Check Out How a Fox News Reporter Spins This Story About a School District ‘Confiscating’ Holiday Cards

Todd Starnes, the Fox News commentator who frequently spins stories to raise the ire of fellow conservatives, has done it again with a tale about a Georgia elementary school that “confiscates Christmas cards.”

Here’s Starnes’ version of the story:

For as long as anyone can remember, teachers at Brooklet Elementary School have posted Christmas cards in the hallways outside their classrooms — until Monday.

When boys and girls returned from Thanksgiving break, they discovered that their teachers’ Christmas cards had been removed — under orders from the Georgia school’s administration.

Robb Kicklighter’s wife is a third grade teacher at the school. He said many teachers are disgruntled by the school’s decision to confiscate the Christmas cards.

“They took down the cards so the kids can’t see them,” he told me. “Some of the cards had the word ‘Christmas’ and some had Nativity scenes.”

Assuming that the display of cards wasn’t just limited to those professing faith in Jesus, why would the display be a big deal?

Answer: It’s not.

Starnes’ story is pure spin.

He didn’t even bother to ask the administration why the display was moved. Instead, it seems, he just worked from the uninformed version of the story told to him by people like Kicklighter.

He was wrong about the cards being removed. They were just moved.

He was wrong about the reason for that having anything to do with the word “Christmas” or images of Nativity scenes.

The guy he quoted was wrong when he said the cards were taken down “so the kids can’t see them.”

Here’s what actually happened according to a press release from the school district:

The holiday card display, still in existence, inside the office work room

Fox News Radio Commentary Host Todd Starnes, acting on misinformation that neither he, nor his media outlet corroborated with the school system or [Principal Marlin] Baker, misreported a story about student Christmas Cards being removed from the school. Baker did not receive any questions from the local community either.

The cards in question were not student Christmas cards, nor were they a student project or tradition. The cards are the personal family Christmas cards that faculty members share with one another. They are the personal cards from their homes that they would send to family and friends.

It has been a faculty tradition to post the cards on a small display board made of two pieces of red and green poster paper. The display in the past was posted in hallway outside the office workroom.

This year, due to a legitimate, personal privacy concern raised by one of the school’s staff members, Baker moved the display to the opposite wall inside the office work room so that the staff member could still participate in the tradition. Baker wanted to respect the staff member’s privacy and that of his/her children depicted in the Christmas card.

So there you go. There’s the truth behind what happened. Starnes owes everybody an apology right?

(I know, I know, I couldn’t even write that with a straight face.)

Despite the press release, Starnes hasn’t changed his story. The headline still says “Georgia School Confiscates Christmas Cards.” Though, ironically, he added a paragraph at the end quoting the district’s superintendent referring to Starnes’ spreading of bad information:

We don’t want this misinformation to derail the positive work we are committed to with our community leaders,” Supt. Charles Wilson said in a prepared statement. “I’m appalled by this attack on our school system, and on Brooklet Elementary.”

It’s not surprising that teachers in the school would immediately jump to the conclusion that their religious rights were being taken away. On Monday, an impromptu school board meeting was held to discuss employees’ overzealous religious expression:

The superintendent said he felt the statement was necessary because a reminder he made to principals last month caused confusion about what can and can’t be done in the public school classroom, and why, regarding religion.

[Superintendent Charles] Wilson informed principals during an administrative meeting last month that teachers are not to include Scriptures in signature lines of emails from school board accounts or post religious items and Scripture in classrooms or on desks; and stated that they must act neutrally by not giving speeches or endorsing any religion through leading prayers.

Wilson did this after the Board of Education received correspondence from Americans United for Separation of Church and State, which received complaints from a parent that said teachers were taking part in prayers after high school football games.

That pretty much sets the scene, doesn’t it? These teachers are used to overstepping their boundaries and they only now got called out on it. When the administrators, doing the right thing, told them to stop breaking the law, they interpreted that as “OUR FREEDOMS ARE BEING TAKEN AWAY!”

No. Nothing was taken away. Those teachers are under the same rules as everybody else. But when you’re used to speeding all the time, you get pissed off when a cop pulls you over even though he’s well within his right to do so.

Seriously, the school board’s reminder to staffers of what is and is not legal reads like a children’s book, as if adult teachers have to be reminded not to include Bible verses in their school-related emails.

