Judge Rules That Opening Prayers Can Continue at Hamilton County (Tennessee) Commission Meetings

For years now, the Hamilton County Commissioners (in Tennessee) have been praying at their meetings. These were often sectarian Christian prayers, and in 2012, Tommy Coleman and Brandon Jones — both college students — filed a lawsuit against the county saying they were violating the Establishment Clause.

Since then, as we know, the Supreme Court has made this issue moot. Sectarian prayers are allowed… but they must be open to everybody, not just Christians.

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How to Survive the Holidays: A Guide for Secular Families

When I let go of my childhood religion as a young adult — the religion held by much of my family — I knew it was a game-changer. Not long after that, I experienced another milestone: having kids. Twin boys, to be exact, and then a little girl. What wasn’t so obvious to me back then was that those two things, losing religion and having kids, would intersect in ways I can rarely anticipate. It wasn’t difficult to keep my evolving belief system private before I had children, but kids are decidedly not private. They are curious, questioning, social creatures who force us out of our heads and into the world, and we are wise to let them.

I often feel that convergence most strongly during holidays — all of them, not just Christmas — as, by definition, they usually evoke religion and tradition.

There’s no lack of articles and advice on surviving holidays. They bring up how to handle stress, relationships, and communication, but they rarely address a major underlying reason for the complications on my end: differences in belief. Through my first decade with a family of my own, I’ve experimented with everything from jumping right back into religious tradition to adjusting with secular modifications to ignoring certain holidays all together.

In this time, I’ve come to accept that the holidays, like the religion from which many of them are based, aren’t going to disappear just because I ignore them. It’s really in my best interest, as a nonbeliever raising freethinkers, to help my children navigate the inevitable. In fact, I’ve realized that recurring celebrations are an invaluable way to mark time, encourage reflection, and inspire new traditions.

To that end, here are some suggestions for parents looking to “repackage” traditional holidays as more secular celebrations:

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Apparently, True Christians Should Attend Gay Weddings Only to Object and Remind the Couple They’ll Burn in Hell

I’m not sure why any gay couple would invite anti-gay Christians to their wedding, but caller “Ricky” told Family Research Council President Tony Perkins on his radio show that there’s only one reason True Christians™ should ever accept the invite:

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Report Claims Evangelical Church Leaders in Wisconsin Exhibited “Cultlike” and “Abusive” Behavior

Valleybrook Church, based in Eau Claire, Wisconsin, is under fire for what a former leader is calling “abusive practices [that] were inappropriate and pushing the church away from God.”

After a pastor blew the whistle by way of an open letter, a team of investigators (sent in by the church’s parent organization) spoke with current and former church members, eventually issuing a report that condemned the leadership for allowing these abusive practices to continue:

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If We Applied Anti-Vaxxer “Logic” to Other Areas, It Might Sound Like This

“I don’t believe in microwaves. My son used one and now he’s gay.”

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