Kids today have it hard.
My sons have more homework in grade school than I ever recall having. There are so many clubs, cliques and activities it is hard to keep up.
Now add on top of that being an atheist.
I don't have to guess, I know a couple. Jessica Ahlquist currently at Cranston High School and Damon Fowler, formerly of Balstrop High School. Both of these brave kids sued their schools. Jessica for a prayer banner in her school and Damon for a school-led prayer at graduation.
They both did the right thing, and of course suffered for it.
Jessica was called an "evil little thing" by RI State Rep Peter Palumbo. Damon was disowned by his family (more or less, his older brother is helping him) and called horrible things by his former teachers. Of course in every case the adults look like fools and as adults we can mock them, deride them and point out their ignorance and general lack of understanding.
The kids though are still hurt by the remarks.
I have had the chance to become Facebook friends with both of this young people. If for no other reason to offer my support. Others have come through with more than just words, they have set up scholarships for them. Both have been brave, but they are hurt like kids will be when they are bullied. Make no mistake, the adults were bad in this, but the other kids were much, much worse.
I never had it rough.
Sure I was, what I thought, the only atheist in my high school, though now I know that is incorrect. But no one ever really treated me different. I made no attempt to hide what I felt. When religion was talked about or mentioned I usually had a comment or two. I never felt oppressed.
Sometimes I do wonder what it would have been like to have been more open about what I believed in. To do the things that Jessica and Damon did. Hard to say really. It was a different world back then. The big monster under the bed was not people of other religions, it was still people of different color, or sexual orientation, or even the Soviets still. Maybe because in the world of Ronnie Reagan people didn't think atheists existed. Maybe that is a thought for another time.
To the Damons and Jessicas that are and the Tim that just didn't quite get there, keep your head up kids, one day you will own the future.
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