Sad news: After suffering threats and harassment a North Carolina teen has been forced to abandon her efforts to form a chapter of the Secular Student Alliance at her public high school.
15-year-old Kalei Wilson waged a brave and determined battle against school administrators at Pisgah High School to form the group. Indeed, the decision to allow the atheist club was made only after significant pressure was brought to bear by the Secular Student Alliance (SSA), the Freedom From Religion Foundation and the American Civil Liberties Union.
However, fearing for the safety of her family, last night Wilson announced that she is bowing out. The following excerpts from posts to Wilson’s GoFundMe page help tell the story:
I’m nervous about the first meeting this week. This morning I brought some flyers to hang up at school but I don’t think they will remain on the walls long.
We have permission to post them but if the people who continue to message me with horrible stuff sees them, I bet they tear them down.
This morning I was called “Satan” by one Christian girl who first called me a “dumb c&^t b*&^h!”
I know what I’m doing is right but it’s scary…
And then last night this post appeared:
It saddens us to report that due to the numerous threats and the verbal attacks on Kalei along with the vindictive witch-hunt to hurt the reputations of affiliated local groups and our own family, Kalei will not be continuing with the group.
We have contacted GoFundMe and requested they return your generous donations. They have assured us that your funds will show back up in your respective accounts within 3 to 5 days.
Your love and support are priceless and we apologize in letting you down. It was our single goal to support Kalei in her efforts to start the much needed SSA club.
However, we never expected our family and friends to be sought out and demonized. Please know that we recognize the importance of the club but we can not justify our involvement with the risk of our families safety and well being.
Hemant Mehta at Friendly Atheist sums it up well:
No one — atheists, Christians, anyone — should have to deal with this sort of retaliation from other people because of who they are or what they believe.
The whole episode is a sad and painful reminder of the formal and informal persecution, intimidation and harassment that atheists, agnostics and other freethinkers often must face.
It is also a stinging indictment of the hypocrisy, the arrogance, and the cruelty of the Christian community at large. One can only wonder, where were the so called “good Christians” while this teen was being threatened and harassed?