Cognitive Dissonance

"Democracy! Bah! When I hear that I reach for my feather boa!" - Allen Ginsberg

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This District Is About to Get Sued…

Wow. The south continues to astound me. Here’s the scoop from Friendly Atheist:

  • Damon, a senior, knew that prayers would be said during the graduation ceremony at Bastrop High School, a public school in Louisiana. He shared his concerns on Reddit.
  • As he wrote in the letter, Damon contacted Principal Stacey Pullen on Tuesday and said he would be in touch with the ACLU if the prayer happened.
  • Pullen said changes would be made to the program so there would be no legal issues. (YAY!)
  • Mitzi Quinn, a faculty member at BHS for 25 years, decides to open her mouth to badmouth Damon. A teacher publicly trashed a student. Seriously. She said:

    …”what’s even more sad is this is a student who really hasn’t contributed anything to graduation or to their classmates.”

    Quinn is a senior advisor, by the way. A role model of sorts. How about that.

    Quinn also says (I’m paraphrasing here) other non-religious students have kept their mouths shut about the prayer for years, so why can’t Damon? I’m guessing JT Eberhard’s reaction is the same as yours.

  • Damon’s brother, Jerrett Fowler, had Quinn as a teacher and wrote her a letter that you have to read. Meanwhile, their mother cut off all communication with Damon.
  • Reddit gets involved and alerts the whole world to his story. The Freedom From Religion Foundation gives Damon a $1,000 college scholarship for standing up for what’s right. (All the contacts you need for the school district and school board are at that link. And here.)
  • The graduation rehearsal happened Thursday night and one of the students led the longest prayer you’ll ever hear at a public school event:

  • I know students are allowed to mention God in their speeches, but this gratuitously? And for this long? What were the school officials thinking?!

    Jen McCreight explains the significance of what happened:

    This girl used prayer as a weapon to separate the Good Christians from The Others. To alienate. To shun. To mock. And even more disgustingly, the community cheers along like a pack of warriors who have defeated their enemy, and laugh condescendingly at the mention of a moment of silence.

    Bastrop High School, prepare to get the living fuck sued out of you. This may not be graduation, but it’s still a school function. It doesn’t matter if you told this girl not to say a prayer – the fact that you let it go on for three minutes is a crime. You should have turned off the mic and pulled her from the stage the moment “but” left her lips.


  • If that video is any indication of how Friday night’s graduation ceremony will go, they better enjoy whatever prayer is said. It’s about to cost them one hell of a lot of money.
  • For those concerned, there’s a Support Damon page on Facebook — you can all send your love there.

    Filed under atheism