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Jewish Journal

The high school atheist club

by Brad A. Greenberg

April 6, 2011 | 4:36 pm

You know it’s hard out there for an atheist.

I’ve written a lot before about being an “out atheist” on college campuses and in other areas of life. But here’s an interesting story from The New York Times about a high school atheist club.

An excerpt:

Club members discussed what to do about Faith Week. Rutherford High’s two Christian clubs will be sponsoring a series of before-school prayer circles around the flagpole this week, and several of the atheists felt a need to respond in some way. “We can set up informational tables near the flagpole and do our own speeches,” said Mr. Creamer, who suggested waiting a few weeks. “Remember, we’re not trying to be confrontational; this will be a counterpoint.”

Mr. Creamer, 47, an English teacher and longtime atheist who grew up in a family of Free Will Baptists, is constantly urging club members to “be friendly, put on those smiles — people don’t expect that from atheists.”

The Christians and atheists at Rutherford High get along better than some might expect. Joshua Mercer, a senior, who is president of Ignite, a Christian club, and Jim, the atheist president, are close friends. They love comparing philosophies, and giving each other a hard time. “We like to go to Taco Bell together,” Joshua said.

Still, he worries about Jim and the other atheists. “If they don’t accept Jesus Christ as a savior, they will definitely go to hell,” said Joshua, who rises at 4:30 each morning to read the Bible with his grandmother.

But at least there bellies will be full with disgusting faux Mexican food.

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