Amanda received a $1,000 Catherine Fahringer Memorial Student Activist Award from the Freedom From Religion Foundation this fall.
By Amanda Scott
I am 21 years old and I live in Mobile, Ala. I was home-schooled and graduated with my GED. I am currently pursuing an associate of applied science in paralegal studies at Faulkner State Community College.
After graduation, I plan on pursuing a B.S. in political science at a four-year state university and a law degree. My dream is to work for a nonprofit dedicated to preserving the separation of church and state and protecting the civil rights of atheists.
I was adopted and was raised by my adoptive mother (who is also an atheist, but less outspoken than I am) without religion. As a teen, I became interested in learning about religion and read all of the major religious texts, such as the bible, the Quran, the Bhagavad Gita, the Upanishads, the Tao Te Ching and the Analects of Confucius. I came to the logical conclusion that no gods existed and that all religions were false.
At age 17 in 2011, after I read a news article about the Freedom From Religion Foundation’s complaint against the Bay Minette Police Department’s “church or jail” program. I began researching the Establishment Clause and Supreme Court jurisprudence. In October 2012, I started my own Facebook group called “The Wall of Separation” (facebook.com/groups/TheWallofSeparation/) where I post the latest news and extensive legal and historical research. It now has 2,015 members.
In February 2014, I delivered a speech on the topic of church politicking at the Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of Mobile. In May I co-organized and spoke at the Alabama Rally for Secular Government at the Alabama Capitol in Montgomery. In June I coordinated public testimony and testified before the Mobile County Commission against a resolution to display “In God We Trust” in Government Plaza.
I co-organized a protest in July outside the Hobby Lobby store in Mobile in response to the Supreme Court’s decision in Burwell v. Hobby Lobby, allowing religious employers to refuse to cover contraception.
Then in August, I coordinated public testimony and testified before the Mobile County Commission to offer a proposal to open up Government Plaza as a public forum and allow atheists, pagans and other groups to put up plaques next to the “In God We Trust” plaque. In response to my testimony, I received threatening and harassing messages from people within my community.
Since then, I have been nominated to the board of directors of the American Civil Liberties Union of Alabama and received the Outstanding Activism Award from the Secular Student Alliance. And of course, now I am working with FFRF to put up an “Atheists in Foxholes” monument at the Baldwin County Courthouse! Amanda’s interview on Freethought Radio can be heard at ffrf.org/news/radio/shows/ (scroll to Oct. 2, 2014 broadcast).