Already, though, a Facebook group has begun so that people can whine about the injustice of having to follow the law. They started a petition, too:

We, the citizens of Bulloch County, believe that our civil liberties have been infringed upon as a result of the Board Of Education’s guidelines in religious expression as follows: Teachers are required to remove scripture from the signature line in their email. Teachers are not allowed to have any religious items or scripture posted in their classrooms, on their desks, or on their computers. Teachers are required to remove themselves from student-led prayers.

We believe that these activities are not in violation of the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment as long as they are a form of private expression and not an attempt to indoctrinate or instill beliefs in students.

That’s from their official petition. These people don’t understand the constitutional concerns with putting Bible verses in their work email signature lines, posting scripture in their classrooms, or taking part in student-led prayers (presumably during the school day).

They’re a lost cause. And when you have the blind leading the blind, it’s no surprise that Starnes was all too eager to share their story without doing even a bit of research to confirm what they were saying.

(Thanks to Wesley for the link)

About Hemant Mehta

Hemant Mehta is the editor of Friendly Atheist, appears on the Atheist Voice channel on YouTube, and co-hosts the uniquely-named Friendly Atheist Podcast. You can read much more about him here.

  • Terry Firma

    Starnes is a lying sack o’ shit, and not just in this instance. Most of his stuff goes well beyond spin and straight into planned mendacity.

    • tsig

      I wish these faux martyrs would meet a real lion.

      • Jeff

        What a terrible thought! Have you no compassion for the lion…

        • James Buchy

          Yeah! Just imagine all that cholesterol.

  • tubi11

    Every time I read a story like this I’m thankful that my local school board and Superintendent all seem to understand their roles. I serve on several school district committees, including the Legislative Action Team, and meet with the Superintendent periodically. He always strikes me as a responsible adult, as do the board members and teachers I know.

    Last month at a PTO meeting, I was sitting next to the principal of my kids’ school (elementary). One of the other parents was telling a story and opened with, “My daughter told me, ‘Mommy, I saw Jesus at school last week.’” The principal elbowed me in the ribs and said, “Uh oh, I’m in big trouble!” He and I have discussed this issue in the past and he gets it. Turns out, the daughter was talking about another parent who often volunteers, and who has long hair and a beard.

    It’s things like this that balance the weather when it comes to living in Minnesota. Climatically, I’d prefer Texas or Georgia or Mississippi, but I don’t think I could stand the other stuff.

    • SeekerLancer

      Texas has its charms. Like seeing that look on the face of people handing out church tracts when you tell them you’re an atheist. It’s very deer in headlights.

  • GeniusPhx

    starnes works for fox who typically takes church state stories and twists them so the offenders look like victims. the problem is there are schools just like this all over the country with staffs who don’t believe the 1st amendment applies to them.

    this school changing its law breaking ways so quick is refreshing.

  • Timmah

    The comments section of this story on Fox News is “HELP HELP I’M BEING REPRESSED!” comedy GOLD.

  • LesterBallard

    Stop saying “spin”. Starnes is a lying, Fox News piece of shit.

    • Todd

      Don’t like Fox News? Listen to a different news station then. They are all the same besides Fox News (which also happens to be the most watched for a good reason). People like Martin Bashir say HORRIBLE comments and don’t even get a slap on the wrist. Can you imagine if a Fox News reporter had said those things about Hilary Clinton?

      • lloydsev

        Yes, he’d get promoted :-p

      • TnkAgn

        $arah goes around like an excrement salesman with a mouthful of samples. Were Bashir’s words tasteless? Yes. But was he lying? Hell no.

      • LesterBallard

        I don’t watch Fox News. And people do say things about Hilary Clinton. And Obama. And whoever. and these are the things they say in public. I can imagine what they say in private. No one said shit about Palin’s asshole remarks about slavery. There’s a good reason Fox is most watched? I can think of more than one; the viewers are morons; they’re liars and racist assholes themselves.

        • Todd

          Racist? Dr. Ben Carson is one of their biggest advocates.

          • LesterBallard

            Yeah, “some of my best friends are black”. Ben Carson and Allen West would be the Samuel L. Jackson character from Django Unchained.

