Scholarship Athlete Claims His Coach is Forcing Him to Choose Between Football and God

Most high school and college coaches will make reasonable accommodations for their athletes if there’s a conflict between the game and something else. Have a wedding to attend? No problem. You can leave practice early in order to catch a plane. Celebrating your bar mitzvah on game day? Okay, you can skip the one game.

But those accommodations have to go both ways. The athletes know the practice schedule and competition days in advance. They need to work around those obligations.

In Oregon, Portland State University football player Vincent Johnson hasn’t figured that out. He wants to skip several practices in order to attend church. His coach, Nigel Burton, was willing to let him do that a couple of times, but no more. Now, Johnson is complaining that the coach is forcing him to choose between two things he loves:



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Eleven Pilgrims Killed in Mass Trampling at Indian Temple — One Religious Disaster in a String of Many

The New York Times explains what went wrong in the latest religious calamity in the Indian state of Madhya Pradesh:

[S]everal pilgrims offered parikrama, in this case a form of prayer that involves progressing along the path in a supine position.

They don’t walk. They lie prone keeping a piece of coconut in their hand, they stretch fully, and then they get up,” [a police official] said. “This is how they make progress.”

As one pilgrim offered parikrama, another inadvertently brushed against her, and in order to apologize, touched her feet, a mark of respect in India. Though the path was relatively wide, it was so crowded that this sudden halt caused a human traffic jam, ending in the victims being trampled, including the woman offering parikrama.



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Leaving the Christian Right: Harder Than You Think

I didn’t know who Joyce Elaine White was until I read this piece in the American Prospect. I’m still not entirely sure why this piece ran, but I’m glad it did. The article covers her life from about 1973 to 2011 and unravels each layer of her departure — from being a fundamentalist homeschool preacher’s wife and mom in a cultish group, to divorcee and right-wing Christian political leader, to interior designer and conservative political bystander. I think her story is important to read for those on the outside of this world, just to understand how complex it is to untangle yourself from the religious, political, and social ideologies as they interplay in conservative Christian culture.



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Now That the Primaries Are Over, Two Red States Will Have Atheists on the Ballot This November

… Sure, they were both running unopposed, but this is still a big deal. They got further in the election cycle than Eric Cantor! (That has to count for something, right?)

James Woods, the progressive, legally blind, condom-sending, proud atheist running for U.S. House from the 5th Congressional District of Arizona, is now the official Democratic candidate in the race.



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An Interview with the Man Behind Oklahoma City’s Black Mass

I’ve posted a few articles about a Black Mass taking place in Oklahoma in September. It’s so controversial that the Governor has spoken out against it. More recently, Oklahoma City Archbishop Paul S. Coakley sued Adam Daniel and his Dakhma of Angra Mainyu Satanic church because they supposedly stole consecrated communion wafers from the Church for their event. (Daniel returned the wafers to Coakley while saying they were sent to him legally by a priest in Turkey.)

Damion Reinhardt, a blogger at Skeptic Ink, lives in Oklahoma and hosts a podcast… so he decided to get some first-hand information by visiting Adam Daniel himself.

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