A Discussion About the Best Way to End Government-Sponsored Promotion of Religion

When it comes to religion in government, there are a couple of ways we’ve seen a lot of city and county officials try to merge the two worlds over the past few years: They allow invocations at meetings (knowing most of them are Christian) and they allow displays on government property (most of which promote Christianity).

For the most part, these are both legal — as long as everyone is given the opportunity to participate. In other words, Muslims and atheists and Hindus and other non-Christians must be able to sign up for those invocations slots, just as they must be permitted to put up their own displays. It’s when only Christians get this opportunity that lawsuits are filed by church/state separation groups.

But assuming the law is being followed, we know how secular groups have responded. We’ll sign up to deliver invocation speeches, and we’ll fill out paperwork to put up banners at City Hall, and we’ll try to get a Flying Spaghetti Monster display up next to a courthouse Nativity scene. It’s all in the spirit of inclusivity and fairness — and the invocations are often really beautiful.

I love seeing these atheist groups fight fire with fire and I’ve covered many of these stories on this site.

But there’s an argument to be made that “playing nice” in this case is the wrong way to go. Instead, we shouldn’t be saying invocations at government meetings at all. Courthouses shouldn’t be sites for religious or non-religious banners.

You know what? That’s a fair point. It’s all or nothing, and some people would rather choose nothing.

But since government officials aren’t going to end invocations on their own, for example, the only way to force their hand is by giving on that’s so obscene and over-the-top that they decide to end the practice entirely just to prevent it from happening again. Sometimes the mere threat of delivering such an invocation can get them to change their ways.

This is the path that Chaz Stevens has taken. And he’s been fairly successful with it.



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In Remembrance of @TheTweetofGod

After five years, more than two million followers, a book (that was the origin for this), and a Broadway show, @TheTweetofGod has decided to fade back into non-existence.

Writer David Javerbaum is moving on to other projects, he told KPCC radio in Los Angeles. It follows a weekend in which the account got hacked and comedian Stephen Fry decided to quit the Twitter cesspool.

In his honor, let’s celebrate some of our favorite tweets from the only God worth following.

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When People Change Religions, Logic and Reason Aren’t Always in the Picture

In a brief but fascinating interview with Staks Rosch at Publishers Weekly, author Susan Jacoby talks about her new book Strange Gods: A Secular History of Conversion:

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She explained why people change their faith — and wouldn’t you know it, logic and reason aren’t always the primary reasons.

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Humanists Will Continue Legal Battle Against Colorado School District That Promoted Christianity

In June of 2014, the American Humanist Association’s Appignani Humanist Legal Center sent a letter to the Douglas County School District in Colorado detailing extensive evidence that officials at Highlands Ranch High School and Cougar Run Elementary School, in their capacities as district employees, were promoting Christianity and raising money for a Fellowship of Christian Athletes’ mission trip.

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The Scandal That Rocked Sovereign Grace Ministries

We’ve posted before about the Sovereign Grace Ministries scandal, but if you’re unfamiliar with the story, Tiffany Stanley has an eye-opening article in the Washingtonian discussing what happened and how people were affected by it:

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