Alabama Columnist: This Whole School Prayer Thing Conservatives Want Could Backfire

Alabama lawmakers are proposing a bill that would allow public school officials to join prayers on school grounds that are student-initiated. It’s a form of coercion that takes things too far, since the teacher or administrators would effectively be endorsing religion through their actions. It’s not like they’re praying as private citizens, after all, but as government officials.

J. Pepper Bryars, a columnist from Alabama, knows that most citizens want this bill to become a reality, but he cautions them that this could all backfire… (ya think?!)

After all, even within Christianity, there are different prayers that promote different interpretations of the faith, and those aren’t just minor squabbles:

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Catholic Bishop: Since There Aren’t Any Pro-Life Candidates to Vote For, Let’s Write in Mother Teresa’s Name

I know Catholics love to put their faith in non-existent beings… but this seems especially futile even for them:

The leader of Rhode Island’s Catholics is suggesting that voters could write in Mother Teresa’s name or sit out the Nov. 4 election because the candidates aren’t “terribly promising” on the abortion issue.

In a piece posted online Wednesday in The Rhode Island Catholic diocesan newspaper, Bishop Thomas Tobin said that writing in Mother Teresa or Pope Francis in protest would send a signal that voters want anti-abortion candidates.



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Pat Robertson Tells Woman the “Towels Can Have AIDS” in Kenya

Pat Robertson, who I’m almost positive is not an infectious disease specialist, has some advice for a woman traveling to Kenya this December who wants to know if there are any health risks she should be worried about.

Robertson’s response: Don’t worry about Ebola. But watch out for the AIDS. Because that’s transmitted by towels. Towels.



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Mississippi Elementary School Principal Tells Teachers to Walk Kids Through Lobby… Right Past the Gideons Bibles

The Rankin County School District in Mississippi has violated the law and promoted religion multiple times over the past couple of years. And they still haven’t learned their lesson.

This time, at Northwest Rankin Elementary School, teachers apparently walked students through a lobby where the Gideons were handing out copies of the Bible — on the principal’s orders.

The American Humanist Association’s Appignani Humanist Legal Center was quick to react:

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Houston Subpoenas of Anti-Gay Pastors Went Too Far, but There May Still Be Reason to Investigate Their Churches

Earlier this month, about 1,800 evangelical Christian pastors across the country participated in “Pulpit Freedom Sunday,” where they defied the law by endorsing political candidates from the pulpits of their tax-exempt churches. The law basically says that non-profit groups, including churches, don’t have to pay taxes, but in exchange, non-profit leaders (including pastors) can’t tell members how to vote. They can, however, discuss policy issues without the threat of punishment.

The IRS ignored these candidate-endorsing pastors for years due to (what they say were) bureaucratic reasons, but they recently settled a lawsuit brought about by the Freedom From Religion Foundation and promised they would prosecute pastors who violated the law.

Which brings us to what’s happening in Houston, Texas right now.

The city has what’s called the Houston Equal Rights Ordinance (HERO). Recently, an amendment was added onto it that offers protection so that transgender individuals could use a bathroom at a public facility that matches their gender identity.

Conservatives were unhappy with that for the usual reasons; some believe that the law would let men walk into a women’s bathroom (or vice versa) on a whim, some are opposed to LGBT rights in general, Houston’s mayor is a lesbian and some people are still angry about that, etc. They wanted a voter referendum on the ordinance change, so they began to collect the signatures necessary to get the issue on the ballot. According to city officials, many of those signatures were invalid, putting a stop to the challenge.

That’s when conservative groups filed a lawsuit against the city.

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