On August 7, 2014, I testified again before the Mobile County Commission with a proposal to open up Mobile Government Plaza as a public forum and allow other individuals and groups to request to put up their own plaques representing their views. I urged the Commission to approve the requests from the Mobile Atheist Community for a plaque with “In Reason We Trust” and the request from the Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of Mobile for a plaque with “COEXIST”. I delivered a petition with over 100 signatures and 30 comments from local Mobile residents in support.
On July 16, 2014, I delivered a persuasive speech titled “Why the United States Isn’t a Christian Nation” in my Fundamentals of Public Speaking class at Faulkner State Community College. I used examples such as the No Religious Test Clause of Article VI and the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment in the Constitution, an act passed by Congress removing references to “Almighty God” and “So Help Me God” from the oath for public office, an article from an international treaty stating the United States wasn’t founded on Christianity, President James Madison’s opposition to prayer before government meetings, and President Thomas Jefferson’s opposition to a national day of prayer.
On June 19, 2014, I coordinated public testimony and testified before the Mobile County Commission against a resolution to display a plaque with the motto “In God We Trust” in Mobile Government Plaza. I told the Commission that the motto excludes the Mobile residents that are polytheists and believe in multiple gods and goddesses and atheists that do not believe in any gods. I urged the Commission to display the motto “E Pluribus Unum” instead because it represents all Mobile residents regardless of religion.
On May 3, 2014, I helped organize and spoke at the Alabama Rally for Secular Government at the Alabama State Capitol in Montgomery. I gave my speech on the topic of retribution against activists for the separation of church and state from the public and the government. I brought up the hate mail that plaintiffs in Establishment Clause cases have received and the attempts made by state legislature to remove the anonymity of the plaintiffs and make bringing lawsuits against government officials a misdemeanor. I quoted James Madison’s warning in his letter to Thomas Jefferson on how the Bill of Rights was intended to protect the rights of minorities from the will of the majority.
On February 16, 2014, I gave a talk at the Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of Mobile on the topic of church politicking. I brought up the history of the Johnson Amendment, Americans United’s lawsuit against the Church at Pierce Creek in Binghamton which successfully revoked the church’s tax exempt status, the Alliance Defending Freedom’s “Pulpit Freedom Sunday” urging clergy members to defy the ban, and the Freedom From Religion Foundation’s lawsuit against the Internal Revenue Service for failure to enforce the ban.
On January 24, 2013, I was interviewed by the atheist unschooling blog What To Tell The Neighbors. The blog’s author, Suzanne Lamb, writes about her experiences unschooling her children and raising them without religion. I met Ms. Lamb on the Freedom From Religion Foundation’s Facebook page. She expressed interest in interviewing me upon finding out that I came from a nontraditional educational background combining homeschooling, unschooling, and self-teaching. In my interview, I discussed my nontraditional education, how I became an atheist, and how I developed an interest in constitutional law.
An Interview with Grown Homeschooler Amanda Scott
I recently had the opportunity to interview Amanda Scott, a grown homeschooler from Alabama who is also an atheist. I met Amanda, who is nineteen, on the Freedom From Religion Foundation Facebook page, where Amanda is known for her extensive knowledge of First Amendment caselaw. Amanda is also the administrator of a Facebook Group called “The Wall of Separation,” dedicated to the constitutional principle of the separation of church and state, the Framers’ intent, and Supreme Court jurisprudence.
Did you homeschool from early childhood on, or did you have some school experiences along the way?
AS: I attended public school until the fourth grade.
How did you and/or your parents arrive at the decision to homeschool?
AS: My parents decided to homeschool me because of my health. I had a health problem that required me to go to the doctor at least three times a week which conflicted with my school schedule. But my parents saw that I did better at home than at school, so they decided to continue to homeschool me for the rest of my school years.