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26724Patrick Elliott, FFRF attorney, in the news!

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  • rlbaty50
    Apr 1, 2012
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      Notion of atheists as bad people is misconception, non-believers say

      By Michael Aubele
      Sunday, April 1, 2012


      Walking one city block from the capitol building in Madison, Wis., to his office, Patrick Elliott learned just how divisive religious beliefs -- or a lack thereof -- can be.

      Wearing a T-shirt that said,

      > "Atheist,"

      Elliott, an attorney who represents the Freedom From Religion Foundation, encountered a man who took offense.

      > "I was just walking along and
      > somebody started yelling things
      > at me,"

      Elliott recalled, saying he's fully aware that those who share his lack of faith are in the minority, misunderstood, and often easy targets.

      Having grown up in St. Paul, Minn., before heading to University of Wisconsin and joining the foundation, Elliott said he has encountered resistance to atheism wherever he travels.

      Raised Roman Catholic, Elliott said somewhere along the line he realized he didn't believe the things he was being taught -- that he had no faith in Jesus Christ as savior or in the very existence of God. He said he subscribes to no faith.

      Elliott took an interest in the law and found that fighting for First Amendment rights suited his convictions.

      Plaintiffs in First Amendment cases often are those who feel disenfranchised because they share Elliott's beliefs, he said.

      Noting the residents in New Kensington and Arnold who are passionate about keeping the Ten Commandments monument in front of Valley High School, Elliott said there are those who are equally as adamant it be removed, who feel the district is trying to force on them a belief system.

      That's why the foundation has requested the display be removed, he said.