Sanal Edamaruku — a.k.a. “the Indian James Randi” — has debunked a lot of sacred cows in his life. In 2012, after explaining how a statue of Christ could be dripping water seemingly on its own, he was charged with “hurting the religious sentiments of a particular community.” The “crime” could have resulted in a prison sentence of up to three years in addition to a fine, so Edamaruku fled from his home before he could be punished (or physically attacked).
Last night, at a meeting of the Wheaton City Council (the city that’s home to evangelical hotspot Wheaton College), Ted Utchen delivered a secular invocation just before the start of the meeting (which is now when invocations are usually held).
It’s difficult to hear but the transcript is below:
Just last month, life-long Catholic Molly Shumate resigned from her position as a first grade teacher after the Cincinnati Archdiocese told her she had to sign a contract that forbade her from publicly supporting the “homosexual lifestyle.” Given that her own son was gay, there was no way she was going to put her religion’s archaic rules before the love she has for her son:
A lot of teachers who work at Catholic schools are pushing back against the rigid, homophobic rules that many religious officials are trying to force onto them. There used to be something of a “don’t ask, don’t tell” mentality, but now these teachers have no choice but to choose sides.
I’m a Student at Lebanon High School and I Thought My Principal’s Religious Graduation Speech Was Distasteful
Over the weekend, I posted about how Kevin Lowery, the principal of Lebanon High School (Missouri), gave a very unusual greeting speech at graduation. It was full of references to how religious he was and how our currency and motto point to God’s impact and influence on our country.
The Freedom From Religion Foundation has already sent the school a letter warning them not to do it again, though I have to say I don’t find it very persuasive when they write, “A reasonable observer would conclude that, as principal, Mr. Lowery’s statements were being endorsed by the school.” His comments seemed to me to be wholly his own — and still completely inappropriate. No non-Christian principal would’ve been able to get away with a speech like that without a national uproar. (I’m not quite ready to surrender to Jerry Coyne just yet…)
Yesterday, I heard from a current student at Lebanon High School who attended that ceremony. She preferred to remain anonymous (for good reason, as you’ll see below), though I was able to confirm that she is indeed a student there.
Her (edited) message is below:
After Son Comes Out, Baptist Pastor Tells Church He’s No Longer Anti-Gay… and Gets a Surprising Vote of Confidence
Danny Cortez, the pastor at New Heart Community Church in La Mirada, California, did something very unusual for a Southern Baptist Church earlier this year: He told his congregation that he no longer accepted the church’s teachings on homosexuality:
It’s a beautiful sermon, really, with passages that could even move atheists to tears.