March 12, 2008

Show Your Support for Brave Mississippi Student

Following up on my recent post about Wesley Crawford, the brave high school freshman in Mississippi who is standing up against religious assemblies at his public school, I have learned that he is beginning to experience harassment and even threats from Christian extremists in his community. At Mississippi Atheists, we are calling on those in our state to e-mail Wesley and show their support. Now I'd like to cast the net even wider and ask you to consider doing the same, regardless of where you live.

You can find Wesley's courageous letter to the Hattiesburg American newspaper here. His e-mail address is [email protected]. Finally, I am including the e-mail I just sent to him below:
Dear Wesley,

I just wanted to write to thank you for your brave letter to the Hattiesburg American in which you called attention to the illegal merger of church and state which was taking place in your school. That you would be sensitive to these issues at your age is impressive enough, but the courage you demonstrated by writing that eloquent letter is truly awe-inspiring. To those of us in Mississippi and others throughout America who are uncomfortable with the infusion of evangelical Christianity into publicly funded agencies, you are a hero.

I expect that you are going to experience harassment and even threats from some ignorant individuals for your brave words. Standing up for what is right is rarely easy, and too few have the courage to do so. The notion that you would be harassed for questioning the legality of a group seeking to push its religious beliefs on public school students is infuriating but not especially surprising given where we live. Please realize that there are many right here in Mississippi who fully support you.

In case any of this would be helpful, I have complied a brief list of resources which seem relevant:
You have my support, and I want you to know that there are many right here in Mississippi who support you.

Mississippi Atheists
If you e-mail him, please realize that Wesley is not an atheist. He is not doing this to make a point, stir up trouble, or even remove religion from his school completely. He simply wants to be able to opt-out of attending mandatory religious assemblies at his school.

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