We Need To Take It Down A Notch
First off, I want to say thank you to everybody who saw my little story about a bullying small-town mayor and came to my defense.
However, a lot of it was offense. Many of you have posted his phone number and his email address. I hope those routes are not personal ones.
You have every right to be enraged that one of us got shut down speaking their mind. But I want to remind everyone that I did not get in trouble because I was an atheist. I got threatened because I called the mayor some names, of which “jerk” was the harshest one.
This story is bigger than I ever expected it to be. And I know if I hadn’t gotten terse with the mayor, none of you would know about Grovetown and the police decals. So there’s a little part of me that does not regret what I did, especially since I was well within my rights to call him a jerk in his government email.
I think there is a part of the mayor’s overreaction that has something to do with me being an atheist. But really, I just got under his skin with some name calling, which felt good. What he did after that is The Story. I implore you to read the entire email exchange here so you know that I was rude. He was derisive, dismissive, and disrespectful, so I let some insults fly. His responses after that were unbecoming of a public servant. If you can’t handle a little bit of name calling as a representative, you are in the wrong line of work.
Tonight, with any luck, there will be a story on NBC Atlanta that includes me being remorseful about what I have done. As Hemant said, he’d have handled it differently. I am not the mayor’s biggest fan right now, but I beg you, please don’t harass him unless you know why he threatened me. If you think you should tell him what for on account of free speech, let him have it. But do not jump from A to C by thinking it was merely my persistence or my irreligiosity.
Does everyone understand? This is the deep South. And I fear for my family if I get outed locally. It may happen anyway, but I’m trying to control that. As my wife said, we are a hated minority, and you all know that is true. That goes double for the bible belt. So do my family and this story a favor, and know why this is happening before you fire away.
Once again, I am heartened by the solidarity of the online community of nonbelievers and am not telling you to let this die because these decals are bullshit and someone’s got to say no more. But you should probably do this without me, because I’m not a good example of how one should behave in a situation like this. Perhaps you have to get mad to get things happening. I don’t know. This may have been our only way into the conversation. Just make sure you all know why everyone involved lost their composure.
Thank you for taking the time to read this, and pass it around so we let people know that integrity, accuracy and truth is important to us.