The Double Standard
When a group of students set up a table at Larkin High School for Ask An Atheist Day, the principal didn’t think it was such a big deal.
“Kids could come up to the table and ask them questions,” Tuin said. “Students didn’t have to go up to them and talk. It wasn’t like a group came in to do a presentation.”
Exactly. Atheist groups have a right to have their own tables, just like any other student group in the high school. But apparently, some parents weren’t very happy.
“They were here to talk about atheism,” said Shavon Stanback of Elgin. “That’s totally unacceptable to me.”
She continued: “I’m a Christian woman. I believe in God. I believe in heaven and hell.”
While this woman is just completely outrageous, this attitude of “why are atheists here at all?” is very common.
I’ve been asked countless times why the SSA exists on campus, most often from people with the presumption that the group is pointless to begin with.
There’s also the double standard. The students at Larkin High weren’t even proselytizing. They were not going out and interrupting people in the halls or making announcements on the PA system. They weren’t confrontational at all, and they only made contact with people who chose to come and speak to them.
But for the mere act of having a presence, atheists are labeled as “militant,” as people willing to push their beliefs on others.
And when religious groups go further and actually proselytize (notably the Christian ones), they are seen as contributing to the overall discussion and stirring up valuable debate.
Posted on April 16, 2011, in Politics, Religion and tagged Ask an Atheist Day, confrontation, evangelism, Larkin High School, militant atheist, proselytize, Secular Student Alliance. Bookmark the permalink. 5 Comments.