The Freedom From Religion Foundation is calling for an investigation into how infamous social media personality “Woah Vicky” was allowed to preach hateful rhetoric at a Georgia high school.
“Woah Vicky,” whose real name is Victoria Rose Waldrip, was invited to Jonesboro High School by Frances Miller (whose connection to the school is unknown) to speak on Jan. 5 to the girls basketball team. Waldrip’s remarks were laced with Christian talking points, including promoting her church, telling the girls to remain celibate till marriage and dispensing misinformation about the LGBTQ community. When asked if being gay was bad, Waldrip stated that it was a sin and the result of molestation as a child. She then equated being gay to murder, and stated that after Jeffrey Dahmer “found God” in jail, his sins were forgiven.
In the wake of these now-publicized remarks, FFRF is calling for Jonesboro High School to adopt a policy against inviting speakers to preach to students.
“We don’t know who was involved in bringing in this religious speaker, other than Ms. Miller, but we understand that several of the students involved in this incident have expressed their outrage that it was allowed to occur,” FFRF Staff Attorney Chris Line writes in a letter to Clayton County Public Schools Interim Superintendent Anthony Smith.
The Establishment Clause strictly forbids public schools from coercing students or community members into participating in religion, FFRF emphasizes. Even Waldrip’s single speech laced with Christian talking points and harmful misinformation about the LGBTQ community constitutes a violation of the Establishment Clause when it occurs as part of a school activity. FFRF has taken legal action against school districts in the recent past on behalf of parents and students for similar violations.
The comments made by Waldrip reflect poorly upon the school district. While the current association between Miller and Waldrip with the district is unknown, allowing outsiders to come into the school to preach and advance their Christian agenda sends a clear message to the 37 percent of non-Christian Americans, including the almost 30 percent who identify as nonreligious.
More concerningly, Waldrip’s bigotry-filled speech dispenses misinformation and hatred onto a minority population already under attack. Equating sexuality to murder is wildly inappropriate, and implying that Jeffrey Dahmer, a violent serial killer, gained access to heaven thanks to finding God is insensitive on multiple levels. FFRF is deeply dismayed by Waldrip’s comments, and is demanding that she never again be allowed to preach in front of students — at Jonesboro High School or any school.
“As if the proselytization wasn’t bad enough, Waldrip’s anti-LGBTQ comments are repellent,” says FFRF Co-President Annie Laurie Gaylor. “No speaker should be allowed to freely dispense hatred and bigotry to a captive audience of students.”
FFRF has received a response from Interim Superintendent Smith, stating, “This matter will be fully investigated and appropriate actions will be taken based on our findings.”
The Freedom From Religion Foundation is a national nonprofit organization with over 39,000 members and several chapters across the country, including more than 600 members and a local chapter in Georgia. Our purposes are to protect the constitutional principle of separation between state and church, and to educate the public on matters relating to nontheism.