High School atheists in the Washington Post

Yesterday a fantastic article ran in the Washington Post highlighting the high school program at the Secular Student Alliance.

Administrators at Melbourne High School in Melbourne, Fla. rejected an atheist club twice on the grounds it was “too controversial.” Students at another Florida high school were told by administrators that no religious clubs were permitted — despite the existence of a school Christian club. And at Houston’s La Porte High School, the principal denied students the use of the word “atheist” because “it could disrupt the educational process.”

Welcome to the life of many high school atheists.  All of these administrations received received a firm talking to from me.  All of them but La Porte caved, and La Porte will cave too, either the easy way or the hard way.  Helping these students is what I get to do for a living.  I’m so lucky.

Later in the article was this quote.

Steve Gerali, dean of the theology department at Grand Canyon University and an expert on ministry to youth, said he is concerned that some administrators favor nonreligious clubs over religious ones.

“My perception is that an atheistic club is a little bit more welcomed than a Christian club,” he said. “I think administrators need to understand that to speak about no God is similar to speaking about a God. So it is, in fact, a religion even though it is anti-religion.”

Is it hard being part of the majority?  Is it a burden?

Boy, did Steve Gareli ever come to the wrong place for sympathy.

I think the difference in degree of difficulty in forming an atheist club vs. a Christian club in the United States can be best summed up in the case of Brian Lisco at Stephen F. Austin High School in Sugarland, TX.  Again (surprise), the formation of a secular club was being stifled, this time by an administrator dragging her feet.  USA Today told the story of that fight.

“Brian Lisco, 18, a senior Stephen Austin High School in the Houston suburbs, found his efforts to form a club were delayed for three months by one hurdle after another. At one point the principal said he could have the club — if he just called it a Philosophy Club and did not affiliate with the Secular Student Alliance.”

You can bet that when the Fellowship of Christian Athletes applied for school recognition that they were not asked to call themselves a philosophy club.  You can also bet that they were not forbidden from affiliating with their national headquarters.  You can bet they weren’t told they’d be too controversial, or that using the word “Christian” would disrupt the educational process.

Seriously, what planet does this guy live on?  Because it’s not this one.

And now atheists are a religion?  The lack of a religion is a religion?  I suffocating also the same thing as breathing?  What’s more, we’re a religion that’s anti-religious?  That’s pretty keen.  We’re like vegetarian cannibals, or racist supporters of civil rights.

That anybody could voice such an absolutely ridiculous opinion is a testament to the ability of Christians to massively delude themselves (as if believing someone rose from the dead 2,000 years ago wasn’t already the last nail in that coffin).

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About JT Eberhard

When not defending the planet from inevitable apocalypse at the rotting hands of the undead, JT is a writer and public speaker about atheism, gay rights, and more. He spent two and a half years with the Secular Student Alliance as their first high school organizer. During that time he built the SSA’s high school program and oversaw the development of groups nationwide. JT is also the co-founder of the popular Skepticon conference and served as the events lead organizer during its first three years.


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