Humanist Group Fights Back Against School District That Held Graduation in Church with Christians Prayers in Ceremony

Last year, the American Humanist Association’s Appignani Humanist Legal Center found out that administrators at Mountain View Elementary School in Taylors, South Carolina held their “graduation” ceremony inside of a church.

To make matters worse, the program for the event very clearly listed two separate prayers — both of which were led by students. Furthermore, both were Christian prayers that referred to “Jesus” and both were approved by a school official before the ceremony:

It’s possible to hold a public school graduation in a church — other districts have gotten away with that — but even Christian administrators who want to sneak prayers into the ceremony know well enough to call them “invocations” instead of giving away the game and they make sure school officials are not linked to the prayers.

The AHA sent the district a letter warning them of the consequences, but the school’s response didn’t quite indicate how they would change the ceremony in the future other than reiterating that “the school will not endorse the use of prayer by students”… which left the door wide open for prayers to continue without the school’s public support.

After another round of back-and-forth, the district took a stand and said they would not stop student-initiated prayers, leading the AHA to file a federal lawsuit on behalf of a family in the district.

Unfortunately, December’s court hearing was a mess. The judge, Ross Anderson, said things that no one with a strong knowledge of the facts should have said, a claim the AHA suggests in a recent court filing:

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How I Stood Up for My Right to Sit Down: a 10-Year-Old Atheist Tells His Story

This is an article by 10-year-old Grover Helton, as told to American Atheist. It appears in the 1st Quarter 2014 issue of American Atheist magazine. American Atheist is available at Barnes & Noble and Book World bookstores in the U.S. and at Chapters/Indigo bookstores in Canada. Go to to subscribe or to join American Atheists. Members receive a free digital subscription. It’s also available from iTunes.

I have never said the Pledge of Allegiance at my school because it says “one nation under god” and I don’t believe in god. But I always stood up with the rest of the class. Then I didn’t want to do that anymore.

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Republican Candidate Who Thinks Autism is the Result of God’s Anger Over Gay Marriage is Told to Drop Out of Race

It was just days ago when GOP House candidate Susanne Atanus told a local newspaper that she believes — and this is paraphrased — “God controls the weather and has put tornadoes and diseases such as autism and dementia on earth as punishment for gay rights and legalized abortions.”

Now, Republican leaders are urging her to get out of the race:

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The Scariest Map You’ll See All Day: The Schools Where Taxpayer Money Funds the Teaching of Creationism

Last week, Zack Kopplin made us aware of how the largest charter school network in Texas promotes Creationism.

Now, Slate‘s Chris Kirk shows us a map where taxpayer money can legally be used to espouse Creationism, whether through charter schools or public schools:

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The Fundamentalist Gender Pyramid

I think nakedpastor forgot to include Pastor Mark Driscoll standing on top of the whole structure.

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