In a bizarre and disturbing move, the American Civil Liberties Union of Mississippi has rejected a $20,000 gift made by the American Humanist Association to underwrite an alternate prom in the recent case involving a lesbian student in Mississippi. The American Humanist Association promotes “good without God” and was viewed by the ACLU as too controversial as a perceived atheist organization.
Jennifer Carr, the fund-raiser for the A.C.L.U of Mississippi, wrote in an e-mail message to Roy Speckhardt, executive director of the humanist group. stating “[a]lthough we support and understand organizations like yours, the majority of Mississippians tremble in terror at the word ‘atheist.’ ”
Carr reportedly added that “[o]ur staff has been talking a lot about your donation offer and have found ourselves in a bit of a conflict. We have fears that your organization sponsoring the prom could stir up even more controversy.”
It would seem that concerns over “these Southern Baptist types” should hardly deter an organization like the ACLU. The legal director of the ACLU in Mississippi, Kristy Bennett, has insisted that part of the problem was conditions placed on the award by the organization. However, the organization has stated that it had placed virtually no conditions on the gift.
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