Giant Portrait of Jesus Costs Public School District ‘Nearly Six Figures’ in Legal Fees to the ACLU and FFRF

You may recall that, earlier this year, there was a giant portrait of Jesus hanging in a prominent location at Jackson Middle School in Jackson, Ohio:

After being sued by the ACLU and the Freedom From Religion Foundation, the portrait was taken down… and moved to a local high school:

Phil Howard, superintendent of the Jackson City Schools, said [Friday] that the portrait was moved this week at the request of the Hi-Y club, which put it up in 1947 in a building that is now the middle school.

“We have to respect the rights of the club,” Howard said. “Failure to do so might open the district to even another lawsuit — this time by the [Hi-Y] club” — or violate the U.S Constitution by “turning the portrait into government speech.”

Officials have maintained that taking the portrait down would censor students’ private speech.

“It belongs to the club,” Howard said. “It’s student speech, not government speech.”

That made no sense, of course, since it wasn’t like giant portraits of Charles Darwin (for the Science Club) and President Obama (Young Democrats!) would have received the same prominence (nor should they).

The ACLU made clear that it didn’t matter which school the portrait was in — it didn’t belong in the district at all.

At the time, the district decided to settle the case. They were going to lose, so it made sense to cut their losses, get rid of the portrait, and move on.

That was the last I heard of the whole saga… until yesterday.

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Richard Dawkins Hits #11 on New York Times Best Sellers List

Guess who shows up on the New York Times Best Sellers list this weekend?

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Alber Saber, Atheist Activist Charged with Blasphemy, Welcomes a New Addition to His Family

Alber Saber is a true hero, an atheist from a country where that just isn’t acceptable.

Over a year ago, Saber posted the infamous “Innocence of Muslims” movie on the Egyptian Atheists Facebook page that he secretly administered.

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Tim Minchin’s Amazing Graduation Speech

The University of Western Australia recently invited singer/songwriter/provocateur Tim Minchin to give a graduation speech, and as with just about everything he does, he delivered beautifully:

The best part of the video is watching the man behind Minchin giggle as he speaks…

Minchin’s advice boils down to this:

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An Atheist’s Message to the Christians Who Want to Convert Him

As regular readers know, several years ago, I wrote a book called I Sold My Soul on eBay about the time a former Christian pastor Jim Henderson paid money on eBay to send me to a variety of churches.

While I ended up writing my own book about the experience, Jim partnered up with another atheist, Matt Casper, and the two jointly wrote a book called Jim and Casper Go to Church, written mostly from Jim’s perspective, doing essentially the same thing: telling Christians what their churches looked like through the eyes of an atheist.

It’s been a while, but Jim and Casper have teamed up once again to write a book about what the “conversion conversation” looks like from the atheist perspective and how Christians get it wrong. It’s called Saving Casper:

Below is an exclusive excerpt from the book — one from Casper’s perspective — about what advice he would give Christians who mean well but fail at converting him. (Keep in mind the book is published by a Christian publisher and intended for a Christian audience):

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