December 23, 2009

The Day I Became an Atheist Activist

All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing.
- Edmund Burke

When I woke up on a recent morning, I had no idea that I would take an important step toward becoming one of "those atheists" we hear so much about. You know, the atheists who are always "attacking" religion in the public square by asking religious believers to obey the law.

Sure, I have written to the elected officials who are supposed to represent me many times, and I have written letters to the editor of various newspapers. But I have generally avoided putting my job on the line in the name of atheist activism. This would be the day when that changed.

I am a state employee who has been required, as a function of his job, to attend official meetings and ceremonies in which sectarian prayer is a part. The most blatant example of this involves university commencement ceremonies in which the audience is instructed to pray in Jesus' name.

On this particular day, I decided that I am not going to do it anymore. I cannot do it anymore. I also decided that I was through remaining silent about it even if breaking my silence endangered my job. I filed a non-anonymous complaint with my employer.

Am I scared? Damn right, I'm scared! I have seen others in more secure positions lose their jobs for far less. But I could not endure sitting idly by while this occurs one moment longer.

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