A local public school has recently attracted the attention of the Freedom From Religion Foundation for teaching a song that made explicit mentions of ‘God’ and ‘Lord’ to elementary-aged kids. As the article mentions, previous case law has specifically identified the song, “Thank You for The World So Sweet,” as being a prayer. This should really be an open-and-shut case.
Fascinating and terrifying stuff: “Can Religion Justify Bullying Children?” (a talk by Sean Faircloth.) If you’ve got a spare half hour or so, I highly recommend giving this a watch. Never let it be said that fundamentalist Christianity isn’t a threat to nonbelievers or believers of other stripes.
Jessica Ahlquist is a high school student and atheist who volunteered to act as plaintiff in a case against her high school, which for several years has hung a school prayer on a banner in its gym. I’ve written about her before, and from the public’s perspective, her case has been quiet for a while now.
The story linked above has a nice little poll in it:
Do you agree with the court order for the prayer mural at Cranston West be removed?
Yes – 261 (84%)
No – 48 (15%)
I’m amazed to see the numbers like that, considering how strongly opposed most of Jessica’s town was to her actions. Then again, this is the internet, so I doubt it’s just local folks voting. Disregard the madness in the comments on that story; three cheers for the First Amendment! Go show Jessica some love on Facebook.
I can’t believe I missed these great bits from the judge:
Lagueux states that “no amount of debate can make the School Prayer anything other than a prayer, and a Christian one at that.”
“The Prayer concludes with the indisputably religious closing: ‘Amen;’ a Hebrew word used by Jews, Christians and Muslims to conclude prayers. In between, the Prayer espouses values of honesty, kindness, friendship and sportsmanship. While these goals are commendable, the reliance on God’s intervention as the way to achieve those goals is not consistent with a secular purpose.”
We can always count on Republican politicians to give us clarity! Today, the GOP presidential candidates (sans Rick Perry, who was apparently off fighting wildfires) met in South Carolina to hold a forum where they shared their views on various subjects. Newt Gingrich said something that has had remarkably little coverage in the mainstream press, save for this one story:
At a GOP candidates’ forum in South Carolina, Gingrich maintained that everyone, especially a president, needs God’s help in “a world where evil always lurks.” He added that someone who faces serious issues without praying “would be a person who totally misunderstood the nature of life and who would be dangerous holding a major office.”
Apparently, it’s still okay to say stuff like this about atheists. Well, then, I guess we can just ignore Article 6, Paragraph 3 of the Constitution!
The Senators and Representatives before mentioned, and the Members of the several State Legislatures, and all executive and judicial Officers, both of the United States and of the several States, shall be bound by Oath or Affirmation, to support this Constitution; but no religious test shall ever be required as a qualification to any office or public trust under the United States.
Good to know you can disregard the Constitution as much as you like and still be considered a serious candidate so long as you believe in a god.
It’s a good day for science education in Texas. According to the National Center for Science Education, the Texas Board of Education voted unopposed in favor of supplementary educational materials that promoted sound science, and didn’t approve any of the pro-Creationism propaganda. NCSE director Eugenie Scott is very happy:
“These supplements reflect the overwhelming scientific consensus that evolution is the core of modern biology, and is a central and vital concept in any biology class. That these supplements were adopted unanimously reflects a long overdue change in the board. I commend the board for its refusal to politicize science education.”
Always great to hear good news in the political battle between real science and nonsense.
Now if only Texas could do something about its teen pregnancy rates, which have grown to some of the highest levels in the nation ever since they adopted abstinence-only sex ed… or, better yet, if only they could convince potential presidential candidate Rick Perry that abstinence-only sex ed isn’t working:
Abstinence makes the heart grow randy.
At least all those frisky teens will finally have access to good science education!
At Cranston West High School in Cranston, Rhode Island, a mostly innocuous banner has hung in the school gym for several decades. The banner, titled “School Prayer,” exhorts “Our Heavenly Father” to make students desire to improve themselves in a number of ways. In full, the banner reads:
Our Heavenly Father, Grant us each day the desire to do our best, To grow mentally and morally as well as physically, To be kind and helpful to our classmates and teachers, To be honest with ourselves as well as with others, Help us to be good sports and smile when we lose as well as when we win, Teach us the value of true friendship, Help us always to conduct ourselves so as to bring credit to Cranston High School West. Amen.
Over on The Atheist Experience blog there’s a post with a link to a very … interesting letter from Mike Huckabee, soliciting donations for a new organization he’s involved with. In the letter – which I strongly urge you to read – he mentions the threat we face from Islamic radicals, but then warns his constituents of “an even greater menace [that] threatens to destroy us from the inside out” – “a re-energized Left here in our midst that is working harder than ever to drive out God and ALL MENTION of religious faith from America’s public life.”
That’s right – Mike Huckabee, a Christian living in a majority Christian nation, wants to warn his fellow Christians that, somehow, evil godless liberal atheist scum are going to subvert their will and override the entire democratic system. Read the rest of this entry »
You are currently browsing the archives for the Separation of Church and State category.
I'm a deconverted fundamentalist Christian who now proudly calls himself an atheist and a skeptic. I try to promote the use of reason and evidence as the best tools we have for determining what is true and for solving real-world problems.