"I don’t have to hide anymore," Northwest Christian University student body president Eric Fromm told the Register-Guard. "I know that people accept me for who I am."
No, Fromm didn't come out as gay. "Worse," snarks Fark: He came out as an atheist.
In an article published in the school's newspaper entitled "Lifting the Curtain," Fromm says he decided to don his scarlet letter so he could face all his critics at once and take them to task "on their inability to accept those who don’t fit their Christian pattern."
He also notes that his "struggles" with religion started before he chose to attend one of the West's top baccalaureate colleges, but he was drawn to the school's communications program and its intimate campus.
And it wasn't until the end of his Freshman year at NCU that Fromm finally realized that he simply "couldn't force myself to believe in God."
The following year, when he started telling people he was an atheist, his close friends took it in stride, but many others didn't.
"Sometimes they would verbally attack me, sometimes they would give me the cold shoulder, and sometimes they just gave me dirty looks," Fromm wrote in the Beacon Bolt. "I find it ironic that some NCU students will talk about how they were ridiculed in high school because for their faith, but now, when the roles are reversed, they are doing the very things that hurt them."
After a while, "rumors" about Fromm's attitude toward Christians and the Christian faith began to spread, and he started fearing for his position as student body president.
That's when he made the call to come clean.
And so he did. And the aftermath has taken Fromm by surprise.
"I knew friends would be accepting, but I didn’t expect as much support [from others]," he told the Register-Guard.
One of his biggest supporters, shockingly enough, is the school's vice president for enrollment and student development, Michael Fuller.
"He’s a man of very high character and respect," Fuller is quoted as saying. "He’s a great advocate for our student body, which is exactly what he’s supposed to be and do."
Fuller did acknowledge that "if we all had our wishes," Fromm would be "a strong Christian man," but also praised "students like Eric...who are looking to explore their faith and willing to look hard and make their faith their own."
As it turns out, Fuller may have unwittingly enrolled more students like Eric than he knows.
Since his "coming out," Fromm says some of the students have started opening up to him about their own doubts.
"For the past couple years, I thought I was the only one," he said.
[photo/image via Facebook]