To be fair though, we like to keep an open mind about these matters. Oh we still think they're all delusional and whatnot, what with believing in magic people in the sky who, in spite of all the wonders and mysteries in the universe as all powerful, infinite, timeless beings they're most interested in stopping gays from getting married. Now that's a strong argument for increased funding of community mental health services right there. No, what we mean by an open mind is that we're still willing to believe that some of these folks are relatively harmless and could pretty much be ignored without too much damage to the social fabric.
So when we run across a story like this we're all like here's an opportunity for the godly among us to take the high road, to say they have the courage of their convictions and aren't going to be panicked by some young person's attempt to find his own identity. They're going to take this opportunity to show the world they don't wear their religion on their sleeves because their faith is so shallow even the slightest hint of doubt expressed by anyone can send them into paroxysms of intolerance, bigotry and hatred.
In fact, they're going to take this opportunity to support this young man, even if they disagree with him, because that's the American way, and after all, here is a young man sticking to his values, which adults are always telling young people to do; resisting peer pressure, which adults are always telling young people to do; and obeying the law, which adults are always telling young people to do.
Yeah. It could have gone that way. Then we realized we're dealing with christians here.
Damon Fowler, an atheist student at Bastrop High School in Louisiana, was about to graduate. His public school was planning to have a prayer as part of the graduation ceremony: as they traditionally did, as so many public schools around the country do every year. But Fowler -- knowing that government-sponsored prayer in the public schools is unconstitutional and legally forbidden -- contacted the school superintendent to let him know that he opposed the prayer, and would be contacting the ACLU if it happened.You kind of know where this is going don't you?
Then Fowler's name, and his role in this incident, was leaked. As a direct result:Well, in the community's defense, they were just following biblical precepts. After all, Matthew 5:44 instructs us to hound, bully, ostracize, demean and threaten anyone who has the temerity not to STFD and STFU when christians want to mumbo their jumbo in public.
1) Fowler has been hounded, pilloried, and ostracized by his community.2) One of Fowler's teachers has publicly demeaned him.3) Fowler has been physically threatened. Students have threatened to "jump him" at graduation practice, and he has received multiple threats of bodily harm, and even death threats.4) Fowler's parents have cut off his financial support, kicked him out of the house, and thrown his belongings onto the front porch.
And as for the kid's very own parents throwing him out, come on. You have to admit that it's a bit of an embarrassment when your kid turns out to be some kid of free thinking, rationalist devil boy. We mean, how is mom ever going to face the ladies at the church social committee? And dad's campaign to be a deacon? Forget it.
Now, you might think, what with this kid having been totally abandoned by his community and his parents, he might have some pretty serious issues right about now and really need some place where he can get some support and guidance. And you'd be right. That's why schools provide guidance counselors to help students through times of emotional turmoil, right Mitzi Quinn, who has been on the staff at BHS for almost 25 years, much of that time as a senior advisor?
Throughout her time working with the student, Quinn said they (sic) never expressed their personal beliefs or that they had any problems with other students' Christian faiths. "And what's even more sad is this is a student who really hasn't contributed anything to graduation or to their classmates," Quinn said.Well, all righty then. Ms. Quinn, we're thinking you could brush up on your empathy skills just a tad there, if you don't mind.
Fortunately, Damon isn't entirely alone. His brother Jerrett is bringing Damon into his own home in Texas, and will help put him through college. And Damon is fortunate enough to have the backing of the atheist community, who are providing encouragement, emotional support, practical assistance, and even a scholarship fund.Whoa, whoa, whoa, there Sparky. Just a fire and brimstone minute. You mean to tell us the heathens have taken this boy in? The heathens have shown mercy towards him, given him support and made him feel part of a community? Don't they understand that this kid is an outcast? A pariah? Ah, of course they don't. They're not familiar with the teaching of Jesus like christians are. Jesus knows how to treat outcasts, Right Matthew?