          • Robert Weissman

            he is a stupid smart person, he thinks the earth is 6K years old

        • shuteme

          I can attest to that, I know some of these people personally. It’s true.

      • TnkAgn

        You will be happy to hear that Martin Bashir has resigned from MSNBC.

        • Randay

          I know what Bashir said and I don’t see what was wrong with it. Let Palin learn something about slavery, though that is beyond belief that she could.

      • SeekerLancer

        Thinking like this is the problem with modern journalism, MSNBC included so don’t think I’m harping specifically on Fox here even though it is very deserving.

        The 24 hour cable news cycle is all about ratings. The result is we get sensationalism and lies and pandering to a specific audience instead of legitimate journalism. Facts are dead because they’re not good for ratings.

        People would rather hear their own worldview parroted back at them rather than look for the truth. It’s easier if your bias is always right, after all.

        • LesterBallard

          You’re right, it’s all shit, but it’s obvious that Fox is the shittiest.

      • Jon Reed

        Bashir had to resign. I’d call that more than a slap on the wrist.

      • Octoberfurst

        Fox News says horrible things about Hillary—and Obama—and Harry Reid—etc—all the time. So don’t try that “If Fox did it” crap.
        And the reason Fox News–or “Faux News” as I like to call it–is popular is because its audience is made up of older White bigots, fundies and morons and it tells them what they want to hear. It makes up stories about how “persecuted” Christians are in this country, that minorities are dangerous and welfare bums, that Obama is a communist/Jihadist/Kenyan-born traitor, etc, etc. It is the Jerry Springer of cable networks. So if you are really stupid, don’t like dark-skinned people and have no critical thinking skills, Fox News is the channel for you.

        • Randay

          Though I agree, I don’t like the slur on Jerry Springer. His show is much more intellectual than Fux News or the Republican Party.

      • Michael Harrison

        It was only today that I learned the context of Bashir’s words: he was suggesting that Palin suffer through a punishment some slaves were subjected to, in response to an insane comparison she made to slavery. (Thanks NPR!) What I can’t imagine is a Fox News reporter (or listener) caring about context, though.

      • Robert Weissman

        most watched by people in the white and over 60 demographic, with out higher education BTW

      • Fernando Maneca

        Yes Bashir said some horrible things and had to resign for doing so.

        We don’t have to imagine what happens to reporters who say horrible racist stuff on Fox News, we hear it day in / day out from people who work there still, and will continue to work there for as long as ratings are up.

        I don’t watch commercial news, not on the networks or on cable. They mostly pander to their bases for ratings, damned be the consequences.

  • SeekerLancer

    A Fox News associate operating on shady sources and doing zero research or anything vaguely journalism related? And they keep the provocative headline when called on it? I don’t believe it! /sarcasm

    That’s not spin, it’s flat out yellow journalism.

    • Lando

      At least Starnes is a columnist, rather than a reporter. In my last job, I spent a lot of time driving, and listened to a lot of conservative christian radio (mostly to get my blood boiling and stay awake). EVERY story he posts is an out of context rant that glosses over any contradictory facts of evidence.

      Sadly, Fox doesn’t do much to separate their commentary and news, so we have stories like these.

  • KeithCollyer

    are they sure they didn’t misspell the county name and it’s not really Bollocks County

  • Fentwin

    Spin; we used to spell it l..i..e.

    • Michael Harrison

      I am fond of saying that, indeed, The O’Reilly Factor is the No Spin Zone, as spin is a recontextualization of facts, and Bill O’Reilly is so divorced from facts that nothing he spews could be close enough to reality to be called “spin.”

  • kccoallday

    It is truly amazing that those who would accuse of of being “low information” are perfectly content with being of “high misinformation”. Starnes and Fox News are liars and propagandists.

  • Jack M

    People have a hard time understanding that work email isn’t personal email. I’m constantly reminding my direct reports of this. Don’t put anything in a work email you don’t want read in court and treat it as though it’s company letterhead — if what you’re saying isn’t “the voice of the company” you shouldn’t be using the letterhead.

    Seriously. Go get a gmail account. It’s free and you can put whatever in the emails you send from there.

  • baal

    I’m all but waiting for the ‘atheist touched my belly when I was pregnant now i have an owl faced baby instead of a good christian boy’ headlines from Faux Neews.

