Gage Pulliam: Courageous atheist in god-soaked Oklahoma

It’s a very familiar story: atheist student sits in class, looks up, notices the school administration has plastered the walls with pious Bible nonsense, and sics the FFRF on ’em.

The usual response occurred: the town is up in arms, local churches whine about “Christianity under attack!”, bullies begin lashing out at those who don’t go to church, Christians start claiming that the majority rules, therefore they get to violate the constitution.

The amazing thing is that Pulliam is still optimistic that he’ll be able to finish up his last year of high school there without serious repercussions. He has high hopes that the students and teachers will not hold his actions against him. I hope he’s right — not just for his sake, but because it would be good to see signs that the religious fanatics can back down when they’re clearly in the wrong.


  1. coragyps says

    Brave kid!
    I lived a few miles from there, in Sallisaw, when I was in grade school. I had to grow up and read The Grapes of Wrath to find out it was the home of the Joads. I can well imagine that Gage is under some pressure. Hooray to the Methodist preacher, too – he’ll catch some grief for taking a stand.

  2. Pteryxx says

    From the Friendly Atheist post:

    So why did he agree to let me “out” him on this site?

    He actually wanted to remain anonymous. But on Thursday, when students were reacting to this obvious discrimination against Christians, other students began getting blamed for alerting FFRF, including some of Gage’s atheist friends. He didn’t want to be the hero (to us) or the target (of the bullies), but he couldn’t bear to see his friends getting treated badly for something he did. That’s when he began telling the students who were pointing fingers in the wrong direction that he was the one who started this. He hoped that this post would help take the heat off his friends, too.

    If only these Christians would recognize moral behavior when they’re faced with it.

  3. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    If only these Christians would recognize moral behavior when they’re faced with it.

    It’s like they never heard of the Golden Rule, or how to apply it…

  4. iknklast says

    I grew up in Oklahoma. This kid has courage. Of course, I couldn’t have done something like this because my own family would have killed me; at least he has the support of his parents. I’m glad to see his dad came around after hearing his side.

    I wouldn’t bet on his teachers not altering his grades just because they don’t like him. Some of my high school grades were altered just because I was from the wrong side of the tracks and my dad raised pigs; going against religion is a lot more serious offense than raising pigs.

  5. tbtabby says

    It’s like they never heard of the Golden Rule, or how to apply it…

    They’ve heard of it. But as Ron Paul discovered, they don’t like it nearly as much as forming angry mobs to rise up against people they don’t like.

  6. DLC says

    Funny thing, constitutions. . . people these days seem to like to ignore those bits of it that don’t fit in with their plans.

  7. okstop says

    Good for him. My fiance founded Oklahoma Atheists in part because she got shit on for being an atheist by teachers and students alike when she was in high school. Let’s hope it doesn’t happen to this kid.

  8. madtom1999 says

    Why is it christians behave in such an un-christian way all the time. Perhaps they should read the bible!

  9. Azuma Hazuki says


    They are behaving in a very Christian way. Sometimes I think the biggest steaming pile of bullshit Christians sell us (and themselves!) is of “Gentle Jesus meek and mild, and so shall we be.”

    Christianity is a death cult. It is worse than a death cult; it is a Hell cult. According to most of its believers, anyone who doesn’t measure up (and this is most of the human race) will, at some unspecified time in the future, be tortured for ALL ETERNITY.

    Nevermind that it makes their God and Jesus failed heroes at best, and really more like the true villains all along. Nevermind about all the pre-Nicene Universalists, who could still understand Koine Greek unlike Augustine of gods-forsaken Hippo, Calvinist that he was 1000+ years before the fact.

    No, madtom1999, they are behaving very, very Christian indeed.

  10. rogerfirth says

    I’m constantly amazed at how small-minded and downright vicious religious people can be.

    I wonder if some of this viciousness could actually come from the godbots not really believing in what they profess to believe in, and they know they’re living in a house of cards. Much like how the most vocal anti-gays often eventually prove to be closeted homosexuals. Perhaps some of these vicious godbots really are atheists at the core, and they’re just too afraid to admit it.

  11. tbtabby says

    Really, though, all Christian sects are equally Christian if you go by the standard of following the Bible. That jumbled mess of myths contradicts itself so often that you can’t follow one tenet without violating another. The meek, mild, tolerant Christians are just as Christian as the rabid Bible-bangers, and just as deluded too.

  12. says

    They’ve heard of the Golden rule, but, you know… it’s more of a guideline than an actual rule.

  13. says

    Funny thing, constitutions. . . people these days seem to like to ignore those bits of it that don’t fit in with their plans.

    They probably think its some sort of Bible, so like.. some of it was intended to be parables, or something.

  14. Ogvorbis, broken failure. says

    quiet heretic:

    I suspect that the poll may be either wonky or someone at the source is playing games. I looked at the totals (71% no, 29% yes) and voted. And now it is 51%/49% no.

  15. steve78b says

    One of the things that always gets me is the inability of 10 commandment lovers to READ and HEED their beloved commandments.

    I think they should read the one about not making any graven image … doesn’t that mean signs like copies of the 10 commandments on the wall also?

    Not to mention the fact that the first set of commandments weren’t given by Moses to the Israelites but broken and a different set issued.

    Sad ….. I live in Oklahoma

  16. notlob49 says

    I listened to Gage on FFRF, how refreshing it was when he said “schools are a learning environment” just to remind the state of it’s obligation. In a state so infected with the religion virus this is great news, religious propaganda in public schools is a no no the state knows this but turns a blind eye, only this time they will have to act.
    I hope the courage shown by Gage will lead to a better informed society, the Religious Right will be in town soon no doubt with their message of ignorance, hate, and small minded bigotry and screaming about persecution.