Lots of people send me essays they’ve written, asking if I’d like to post it on Pharyngula. I usually don’t, simply because I’d be inundated (so don’t take this as an invitation!), and in most cases, those people ought to start their own blog and put it there. I thought I’d make an exception, though: this one is from Kelly Meagher, who is 14, and living in Florida, and writing this for a school essay.
Don’t nit-pick over it, although I know there are pedants here who will anyway. Read it as representative of a growing attitude among our young people — an attitude I find very encouraging. It’s also an example of a junior high school kid being unafraid to come out about their godlessness, even in a place with a painfully conservative reputation.
The country we live in now is a strange one. Essentially, it is the melting pot of the entire world. People from across the globe come together here to live the “American Dream.” The American Dream is different from person to person. Some say it’s money, others say the ability to have a nice house and raise the perfect family in it. I say, it’s the right to love whoever, and marry them if you want to, and being able to practice your religion without being rejected for it, or not being rejected for not practicing a religion at all! I would make these happen if I were president.
I live theater. I spend my time either memorizing lines, learning choreography, or going thru the notes of a song. I meet a lot of different people in theater. Some of these people are gay or bi. Sometimes, when we sit down during a break and just talk, I will hear the horror stories that their lives lead. One of my closest friends told me of how when he first came out to his parents by introducing his boyfriend to them, they responded ever so politely by kicking him out of the house. Others tell of how they received hate letters from people at their schools. And still more talk of friends who committed suicide because of those letters.
I would change that in several different ways: one would be making taunting and bullying an actual and true crime. And second would be by making gay marriage legal, in every single state. If a straight person like myself can marry and love whomever I choose, why can’t everyone–especially including gays–be able to do the same?
Not only am I a theater dork, I happen to be an atheist. Now your first thought, if you didn’t know this already, may be, “How can she be an atheist, she seems like an okay person!” If you just thought something along those lines, I’m not surprised, I get that a lot. But if you thought, “She’s an atheist? Okay I’m ignoring her,” then that is religious discrimination. It happens all the time. Most people are brought up thinking we are evil Satanists that try to break into people’s minds and rewire them so that they worship a demon. This is a huge misconception. I want to break down this wall that people have been building since the B.C. years, and create a place where, no matter if you an atheist or a Muslim, because this happens to them too, you can worship who or what you want.
Creating gay rights and abolishing religious discrimination does no harm to anyone. It is only beneficial. By giving gays the rights they need, they can finally be a true part of society. And everyone’s rights are protected by the Constitution, so gays can finally be included in the category of “everyone.” By having people not give someone a hard time just because they are Atheist, Muslim, Jewish, Buddhist or even Christian, people are able to be more open. They don’t have to hold back on an interesting part of themselves to avoid being a social taboo.
When I hear my friends talking about people they know that took their own lives, or I overhear people saying how bad someone is because they worship something different than they do, it makes me pretty sad. These people don’t realize how they can change that. But I have. And, if I were president, this is what I would do.