  • Na_na99

    Yet any other religion isn’t allowed to post ANYTHING about their religion. Christians are sooooo persecuted that only your religious texts are allowed to be posted on school walls. Waaah, waaah.

    • Todd

      Not true. We have Freedom of Speech for a reason. I am Christian and believe anyone is allowed speak their beliefs no matter what that may be. By speaking your beliefs you are giving your opinion. You are not forcing anyone into anything. At least different religions believe in something. Atheists believe in themselves.

      • Na_na99

        If you believe that, post anywhere in a school “Happy Summer Solstice” or “Ma’Shallah, it’s Ramadan” and tell us how long it stays up or how many complaints the school board receives about it.

        • Todd

          I do not agree at all that if those are posted they should be taken down. If that is what you want to post and say (and as long as its not hurtful to someone, which it isn’t) then you should be allowed to do so.

          Ps I had multiple say to me last year when I was shopping “Happy Winter Solstice” vs “Merry Christmas” and I was not offended. If that’s how they want to greet someone, okay by me.

          • Na_na99

            YOU were not offended. Try saying that on a regular basis. There’s been backlash in the last few years over the all-inclusive “Happy Holidays”. But again, post it and email me and tell me how it worked out….. renitamac@yahoo.com

          • TnkAgn

            Really? I suspect you are fabricating. Remember where any of these “multiple” Solstice wishes occurred?

            • Todd

              Yes, in the Kansas City area. One was a Michaels and one was a JC Penney. There was one at a grocery store as well but I cannot remember the exact one (it was either Price Chopper or Hy-Vee.)

              • TnkAgn

                In KS yet? It has never happened to me, anywhere.

          • mikesavino85

            Alright, Todd, you seem to be earnest so I’ll respond to you.

            Here’s the problem with that. I wouldn’t want my kids indoctrinated at school into scientology under any circumstances. Right? I pay for the school with my property taxes and its a social good we all use.

            But the teacher is a scientologist. And where I live, I can’t get my kid to the nearest private school because its 45 minutes away and also its a private scientologist academy.

            Oh, and 70% of the teachers at the public school are scientologists so my kid is going to get a steady dose of scientology. And I live here because that’s where my job is (I’m in the scientology survey field and have to live near large populations of them).

            What do I do? What do you do, as a baptist in that situation? Do you want your kid learning scientology from a teacher, who has authority over almost every other part of their life? Why wouldn’t your kid accept that authority in this situation? And if you tell your kid “hey, the teacher’s wrong about this.” but he hears it for 8 straight years, who’s he eventually going to believe? Especially when he realizes you don’t remember where kazhakstan is but his 8th grade geography teacher does.

            Don’t you, as a parent paying taxes to support that school, have a right to not have your kid preached at by an authority figure? The government isn’t supposed to pick a religion over any other and the teacher represents the local government (her checks come from them).

            It seems harmless, if a teacher gets to speak their mind about religion but the problem is they take money raised from all of us to push their specific religious beliefs on young minds with the authority as a teacher and a representative of the state. Sounds awesome as long as their preaching your message. Not so much if she’s preaching Wicca and torturing cats at lunch hour.

            • Palo

              Try Homeschooling if you don’t like it. Then you can monitor what they are being taught.

              • mikesavino85

                Ah. So now I should have to pay taxes for a school that should be neutral on the subject but quit my job to school my child.

                Did you miss the point where the teacher is advocating a religion as a representative of the state government? You’re advocating a state religion which is whatever that particular teacher decides to be.

          • Guest

            Really, you had several people tell you happy winter solstice? Where exactly do you live? The moon?

            • Pq90reW

              Man, you people really don’t believe anything you hear do you? The dude told you where. Is it hard being so negative all day long about everything?

      • allein

        My mommy always told me believing in myself was a good thing…

      • baal

        “Atheists believe in themselves.”

        buzzzzzzzzzzzz

        no.

        Atheists believe is a lot of things but ‘god’ is not on the list.

        Some go so far as to not believe in anything supernatural (me).

        Most of us have full lives. Go listen to this and then come back and tell me that Ed Tarte is some massive egoist.

        • monapoalw

          You don’t believe in the Supernatural? Wouldn’t the earth and everything that was created from a “Big Bang” be supernatural? Because that sure as hell ain’t natural.

