County of Fulton )
State of Georgia )
1. My name is Kimberly Lyle-Wilson. I am over the age of 18 and competent to testify.
2. I have been president of the Atlanta Freethought Society since January of 1996. The Atlanta Freethought Society is a non-profit educational organization which was incorporated in the State of Georgia in 1994. The Atlanta Freethought Society serves about 165 members as well as a substantial number of non-member subscribers to our monthly newsletter.
3. The Atlanta Freethought Society is dedicated to defending and promoting the separation of church and state, educating the public on the benefits of living life without religion, and serving as a social and intellectual community for other freethinkers. In addition to its monthly newsletter, the Atlanta Freethought Society sponsors speakers, meetings, and other events for its members and the public.
4. I am on several Internet mailing lists which disseminate information relating to freethinking issues of interest to our membership-- including American Atheists List, Freethought Debate Group and LibertyNet. Many of our members make similar use of Internet mailing lists and news groups to exchange views about freethinking issues. Our members also engage in discussion groups on the Internet relating to the separation of church and state and other freethought related issues.
5. In my own experience, advocating for the separation of church and state creates a great deal of resentment from some individuals and groups. The Atlanta Freethought Society regularly receives threatening letters in response to our activities.
6. Due to the controversy and threats which are sometimes generated by discussions which are critical of religions role in society, many of our members use pseudonyms or "handles" when communicating or accessing information on the Internet. Our members do not know whether their use of pseudonyms violates the Act because such use constitutes "transmit[ting] data through a computer network ... if such data uses any individual name ... to falsely identify the person." Because the meaning of the Act is unclear, our members are forced to choose between abandoning their use of pseudonyms or risking prosecution (as well as threats or harassment from others). Many of our members would not use the Internet at all if they had to use their real name, and would therefore be deprived of an important forum for communicating and obtaining information about our issues.
7. The Atlanta Freethought Society is in the process of developing its own Web page, which will be on Concentric, an Atlanta Internet provider. The purpose of the Web page will be to provide information about the purpose of the Atlanta Freethought Society, excerpts from our newsletter, e-mail addresses to contact some members, and press releases relating to the Atlanta Freethought Society's activity.
8. Due to concern about threats and harassment, I had originally intended to open the account for the Atlanta Freethought Society's Web page using a pseudonym. However, since the passage of O.C.G.A. 16-9-93.1, I feel that I may be in conflict with the law if I open the Web page with a name other than my own. Thus, the Atlanta Freethought Society's plans to create a Web page are currently on hold pending the outcome of this lawsuit.
I declare under penalty of perjury that the within and foregoing is true and correct: EXECUTED: This Day of , 1996