11:56am

Fri August 17, 2012
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Tenn. Teens Get $1000 Awards from Atheist Group

MURFREESBORO, Tenn. (WMOT)  --  Three Tennessee teens have received $1000 awards from the Freedom From Religion Foundation for their activism on local issues of church and state separation.

Earlier this year Lenoir City student Krystal Myers received a $1000 activist award for writing a column on gay issues for her school newspaper. The article was banned prior to publication.

Jeff Shott of Spring Hill received $1,000 after he dressed up as Jesus Christ to protest church-state issues at his school.

The third award went to 12-year-old Maia Disbrow of Hixson. Disbrow appeared before the Hamilton County Board of Commissioners, to ask that the Board stop opening its meetings with prayer.

Foundation Co-President Laurie Gaylor says her organization is fielding a lot of complaints from Tennessee in recent months.

“We have stopped kindergarten prayer in Tennessee recently. That’s something that the Supreme Court took care of in the early ‘60s. So that is a real anachronism and a real violation with such young children.”

Gaylor, says it’s unusual to have so many activist awards go to a single state. The atheist organization has only awarded five student prizes so far in 2012.