          • Guest

            How do you know what is or isn’t natural in regards to physics? Are you God? Do you at least have a degree in quantum physics or cosmology?

            • M78S

              Are you God to know the difference? ;)

          • Spuddie

            Supernatural is a decent show, I don’t really get its rabid fandom. Big Bang Theory is always reliable for smiles.

          • baal

            Oddly enough, every supernatural explanation for anything has either been unprovable, unsubstantiated, unctuous (i needed a 3rd u word) or all three. The second someone says, “a ghost moved it” or “i was probed from aliens who originated on another planet” or “i started that fire with just my mind” you know they are lying or deluded.

            I also don’t need everything explained to scientific certainty in order to get on with my life. The big bang and what happened 13 billion years ago is in that category. I certainly don’t need to say ‘godditit’ to make me feel better about not knowing it.

          • Mario Strada

            Just because you cannot comprehend something, it doesn’t make it “supernatural”. Once upon a time, lightning was considered supernatural. Now we know better and the relative god controlling that force is now inconsequential.

            The big bang was also a natural phenomenon. Unique for sure, but natural in essence. Quantum Mechanics also can seem supernatural. If you read about it it sure seems impossible and counterintuitive, as does Einstein relativity. Yet, if we did not understand them or chalked them off as a god’s whim, a supernatural event, none of our cellphones, GPS and many other things would ever work.

            I suspect you never tried to understand the “Big Bang” (which was actually discovered by a priest, incidentally) but I suggest you do. Going around saying it was supernatural makes you sound silly.

      • Ann Onymous

        A religion can’t believe in anything. It’s a bundle of customs and ideas, and it has no mind. It has believers, not beliefs.
        I’m an atheist, and I believe in a lot of things. I believe that my little sister is a good kid and that she’s going to do her homework today. I believe that the sun will still be shining tomorrow. I believe in the vast potential of humanity for good. I believe that my dad is awesome. I believe that my friend will like her Christmas present. Heck, I do believe in myself; I believe that I exist, I believe that I’m an excellent student, I believe that I can write a novel.
        As an atheist, I lack supernatural beliefs. I hold plenty of beliefs, but I lack belief in the supernatural, including in deities.
        There’s a difference between “freedom of speech as per 1st Amendment” and “preaching, to a captive audience of impressionable children, by authority figures they’re supposed to learn from, in a government-funded setting”. (And that’s one of my beliefs.) Go “tell it on the mountain”, I don’t care, but a teacher’s desk is not that mountain.

        • M78S

          How do you know the sun is going to shine tomorrow? Because you have faith that it will. There is no guarantee that it will. You just contradicted yourself.

          • Ann Onymous

            http://rationalwiki.org/wiki/Faith

            I believe that the sun will shine tomorrow because I have a wealth of past experience supporting that conclusion and because I know full well that it isn’t due to go out for another 6 billion years. I don’t claim that that’s absolutely certain (I’m not certain of much beyond A=A), but there’s enough evidence, and the alternative’s unlikely enough, that I believe the sun will shine tomorrow.

            • wabney

              Well said.

          • http://squeakysoapbox.com/ Rich Wilson

            Expanding a word to mean pretty much everything makes it pretty much useless.

          • wabney

            A _reasonable_ expectation based on previous _evidence_ (the sun has shined for the last 1.68011e12 days) is not “faith” as religious types like to twist ideas. That isn’t “contradicting” themselves.

  • BelieveInSOMETHING

    If you don’t believe in God, why do you care if there is scripture on a desk? It’s not relevant to you. The teacher isn’t forcing any student to do anything by having something personal on their desk. I still am in so much wonder about why God effects so many atheists. If you don’t believe in Him, then WHY CARE?

    • Na_na99

      It’s a big deal because these same christians fight against atheists and other religions to do JUST THAT in their own space (never even mind the ‘reminding’ us constantly that we’re going to hell and they love us enough to constantly remind us).

      • BelieveInSOMETHING

        They are not true Christians then if they constantly remind you that you’re going to hell. That is not Christ like WHAT-SO-EVER and I’m sorry you have had people say that to you.

        • http://squeakysoapbox.com/ Rich Wilson

          I’m not sure what’s worse. Christians telling me I’m going to hell, or Christians telling me that other Christians aren’t True Christians.

