Spokesperson for Irish President: It’s ‘Inappropriate’ To Ask Him About His Religious Beliefs

When Michael Higgins was running to become the President of Ireland in 2011, he told Atheist Ireland of his desire for a country more inclusive of the non-religious perspective, including the re-examination of the presidential oath with its godly language (“May God direct and sustain me”):

Do you personally agree that, as a President elected by the people, many of whom do not believe in a god, you should be required to publicly ask a god to “direct” you in your work as our President?

Clearly, if I am elected President I will take the oath: I embarked upon this campaign in the knowledge that this would be expected of me if elected. There is to be a constitutional convention in the new year — which I fully support — and it is at this forum that matters such as the oath ought to be examined. It is of great importance that the Presidency and all surrounding it ought to be fit for purpose for a modern state with a population comprising a large number of different religious beliefs as well as none.

In the time since his election, he appears to have lived up to his words. Even his last three Christmas addresses have included no mention of Christ or Christianity.

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The Pastafarian Politician Explains Why He Wore a Colander at His Swearing-In Ceremony

Christopher Schaeffer was recently elected to the Pomfret Town Board in New York. The image of his swearing-in went viral after pictures of him wearing a colander on his head (he’s a Pastafarian, after all) were published online in The Observer:

I had a chance to speak with Schaeffer last night to get more insight into what he was hoping to accomplish, what message he hoped to convey, and what the response has been like for him.

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Remember the Pastor Trying Out Atheism for a Year? He Just Got Fired by His Christian Employers. Let’s Help Him Out

Last week, I posted about Ryan J. Bell, an adjunct professor at Azusa Pacific University and Fuller Theological Seminary and a former pastor of a Seventh-day Adventist church. Bell decided to run an experiment where he would live like an atheist for a year while documenting his journey:

I criticized the methodology — I don’t think you can even pretend to be an atheist simply by reading books by atheist authors and attending atheist gatherings when your religious beliefs are still somewhere in the back of your mind — but I still applauded the fact that he was exploring atheism and wanted to learn more about it.

Unfortunately, exploring faith with a critical eye, as Bell was attempting to do, was a little too much for his employers. Just days after he made his announcement, they fired him until he rededicates himself to Jesus:

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At Yesterday’s Interfaith Prayer Service for Boston’s Mayor-Elect, a Humanist Delivered the Final Remarks

Later today, Marty Walsh (below) will be inaugurated as the new mayor of Boston and he was also the guest of honor for an interfaith prayer service yesterday hosted by Rev. Jeffrey Brown:

“I think what you’ll see in the celebration tomorrow will be the width and depth of support within the city for the new mayor,” Brown said. “It’s not just the communities of color — it’s also part of that — but it is the big tent of supporters. People may have different ideas for the city but coming together we can find ways we can be one in the city.”

We’ve seen these sorts of events before, with atheists pushed to the background as people of faith come together and offer words of encouragement to the new leaders. Even in the wake of the Boston Marathon bombings this year, atheists were excluded from the city’s major interfaith service.

But this ceremony was different.

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Atheist Candidate for Texas State Representative Offers Video Rebuttal to ‘Year of the Bible’ Mayor

A few days ago, I posted about how Tom Hayden (below), Mayor of Flower Mound, Texas, had declared 2014 the “Year of the Bible.”

not only did the City Council have no problem with this, there’s a website run by a local church alongside the city that promotes the idea that the Bible is the true Word of God. A page of quotations from notable Americans on the site is filled with the lies of pseudo-historian David Barton, too.

A couple of updates on the situation:

The Freedom From Religion Foundation sent a letter to Hayden debunking the quotations and telling them what they could do to avoid a lawsuit:

Instead of issuing a proclamation celebrating a specific religion text, you and the Town Council should instead issue a proclamation celebrating our freedom of conscience, or that our nation invented the separation of state and church. At the very least, the Town of Flower Mound must take action to disassociate itself from the website that was promoted during the proclamation and send a clear message to all Town of Flower Mound residents that the government does not favor Christianity over other religions or religion over nonreligion.

In addition, Daniel Moran, an atheist activist running for Texas State Representative (who grew up in Flower Mound), made a video rebuttal to Hayden’s proclamation:

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