An atheist student in Oklahoma has faced a backlash after contacting the Freedom From Religion Foundation about Ten Commandments displays posted in his high school’s classrooms.
Gage Pulliam of Muldrow told Patheos on Saturday that he wanted to remain anonymous, but decided to reveal his identity after other students were blamed for alerting the organization. He said his younger sister had faced verbal harassment over the issue and some students had threatened violence against him.
“I want people to know this isn’t me trying to attack religion,” he explained. “This is me trying to create an environment for kids where they can feel equal.”
After contacting the Freedom From Religion Foundation, the organization send a letter to Muldrow High School administrators warning that religious displays in public schools violated the U.S. Constitution.
“If the facts are as presented to us, and the Ten Commandments are on display throughout Muldrow Public Schools, the displays must be removed immediately,” FFRF attorney Patrick Elliott said.
A number of students responded by organizing a petition in favor of the Ten Commandments displays. As many as 250 students signed the petition.
“It’s a pretty big deal,” student Chase Howard told television station KHOG. “One person kind of put it out there on Twitter. A couple of us hash tagged it and asked people to get it trending. After that it just caught on.”
The Muldrow First Assembly of God also stepped into the controversy, offering free Ten Commandment T-shirts to any student.
The school board plans to address the complaint on Monday. Muldrow First Assembly of God senior pastor Shawn Money said he expects hundreds of Christians to show up.
[Gage Pulliam photo via Facebook]