Sunday, February 26, 2012

Should The Atheist Be Allowed To Voice Her Opinions?

A HIGH SCHOOL STUDENT in Tennessee had her story in the school newspaper killed by school administrators who thought her views on atheism were potentially disruptive.

The student, who is the editor of the paper, an honors student and an atheist, wrote, "Why does atheism have such a bad reputation? Why do we not have the same rights as Christians?"

The school, which is predominantly Christian, has prayers offered at the start of many sporting events, and during graduation services. The student argues that these actions are in violation of the First Amendment, which argues for freedom of religion.

Is the school allowed to deny publication of the student's story?

Should the student be allowed to voice her opinions?

Read her original story here.

(Image from the Knoxville News Sentinel)

5 comments:

Bryan James said...

High Schools should be allowed to edit what prints in their school newspapers. Like it or not, they are responsible for the safety of students (and the contentment of the parents). In this case, printing this article would have caused a sh*tstorm in the community.

While this would have been fine in a high school in the Mid-Atlantic megalopolis (Boston to DC) North of the Mason Dixon line, less liberal areas of the country still exist in a pseudo-theocracy. Want proof? See Rick Santorum's religious buzzword driven current success.

My college paper was pulled for a controversial article about drinking that would have painted the administration in a bad light. They decided that the student writers and staff being pissed off temporarily would be better than slander in print.

Simply put, this isn't controversial. It is real life and her feeling aggrieved is typical in the victim-led, litigious society that America has become.

Andrew Small said...

I strongly disagree with the decision of the school board to censor this belief. No one has the right to not be offended.

This girl was offended by the school's egregious ignorance of the establishment clause. They can continue most of these practices legally but they shouldn't be offended when someone eventually criticizes them. The girl has the equal right to offend these people with her own views as they have offended her.

Atheism is only "disruptive" in that it leads people to think critically about their beliefs. The whole point of an educational institution is to be exposed to different points of view. If parents want their kids sheltered from such views, send them to a religious charter school which we already give too much money despite their violation of separation of church and state.

Miko Arai said...

I personally believe that it violates the first amendment. The school has no right of not publishing her story just because she is atheist. Schools should be open to discuss different issues to also educate their students.

I would have understand the school's predominant Christian practices if the school itself is a Christian school but it is not. It is just composed dominantly of Christian population.

I understand that it would have caused some troubles for the school but this is also an opportunity for the students to know and learn the real definition of atheist.

I personally believes that minorities voices should not be ignored.

Anonymous said...

Kevaun T. Green

I don't believe the student should have the right to voice her public opinion/criticism in the high school newspaper because any criticizing article has the potential to be disruptive.


She is making accusations about what she think people feel about atheism, she never says she went to administration to ask, is it okay if I start an Atheist club? Or, is it okay if Atheist speakers come and pass out things?

Instead she said "However, I feel like if an Atheist did that, people would not be happy about it. This may not be true, but due to pervasive negative feelings towards Atheists in the school, I feel that it would be the case.” Krystal seems to have her own point of view as she has not attributed any of her feelings to a conversation or clear statement made by staff, students and or visitors, which insinuate favoritism of Christians over Non-Christians.

It is said by many Christians they feel the school system is a much more secular than Christian. I also wondered since students in the school were not quoted, If they would rebut the criticism by questioning how can she could say that the school is being impartial when Christian clubs are optional for students, and receiving candy for from visitors are optional, but in the actual school curriculum it is mandatory to receive atheistic views about the origin of man-kind in the form of Evolution.

Evolution speaks about the absence of a supreme being in the creation of man, and it is mandatory that every student and teacher, regardless of Christian views, learns and teaches these views in the public school system.

This sounds like the potential for a major disruptive battle of opinions.

With that being said, I think that Atheism should be respected as a religion, and that one who considers themselves an atheist should feel well represented in the public school. According to dictionary.com, which Krystal Meyers quoted, says that an Atheist is, "a person who denies or disbelieves the existence of a supreme being or beings…" Well that is exactly what every Christian and Non-Christian receives in the public school education system. So as an Atheist, she is well represented in her beliefs, which is mandatorily force fed to all students.

I am not sure how she feels Christians have more rights than atheist. Christian doctrine is not in the curriculum. Evolution is….

It is very clear, unfortunately, that some believe evolving from a bang and monkeys is much more suitable for students then being created by, and in, the image of Supreme Being.

Many have argued that the idea of atheism is well represented throughout many public schools as the majority of students, monkey around and treat school as if it is a jungle rather than a place of learning.

I totally support her with educating people about Atheism, and believe that her article should be allowed in the school paper, if she is offering education and not criticizing.

I don’t believe a school paper is the forum for criticizing.

Ms. Meyers said “…However, this does not mean that Atheists do not believe in higher causes; we just do not believe in a higher being.” I believe this type of education should be considered for the High school paper without the criticism, which is based on Ms. Meyer’s own feelings.

Kevin Soboloski said...

Religion has always been a touchy subject all around. Atheism is a newer belief that has sparked some interest among younger generations and has angered others at the idea of it. The reason I can see it causing this debate is because Atheism questions all other religions, but that doesn't revoke the right to your opinion. If someone can express their opinion on religion as one religion or belief then it has to be open to all of them. This girl will have a tough time in a predominately christian school getting away with this though.