Atheist mom: Death threats from angry Christians helped kill my faith

Sep 30, 2015

By David Ferguson

A Texas woman who spoke out in 2013 against prayer in schools says the vicious reaction she received has driven her away from Christianity altogether.

Beaumont’s Channel 12 News reported Thursday on Amber Barnhill, who joined other non-religious demonstrators at Lamar University’s “Ask an Atheist Day” on Thursday.

Channel 12 first met Barnhill when she objected to officially mandated Christian prayers at her son’s public school pre-kindergarten class. In the wake of that news segment, Barnhill said she was the object of an outpouring of rage and abuse, including death threats.

The nastiness of the response, she said, contributed to her loss of faith in religion.

“That’s not why I lost my faith in God,” Barnhill said. “But it did have a huge impact on how quickly that happened.”

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21 comments on “Atheist mom: Death threats from angry Christians helped kill my faith

  • Separation of Church and State

    Christians don’t seem to understand that separation of church and state was designed as a truce to keep religions from killing each other. There were no atheists at the time. Christians think only of how separation of church and state blocks them from imposing their religion on others (something they believe to be a god given right because they are right and everyone else is wrong). They think they have a right to make others publicly pray to their god. They think they have a right to teach their religious myths as actual science in public schools. They forget how how separation of church and state protects them from other religions and sects, a far more important freedom.

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  • There were no atheists at the time.

    I’m not sure that you’re correct about that. Deism is fairly close to atheism, and it’s the right way to go when you don’t really believe anything. Think of Hume, Voiltaire, Ben Franklin, the French revolutionaries, it’s not easy to think of any of them having much belief, whatever they said.

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  • You are right about the purpose of church/state separation. However there were atheists at that time, notably Thomas Paine, who wrote the hugely influential “Common Sense.”

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  • A similar thing happened to me last year at mi son´s kindergarten. In one of many regular meetings with the teacher and parents. I asked why they forced little kids to daily prayer. I remember that I was the only father in the room, and after posing the question, immediately all the moms started to “disagree” with me in a tone that was borderline disrespectful. I didn´t receive any death threats, but it was pretty clear that they didn´t like what I questioned. Comments heard: “Nothing wrong with it”, “they can choose something different when they grow up”, “in this country we adopt the christian faith”, “nobody has complained before”, etc. Even my son´s teacher said, with a sarcastic smile on her face: “if we are not allowed to teach children about faith, we shouldn´t educate them either”. Religious people always enjoy the privilege of being the majority, because they can force their beliefs onto others. But sadly they can´t accept nor understand when someone complains about it.

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  • Jorge Raúl
    Oct 1, 2015 at 11:49 am

    Even my son´s teacher said, with a sarcastic smile on her face: “if we are not allowed to teach children about faith, we shouldn´t educate them either”.

    Perhaps pointing out the difference between educating them in life skills and indoctrination fantasy, would have been lost on them!

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  • When a religion is good, I conceive that it will support itself; and, when it cannot support itself, and God does not take care to support, so that its professors are oblig’d to call for the help of the Civil Power, it is a sign, I apprehend, of its being a bad one.

    Benjamin Franklin

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  • In the UK it’s still compulsory under law for school children to have one lesson of religious education a week which I find deeply offensive. I had to sit through that twaddle in the 60s and 70s for 11 years when even as a kid I knew it was nonsense.

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  • Some people have been so harmed by others that belief in their GOD is a joke. It is terrible how people treat one another who say they are Christians. The problem IS religion justifying IGNORANCE. For arguments sake secular people can be just as ignorant about harms done to others out of IGNORANCE.

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  • Their were atheists even long before the USA was formed. But it is not important. What is important is what is happening now: 1.2 billion atheists and secularists in the world. The 3rd largest “ism”! PEW Poll.

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  • Xtians follow the example of their son of god’s moral turpitude.
    Jesus ben Joseph said to people who did not like his preaching.

    Ye vipers ye serpents how can ye escape eternal damnation of hell where the fire is not quenched and the worm dyeth not?

    Hardly likely to find a tolerant xtian, they even kill each other for variance in their daft ideas just like the muslims kill other muslims.

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  • Paine didn’t actively espouse atheism, and there is no evidence supporting the idea that he was an atheist. He was accused of “atheism” because his “Age of Reason” attacked the Bible and Christian orthodoxy. It didn’t attack the notion of a god. A more supportable case can be made that Paine was, like Washington and others, a deist.

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