Letter to the Editor: Local teen showed his strength during speech


I felt compelled to write this to tell of a courageous young man I met recently. His name is Tristan Higgins. Tristan is a senior at Skyline High School, one of the founders of the Secular Humanist Alliance, and an unabashed atheist. He had the moral strength to make public his atheism in a speech he delivered from the Front Royal gazebo that focused on discussing openly the life of an atheist/humanist and the positive and negative effects of being one growing up in a southern Baptist family.

To his credit, there was no religious bashing. Rather, Tristan said the purpose was to show that the goal of the Secular Humanist Alliance is “to help show others that there is more than one way of thinking, and non-belief in a deity does not make you insane or ignorant. We attempt to be a beacon of light for people who are constantly ridiculed and the ones that need someone to help stand up for them.”

On a personal note, I find it refreshing to know that there is an ever-increasing number of the younger generation like Tristan who have the ability to think for themselves and are not afraid to speak out on controversial issues such as respecting the dignity of all Americans as opposed to those who would deny equal rights to those who are different from them under the guise of religious freedom.

A recent Pew research poll showed that Christianity in this country has declined while the religiously unaffiliated [nones]  are rising significantly. Thanks to the increased cooperation between secularists and the moderate/liberal religious community,  we are ever so slowly making decisions about the world and life as we find them in nature as opposed to the dogmatic ideas of first century mentality. I see a bright future ahead.

Gene Rigelon, Front Royal

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