          Or maybe it’s “If God doesn’t exist, I’ve lost nothing for believing, but if God does exist, you’ve lost everything!”

          (You don’t pull Pascal’s Wager along with your No True Scotsman do you?)

          • Laurie

            Saying you are something doesn’t make it true. Someone can say they are Christian all they want but that doesn’t make it real. No one on this earth is perfect though and we will all make mistakes but the least we can do is show each other the meaning of grace.

            • ZeldasCrown

              So which set of Christians are we supposed to believe as to who is a “real Christian”? Do we believe you when you say other Christians aren’t “Real Christians”, or do we believe them when they say “Laurie isn’t a real Christian because of [...]” (fill in the blank with whatever they take issue with, such as wrong denomination, wrong version of the bible, not following the specific verses they deem most important in the way they think you should, following verses they deem irrelevant in this day and age, taking the Bible too literally, not taking the Bible literally enough, etc)? I’ve met very few Christians who didn’t consider at least one other “category” of Christians to be fake, so if all it takes is having one other person to say “they’re not a true Christian,” then there are no “true” Christians.

            • http://squeakysoapbox.com/ Rich Wilson

              And you can say someone who claims to be a Christian isn’t really a Christian all you want. But that doesn’t make them not a Christian. When all Christians (Catholics, Mormons, Jehovah’s Witnesses, Baptists etc etc) can agree on what defines “Christian”, then please, get back to us. In the meantime, the best we can do is take someone’s word for it.

          • TnkAgn

            Nice catch. Textbook “No True Scotsman.”

        • busterggi

          Oh, you must be the one ‘true’ Chrisitian that we keep hearing about.

          • Laurie

            it’s in actions. not just words.

            and there are plenty out there.

            • Aernz

              Then it’s the actions of these nutjobs that we’re speaking out against. Unfortunately since they all keep calling themselves Christians, it’s a little hard to tell you apart. Maybe if more Christians vocally and publically came out in opposition to this fundamentalist crap, we wouldn’t put you all in the same boat so much.

              • Todd

                Funny because someone is different than you they are a “nutjob”. Classy point. Makes for a great case.

                • Anathema

                  Why are you attacking Aernz for calling these people nut jobs but not BelieveInSOMETHING for insisting that the exact same people are not true Christians?

                  Aernz specifically said that it was the actions of the nutjobs (or false Christians, as BelieveInALLCAPS would have it) that they had a problem with. The problem isn’t that they disagree with us, but the ways in which they act on that disagreement.

    • Lando

      The reason we get upset is that misinformation is being spread. In this case, because of privacy concerns, the personal Christmas cards of teachers aren’t being displayed next to the teacher’s lounge. Stearns’ story makes up facts, and turns it into a persecution issue against Christians. Then Christians understandably get upset at some imaginary ‘war on Christmas’ over nothing.

    • Spuddie

      So you approve of lying if it furthers the fiction that Christians are being persecuted in the US?

      Did you learn to lie for Jesus in church?

    • Sam Kay

      Imagine if everywhere you went, someone is shoving something you disagree with down your throat. Imagine if everywhere you went people were talking about Allah. Everywhere. All the time. Instead of “hello,” people say “Allah bless you.” When the holidays come, everyone’s saying “happy Eid al-Adha.” Advertisements all over the place talk about Allah and Eid al-Adha or Eid al-Fitr, or Ramadan, or something of that sort. Every day, everywhere you go, the very language you and everyone else uses assumes that you’re Muslim. Islamic holy symbols are everywhere, Islamic holy scenes are everywhere. People outside of every grocery store are collecting money for Muslim causes (and you know the money goes to promoting Islam, not to help anyone) and say “Allah loves you” as you walk away. Once in a while, people threaten you because you’re not Muslim. More frequently, they tell you that they feel sorry for you because you don’t believe in Allah and Mohammed. Imagine being surrounded by it. Constantly. Every day. Every place.

      Imagine that fully and completely, and you might have an inkling of how old it gets when you’re surrounded by a culture that assumes your Christianity. And it’s not just frustrating for atheists, it’s frustrating for everyone that doesn’t participate in the US’s most popular delusion–Christianity. Jews, Muslims, Buddhists, Hindus, etc. It’s a frustrating experience when the minutae of your culture reminds you that you’re an outsider.

