May 20, 2011

Damon Fowler is an Atheist Hero

Damon FowlerThe atheist blogosphere has been buzzing about Damon Fowler and for good reason. His case highlights what atheist youth here in the bible belt of the U.S. must endure. But the real story here is Damon's courage. Instead of giving in to fears about what might happen to him if he questioned the illegal prayers taking place at his high school graduation ceremony, he stood up for himself and asked his school to obey the law.

Damon's actions remind us that it is the danger inherent in atheist activism that makes it necessary in the first place.

In case this is the first you are hearing about Damon, here is the brief version of what happened:
Damon, an atheist and graduating senior at Bastrop High School in Louisiana, complained about the prayers scheduled to be part of his commencement ceremony. After consulting with an attorney, the school agreed to drop the prayer. Unfortunately, Damon has since been ostracized by the community and even attacked by a school official in the local newspaper (Mitzi Quinn).
The good news is that Damon is not alone in his fight. The Freedom From Religion Foundation is on his side, even offering him a $1,000 student activist award, and Americans United for Separation of Church and State has expressed their support. Friendly Atheist is raising money for a scholarship, and a Facebook page has been set up where people can express their support for Damon.

I have little doubt that Damon felt alone when he took that first step in complaining. But he is sure as hell not alone now! To learn about what you can do to help Damon and other atheists in North Louisiana, see this action alert from the Freedom From Religion Foundation.

Update: Video from Damon's actual graduation ceremony shows that he and his classmates had to endure prayer after all.

H/T to Blag Hag

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