly denouncing his words as “hate speech against a minority group.” Meyer didn’t apologize to her at the time, but it looks like the public pressure finally got to him.

(Image via Shutterstock. Thanks to Brian for the link. Portions of this article were published earlier)

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.


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