The Atlantic‘s James Hamblin published a wonderful piece yesterday about the Secular Student Alliance’s Safe Zone program and why it’s necessary:
Earlier this year, while no one was looking, Gage Pulliam took a photo of a plaque that listed the Ten Commandments, as it hung on the wall of his Oklahoma high school’s biology classroom.
Pulliam emailed the photo, anonymously, to the Freedom From Religion Foundation. They then sent a complaint to the school district, which asked Muldrow High School to take down the plaque.
The protesters began speculating as to who was responsible for the instigating photo. Speculative whispers became cries. When some of Pulliam’s friends — who were among the cohort of openly areligious students at Muldrow High — started feeling heat, Pulliam outed himself on an atheist blog. Sacrificing himself to so that he might save others, Pulliam admitted that he was the one who sent the photo.
Pulliam later said that in the wake of his confession, his mother worried for his safety. She also worried that his teachers might grade him differently. His sister, an eighth-grader, said other students wouldn’t look at her, and “in one instance she couldn’t even get a class project done because her group members refused to talk to her.” Other students “told Gage’s girlfriend that he should stay from them or else they’ll punch him.”
That’s the sort of antagonism atheists can encounter in certain schools in many states. That’s what the program is designed to counter. That’s why I’m a supporter of it.
[Click headline for more...] [Read more...]