      For me, living in the San Francisco Bay Area, it’s just a bit of a gnawing annoyance. In other parts of the country, more zealous about their religion, it’s a lot more of a problem. Mostly it bothers me on an intellectual level more than a practical level.

      • BelieveInSomething

        I’m surrounded by annoying advertisements every day that I don’t agree with but don’t bitch and complain about it.

        I have strong beliefs and they won’t be deterred because of my surroundings.

        There are things I see and hear every day that go against my beliefs. So yeah, I can imagine and I do just fine without complaining that it isn’t exactly what I want to see/hear/believe. Try a new argument.

        • SeekerLancer

          Are those annoying advertisements for Islam/any other religion and sponsored by your state government and paid for by your tax dollars?

          It doesn’t hurt my personal beliefs, it hurts my personal freedoms and everyone’s personal freedoms when the government sponsors and supports one particular religion over another.

          Look at country’s like Iran and try to understand why people in the United States do not want their country to become a Christian version of that. A theocracy that does not respect the beliefs of others.

          You misunderstand public and private. I don’t care if a church or a person wants to advertise all they want. But you can’t do it on the behest of the government like in a public school.

    • David S.

      Why do you care? If these cultural struggles don’t matter, why do you post here? If they do matter, why do you wonder that others with a different opinion would post here?

    • UWIR

      It gets really annoying when not only do Christians ask idiotic and offensive questions, they ask idiotic and offensive questions that have been asked, and answered, thousands of times.

  • invivoMark

    There should be a fine for inaccurate reporting.

    One that starts out small for the first offense (everybody makes mistakes), but scales up exponentially the more errors the journalist makes.

    Fines can be reduced or nullified by a sufficiently explicit apology and corrections, as long as those corrections are as publicized as the original error. Allowances can be made for journalists with a high volume of output, as long as the relative error rate remains low.

    But if you’re a pathological liar like Starnes? You can’t afford to be a journalist.

    Fox News would run out of reporters within a month.

    • Lando

      The problem is that he’s not a reporter, he’s a commentator. Sadly, fox ‘news and commentary’ doesn’t distinguish between the two in any clear way. Facts and opinions get mashed together in an orgy of attention-grabbing headlines, leading to their audience getting riled up by baseless conjecture. It’s kinda brilliant, I’m sad to say. They’ll be the first to point out that it’s just his opinion, but grandpa can still gobble it up as fact, assuming that Starnes did his research.

  • TnkAgn

    I don’t think that proscription of the mere act of a teacher having a Bible, Quran, or another “holy book” on his/her desk would survive judicial scrutiny, nor would a discretely worn crucifix. But, most of these issues are about multiple abuses of the 1st Amendment, as is the case with John “Let-me-burn-a-cross-onto-your-arm” Freshwater in Ohio.

    As for the petitioners in this instance, once again we see religious freedom and religious privilege confused and conflated.

  • Randy Wanat

    Weird. I can’t comment on that website with the story on it. I wonder if I somehow got blocked at some point, similar to how I got blocked from Michael Graham’s facebook page for repeatedly calling him out on his “if an anonymous source says Obama’s India trip is costing $200M/day, we should believe that until Obama disproves it” bullshit. Here’s what I tried to post there: “Never let it be said that Fox News cares more about raising religious hackles than they do about honesty, integrity, and factual accuracy. And, good for you religious fanatics for not having any skepticism regarding the “journalism” you’re reading simply because it plays into a victim mentality that you’re taught to have by your religious leaders. When you simply accept someone’s word as true without questioning it, and immediately disregard all evidence to the contrary, you are a sucker. If that’s what you consider virtuous, please go jump off a cliff. You’re the intellectual equivalent of concrete shoes.”

  • starskeptic

    Why would someone even post a card in a public place if they were concerned about privacy?

    • Stev84

      For teachers plenty of things about their private lives could be perfectly fine for other teachers to know, but cause problems if certain parents learned about it and started a campaign against them.

      • starskeptic

        That answers my question not at all.

  • Guest

    Did some conservative news source repost this blog because it’s getting mighty silly in here.

  • http://shitmytoiletsays.blogspot.com/ Crud O’Matic

    Hand the South it’s walking papers.

    • UWIR

      Hand the South it is walking papers?


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