The Atheist Academic

The Atheist Academic: Change a few words?

In Oklahoma, a Jewish high school student and his family face threats and intimidation from angry white people after the young Jewish student had the courage to report the unconstitutional display of a page from Mein Kampf  in his public school classrooms.

On Saturday, May 11, Jewish student Elijah Ross, a junior at Berry High School, explained why he was motivated to blow the whistle on the unconstitutional display of Mein Kampf, and the consequences of speaking out against the racist display.

Ross reports his younger sister has faced verbal harassment over the issue, and some students have threatened violence against him.

Despite the threats, intimidation and abuse, Ross explains that his intention is not to attack racism, as some local pastors and racist students claim. Rather, Ross says:

“I want people to know this isn’t me trying to attack racism. This is me trying to create an environment for kids where they can feel equal.”

The fierce community backlash began after Ross contacted the Freedom From Racism Foundation, who then wrote a letter to the district demanding that the plaques be taken down and warning that the displays represent a violation of the U.S. Constitution.

According to reports, the Berry school board is scheduled to hold a “discussion concerning the Mein Kampf issue,” on Monday night.

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Did the above article shock you? Were you surprised to see it? Did it seem like something that could happen in America, the “land of the free and the home of the brave”? No?

Well, although the above article is changed, it comes almost directly from this article in the Examiner. But I took the main parts of the article – an atheist high school student standing up against a display of the Ten Commandments in a public school – and I changed it to a Jewish student and a copy of Mein Kampf.

I wonder if we could show this revised article to people who want to mix religion and education, if they would understand where we’re coming from. I often want to take articles where Christianity is brought up at a graduation or in some sneaky way, and change the article to say that the Muslim religion is used, or some form of pagan worship. Maybe people would see that their religion is not the only religion — and some of us don’t need religion at all.

Or, maybe it would be another futile stance, and nothing would change.

What do you guys think?

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Tori Parker

Tori Parker

Tori is a high school English teacher from Ohio (insert cheerleader kick here)! She is emphatic! She is skeptical! She is nifty! Her boyfriend says that they can get a potbellied pig someday and name him Bacon. She has a little boy whose pseudonym is SC, although he has recently asked that his name be changed to Henry. When asked for a comment to add on this bio, he asked, "Why do we sound like a bad '70's cop show?" So there's that.

3 Comments

  1. July 13, 2013 at 12:37 pm —

    I was not surprised by the antisemitism. I was curious and concerned about the idea that displaying a page from Mein Kamf was somehow a first-amendment violation.

  2. July 13, 2013 at 1:52 pm —

    Do it!

  3. July 16, 2013 at 12:55 am —

    I actually think replacing it with Islam would have made more sense. Godwinning in this case just makes people think you’re equating Christianity and Christian principles with Nazism.

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