I remember looking up at the sky, baffled by the astonishing number of stars just sitting still waiting to be seen. Those summer night down in Chile, playing hide and seek, where there was no trees or grass fields to hide, just cement, a jungle of cement. I like to describe Santiago in this way. I was deeply intrigued by the mysteries of the universe, how it works, how it all came to be and how it all will end up to be. I was only ten years old and nobody ever inculcated a belief in me and will always be thankful for that, to my mother. As I grew up I started to study Astronomy and it wasn’t long until I decided that Astronomy was going to be my dream job, my way of life, my life. I moved to the south of Chile, close to the German communities that had stablish there shortly after World War II. This was later during my early youth and I had gained at that point an enormous amount of knowledge, whether it was Sciences, Literature or Art, because as a young child I always preferred documentaries over cartoons.
Certain parts of Chile are very religious, due to many reasons like historic events, geography or culture, making most of the region a very religious conservative area. At first I did not know this, I was only interested in science and speeding the beauty of it to other people. This was the turning point for the rest of my life.
I was absolutely disappointed by the fact that, many of the things I told others in school was not taken seriously by classmates because of the “Anti-religious” message. Of course, this contradicted everything they knew already, everything that was told to them by their church, their bible, their parents, their school. The fact that, even when studying the human process of evolution, they would still accept Adam and Eve as the true fact. I was labeled as a Satanist, as an unmoral person, as a derailed person, falling every time into a deeper and deeper hole of loneliness in the area of knowledge spreading. This was for me, the exact same situation, but in the area of politics. I realized nobody cared for politics, nobody knew politics and for me this social ignorance was the reason for the many problems in modern day Chilean society. So I became class president next year, then senior year I became Student Body President of my high school, gave many speeches and from those speeches my favorite being the last one I gave in front of two thousand people. I liked politics, I wanted to do politics.
I am now a Political Science student in Texas, and I also worry about the future of humans. Maybe we can’t change the world in one day, but we can all put a sand dust into human moral progress. I have a duty, I realized the Chilean government does not distinguish a separation from church and state in the Chilean constitution, and I feel that it is my duty to bring justice for those who have been oppressed like I was by having to be labeled by your belief, by having to take either Protestant or Catholic classes as part of the main school course (at least for public schools), by having to keep quiet in religious classes because of fear of mocking.
I will, someday reach politics and make a difference, I gave up my life dream of being an Astronomer because I felt I have a duty, a duty to fulfill the gaps of justice and bring a much more pleasant life to my people. I might never be an Astronomer, but I will sure die happy, knowing I have made the world a slightly better place.
Thank You so much Richard Dawkins for making me feel welcome into a community of reason and tolerance where I don’t feel threatened or alone, thank you for showing us a place where your words are the strongest weapons to fight unreason and promote science and secularism. I can now say I’m a proud member of the “Richard Dawkins Foundation for Reason and Science.”
I send to you my sincere thanks, from a young future Chilean politician, a son of the stars, a product of millions of years of evolution. thank you for allowing reason into our brains.
– Kevin Buckner.