Why is This Mayor Writing About God in Her Monthly Newspaper Column?

The Hancock Clarion is the local newspaper for residents in Hawesville, Kentucky (part of Hancock County). Like many small-town newspapers, the mayor writes a monthly column talking about local government issues, but what makes Mayor Rita Stephens‘ columns stand out is that she sprinkles them with God and Jesus:

The Freedom From Religion Foundation has compiled a short list (PDF) of her godly comments:

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Pastor Cites ‘Majority Rule’ in Favor of ‘In God We Trust’ Sign at Anderson County Courthouse

Earlier this year, at the request of Mayor Terry Frank, officials in Anderson County, Tennessee voted to put up a sign on the front of the county courthouse reading “In God We Trust”:

The ACLU argued that this sign could violate church/state separation and it’s hard to argue with that since it seems so obvious in this case. That didn’t stop Frank’s husband, Lee, from telling the press, “We don’t need to deal with that ACLU crap here.”

I bring all of this up because, on Tuesday morning, the “In God We Trust” plaque was unveiled over one of the entrances to the courthouse (another three signs are expected to go up by the end of the week):

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Kirk Cameron Tells Us the Two Things Atheists Have to Believe… and They’re Both Wrong

In a promotional video for his movie Unstoppable, Kirk Cameron explains how he’s a “recovering atheist.” He was such an atheist, in fact, that he can tell us the two things all of us *have* to believe (by faith!) if we’re “good” atheists:

Let’s break those two things down:

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Republican-Led House Approves Amendment Banning Non-Religious Military Chaplains

Last month, Rep. Rob Andrews (D-NJ) suggested an amendment (PDF) to the 2014 National Defense Authorization Act that would allow Humanist, ethical culturist, or atheist chaplains in the Army Chaplains Corps:

The Secretary of Defense shall provide for the appointment, as officers in the Chaplain Corps of the Armed Forces, of persons who are certified or ordained by non-theistic organizations and institutions, such as humanist, ethical culturalist, or atheist.

The amendment made so much sense that, of course, Republicans were quick to condemn it:




There’s some first class ignorance for you:

They don’t believe anything,” said Rep. Mike Conaway (R-Texas) “I can’t imagine an atheist accompanying a notification team as they go into some family’s home to let them have the worst news of their life and this guy says, ‘You know, that’s it — your son’s just worms, I mean, worm food.’”

“This I think would make a mockery of the chaplaincy,” said Rep. John Fleming (R-La.). “The last thing in the world we would want to see was a young soldier who may be dying and they’re at a field hospital and the chaplain is standing over that person saying to them, ‘If you die here, there is no hope for you in the future.’”

You can see the full debate on the issue in my previous post.

Needless to say, the amendment failed on a 43-18 vote.

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The Frustration of Debates

Fred Clark has a great explanation of why debates — especially about God’s existence — aren’t as useful as they appear to be:

When Ray Comfort challenges someone to a debate over the truth of Christianity, I wince because I am a Christian and I know that Comfort is most likely going to “lose” that debate, leading some to the mistaken conclusion that this indicates something meaningful about the truth or untruth of what I believe. When William Lane Craig challenges someone to a debate over the truth of Christianity, I wince because I am a Christian and I know that Craig is most likely going to “win” that debate, leading some to the mistaken conclusion that this indicates something meaningful about the truth or untruth of what I believe.

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