The Ontario Human Rights Tribunal Included Atheism in Its Definition of “Creed,” but It Was the Right Move

The Ontario Human Rights Tribunal ruled last year that protection from discrimination based on belief extends to atheists as well as religious people. It is no longer permissible to discriminate against someone who “rejects one, many, or all religions’ beliefs and practices or believes there is no deity.”

Moreover, in schools where Gideons International gives away free Bibles, atheists may also distribute literature to children.

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Are Catholic Priests Obligated to Report Confessions Involving Abuse? The Supreme Court May Soon Decide

It’s a long-standing tradition: What’s revealed to a priest in the sacrament of confession cannot be repeated or shared with anyone else. They call it the Seal of Confession. Up until recently, the law accepted this as moral and desirable.

But that tradition has now been called into question and the Supreme Court may end up ruling on it.

The Diocese of Baton Rouge has asked the U.S. Supreme Court to review a decision by the State of Louisiana Supreme Court, in which local priest Father Jeff Bayhi was punished for failing to report the sexual abuse of one of his young female parishioners, which the child in question allegedly disclosed during a confession in 2008. The abuser (another parishioner, not a priest) is now dead, but the girl’s parents have sued him — as well as Father Bayhi and the Diocese of Baton Rouge — for the priest’s failure to report the abuse to authorities, as per the state’s mandatory reporting laws. The family alleges that Bayhi’s silence allowed the abuse to continue until the abuser died.

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Can Catholic School Students in Ontario Skip Religious Classes? Yes, but This Teacher Was Punished for Saying So

It’s back-to-school time, and this year Catholic school teacher Paul Blake goes back to the classroom in England rather than in Canada, where he and his family moved after an Ontario school board marred his record as an educator with a disciplinary note. They say his behavior was “inappropriate,” that he “undermined the vision and mission of the board.”

His infraction? Last year, he informed a group of Grade 12 students of their right to be exempted from any explicitly religious content within their education.

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Navajo Kindergartener Sent Home Because His Long Hair Violated the Dress Code

Malachi Wilson, a five-year-old citizen of the Navajo Nation, was turned away from his first day at a Texas public school because his hair was too long.

School officials ordered him to cut his hair short before returning to the classroom to avoid running afoul of the school’s dress code. The child’s long hair is symbolic of his spiritual and cultural identity; however, his parents had to produce official documentation to demonstrate his official status as a registered member of the Navajo nation before he was allowed to rejoin his classmates in school.

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Canadian Man Arrested on Obscure Witchcraft Charge; Media Skepticism Required

Quebec occultist Yacouba Fofana (a.k.a. Professor Alfoseny) did a pretty nifty magic trick for some clients: he made their money disappear. Any services he managed to conjure up in exchange were apparently invisible.

Before he himself could perform a vanishing act, though, he was charged under Canada’s Criminal Code, with both fraud and — wait for it — witchcraft.

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