Saturday, February 25, 2012

"No Rights: The Life of an Atheist" -- editorial by Krystal Myers, Lenoir City High School (censored by school Nazis but here is full text)

Krystal Myers, the smart and savvy editor of the school paper at Lenoir City High School, ran afoul of Nazi-like Christian facist school administrators because an editorial she hoped to publish in the school newspaper to be entitled "No Rights: The Life of an Atheist."

http://m.knoxnews.com/photos/2012/feb/22/197406/

However, officals put their feet down. Middle-aged Neo-Nazi Christian fascist Schools Director Wayne Miller said it was the decision of the school authorities not to allow publication of Myers' editorial because of the potential for disruption in the school.

Oh is that so? Mr Miller? And in just what way would that editorial have disrupted your dear school?

HERE IS THE FULL TEXT OF HER EDITORIAL:

No Rights: The Life of an Atheist By Krystal Myers 

The point of view expressed in this article does not necessarily reflect the point of view of the Panther Press, its staff, adviser, or school. As a current student in Government, I have realized that I feel that my rights as an Atheist are severely limited and unjust when compared to other students who are Christians. Not only are there multiple clubs featuring the Christian faith, but youth ministers are also allowed to come onto school campus and hand candy and other food out to Christians and their friends. 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. My question is, "Why? Why does Atheism have such a bad reputation?" And an even better question, "Why do Christians have special rights not allowed to non-believers?" Before I even begin, I just want to clear up some misconceptions about Atheism. No, we do not worship the "devil." We do not believe in God, so we also do not believe in Satan. And we may be "godless" but that does not mean that we are without morals. I know, personally, I strive to be the best person I can be, even without religion. In fact, I have been a better person since I have rejected religion. And perhaps the most important misconception is that we want to convert everyone into Atheists and that we hate Christians. For the most part, we just want to be respected for who we are and not be judged. Now you should know exactly what an Atheist is. Dictionary.com says that an Atheist is, "a person who denies or disbelieves the existence of a supreme being or beings." However, this does not mean that Atheists do not believe in higher causes; we just do not believe in a higher being. With that being said, I can move on to the real issue. Before I begin, I want you to think about your rights and how your perceived "rights" might be affecting the rights of others. There are several instances where my rights as a non-believer, and the rights of anyone other than a Christian, have been violated. These instances inspired me to investigate the laws concerning the separation of church and state, and I learned some interesting things. However, first, I would like you to know specifically what my grievances are against the school. First and foremost is the sectarian prayer that occurs at graduation every year. Fortunately, I am not the first one to have thought that this was a problem. In the Supreme Court case, Lee v. Weisman, it was decided that allowing prayer at graduation is a violation of the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment that says, "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof." Special speakers can pray, but the school cannot endorse the prayer or plan for it to happen. Public prayer also occurs at all of the home football games using the public address system. This has, again, been covered by the Supreme Court case Santa Fe Independent School District v. Doe. The Court ruled that school-sponsored prayer is an unconstitutional violation of the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment. If a speaker prays, it is fine. However, as soon as the school provides sponsorship, it becomes illegal. Sponsorship can be almost anything, even something as simple as saying that the speaker can pray or choosing a speaker with a known propensity to pray or share his or her religious views.
Knoxville News Sentinel
Krystal Myers’ editorial for the Lenoir City High School student newspaper about how atheists like her don’t have the same rights as Christians met a somewhat ironic fate: It was not published. School officials feared “the potential for disruption in the school.”
“School administrators do have the right to control information distributed to students if publication would cause a disruption in the school, confirmed Dr. Charles Haynes, senior scholar at the First Amendment Center in Washington D.C.,” reports the Knoxville News Sentinel.
You can read the unpublished editorial here.

“As a current student in Government, I have realized that I feel that my rights as an Atheist are severely limited and unjust when compared to other students who are Christians,” Myers writes. “Not only are there multiple clubs featuring the Christian faith, but youth ministers are also allowed to come onto school campus and hand candy and other food out to Christians and their friends.”
Among Myers’ grievances: public prayer at graduation, football games and school board meetings, as well as overt religious displays by teachers.
“Religion and government are supposed to be separate,” she continues. “If we let this slide, what other amendments to the Constitution will be ignored?”
Myers, the News Sentinel story notes, “plans to study journalism in college next year.”

http://www.documentcloud.org/documents/296899-a-copy-of-the-editorial-krystal-myers-tried-to.html

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