Front-Line Atheist Stays
Deep In The Closet
Just wanted to say thanks for the site. I visit once in a while when I need an intelligent, real right-on read. Love the quotes and the quality of writing. As an elementary school teacher, you can imagine how far I'm in the closet as to my atheism.
From: "Positive Atheism" <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Subject: Re: WebMaster:_Positive_Atheism_Index
Date: October 10, 2001 11:36 PM
Methinks my kindergarten teacher was an atheist. She just couldn't catch on to that new line they put into the Pledge of Allegiance, and kept going, "one nation, indivisible"! She just couldn't figure it out. Little did she know that at least one kid in that class was doing more than just crapping his pants a bit too often! This guy was actually paying attention to every nuance.
I think the only religious teachers we had were the first and fourth grade teachers. We know the fourth grade teacher was, 'cause we had to pray every day (1966 -- three years after Madalyn Murray O'Hair's case). I'm also surprised nobody but me said anything because she'd sit there and plug the Christian Science Church! right there in class! The kids in the other religions probably weren't too cool on that one! Most of the anti-school prayer legislation has come from religious plaintiffs because the prayer was a different religion. Very little of it has come from atheists. We atheists all do well to realize that much of the separationist work is done by theists, and that they are our best allies in this particular struggle. They actually have more to lose than we do!
Anyway, thanks for letting us hear from you. If you have any observations about the kids these days, particularly if you think religiosity is going downhill (as the studies keep telling us), or most of all, some of the pressures involved in being a closeted atheist (is the pressure there or are you simply playing it safe?), please feel free to contribute to the fray.
We also would be interested in any questions or touchy situations or dilemmas to send out to our Forum, particularly as they relate to the closet, why we stay there, what it would take to free us from this awful social obligation, that is, what must we do to stop it from being necessary to remain in the closet just to get along, how to know when it's okay to let an individual know, and similar questions. Since I don't stay in the closet at all (unlike you, I have very little to lose), I really lose touch with a lot of that stuff. But since you're in the thick of it, you probably have some perspectives that would spark useful discussion amongst our readers. The more different angles we cover in this one area, the easier it will be both to cope with the situation as it is today and to someday render that situation pass .
You are on the front line, and the examples you set carry so much more potential impact for each person you touch than probably anybody else. My opinion is that there is no such thing as a teacher's salary that's high enough.
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