I went to a Barbe High football game with some of my family a few weeks ago. It just happened to be the homecoming game, so they were introducing the homecoming court during halftime. As they introduced each candidate, they listed their "qualifications" -- mostly clubs these girls are involved in. Some of them were athletes. Most of them were student council. But the vast majority of these "qualifications" were Christian clubs, Christian organizations, and bible study groups. They even made it a point to mention which church each girl was active in(most of them were Trinity Baptists)!

 

This angered me for several reasons. For one, when I was in high school there were plenty of popular kids involved in REAL clubs and activities. There were girls in band, math club and speech and debate on the homecoming court. It's depressing to find that Christian clubs have now obviously become a must to pad one's college application. The whole thing also seems like an obvious slap in the face to anyone hoping that our public schools could be an environment free from religious discrimination or favoritism.

 

I just wanted to share this story because I can remember when the Lake Charles area wasn't quite so angry and anti-secular. I think somewhere around the 2004 and 2008 elections things turned really nasty. Sure this place has always been dominated by Christians and right-wingers, but it wasn't always hard line anathema to have an opinion that goes against the mainstream. Even McNeese has become a stronghold for backwards, knee-jerk bigotry.

 

I'd like to hear other people's stories about how SWLA has changed.

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Yeah, it often seems this state is moving in the wrong direction.

On the other hand, news like this is encouraging:

http://www.examiner.com/humanist-in-national/young-atheist-hero-obj...

Yeah, I met Damon at NOSHA.  He is a very intelligent and articulate guy.  I (we) was very impressed. 

I know exactly what you mean... my daughter said that earlier this week.. some students around the McNeese campus were passing out bibles... how rude!! I teach at a middle school several miles down the road from Lake Charles and I am dreading next Friday when we hold our Veteran's Day program... it will be nothing but pray this and pray that... and songs about our country and god.. blah blah blah

Wayne

I grew up in Sulphur and went to McNeese from 73 to 77 and I have to say I think I was the only atheist there at that time.  The whole of McNeese was runned by the Baptist.  I spent hours in the Union arguing with fundamentalist.  They would freak when they met this rational person.  Yes the politics seem to be more narrow minded but the internet has pointed out that you are not the only one there. It has gotten better for atheist.  Try to live as a single atheist through almost all of your forties.  It is such of a relief that after 59 years I can finally talk to others about religion without being ignored, not promoted, not dated, or lost of my so called friends and family.  It would have been much easier to be a gay christian than an atheist.  Atheist Freedom is on the rise.  Its way over due.

I see what you mean, Keith. Things are definitely better than they were 30 years ago. And it's not the worst thing in the world to be an atheist -- not by a long shot.

 

I guess my point of view was more about the late 90's/early 2000's when I was in high school and at McNeese. I used to feel comfortable arguing with people about faith. I used to date Baptist and Catholic girls and I'd tell their parents I was an atheist. I would tell my bosses in casual conversation. Of course I always had to be ready to back up my argument, but I never feared anything more than an argument would occur. I don't know about that anymore.

 

All the teenagers and twenty-somethings I know now are extremely eager to prove their devotion to their republican role-models. They have this awful idea that they need to defend a set of jingoistic and xenophobic bumper-sticker slogans they call values. Despite websites like these, it actually seems like there are fewer free-thinkers in this area.

Yea Wayne the power of FOX news has had an affect.

I agree with what you are saying about the political arena.  I was in High School during the sixties and all class mates were much more liberal than me.  I just went to my 40 year reunion, now they are all Obama hating Republicans, even the artist and musicians.  I wondered " What the hell happen to these people?"  How can you be a John Lennon and Woodstock Fan "Forever" and call Obama a socialist.  People are stupid and propoganda works.  I need find out one of my freinds is an agnostic even though he told everyone he is was Buddist.  I like to think that the spell will eventually wear off when they are all retired (Like me) and the republicans cut their SSI.  That will make me laugh.  :-)

I will be in town this Friday, are there any good places were atheist hang?

Later

"Good places where atheists hang"? That's a good one. I'm still on a quest to find a decent bar in town. I just want a place that's not completely overcrowded on weekends or populated by frat kids.

I live in the New Orleans area and there are so many bars to hang out each with it own particular customer base.  The atheist in New Orleans (NOSHA) have a few places they always go.  I have had enough of the bar scene a long time ago.  Good luck on your Quest to find that bar.  :-) 

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