Hey, New Zealand, Stop Trying to Be Like America

Another public school. Another prayer. Another administrator who thinks those two things belong together.

The only surprising thing is that this is happening in Auckland, New Zealand.

At the beginning of the day at Kelston Intermediate School, students recite karakia — a Maori prayer. The principal doesn’t see anything wrong with that:

Kelston Intermediate principal Phil Gordon said he had no idea some staff were unhappy with karakia in the classroom until contacted by the union representative.

Gordon said he reassured the union representative the karakia was a cultural component of school life and an expression of beliefs that reflected the Kelston community.

“I guess what they might have been inquiring about is the presence of karakia, etc, within school so we talked about what we’re doing is not a religious thing but a cultural thing.”

Staff and pupils were free to abstain, he insisted. “I think perhaps there has been a mismatch in understanding.”

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Christian College Expels Lesbian Student, Then Demands Repayment of Scholarships

When Danielle Powell fell in love with the woman she would marry, it ended up costing her nearly $6,000 — and her education.

Powell was finishing her psychology degree at Grace University in Omaha, Nebraska, when she started openly dating Michelle Rogers. Unfortunately for her, Grace isn’t your ordinary college, but a private Christian school that requires its students uphold a rigid code of “moral” conduct:

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What Do Atheists Think Happens When We Die?

As I said yesterday, I’m working on a project with a local professor called The Atheist Voice in which I tackle some burning question people often ask atheists.

The video below answers the question: What happens when we die?

We’d love to hear your thoughts on the project — more videos will be posted soon — and we’d also appreciate your suggestions as to which questions we ought to tackle next! [Read more…]

Catholic School Teacher Loses Her Job Because She’s a Victim of Domestic Abuse

Who would Jesus fire?

Catholic Holy Trinity School in El Cajon, California told second-grade teacher Carie Charlesworth she is out of a job. Charlesworth’s infraction? Funny story: There isn’t one.

She is a victim of a stalker who happens to be her ex-husband. The school has decided that Charlesworth is too unsafe to be allowed back in school, not because of anything she did, but because of the behavior of her former spouse.

Back in January, the man, who has a history of inflicting domestic abuse, showed up in the school’s parking lot and, in a likely overreaction, put the school into lockdown mode. Charlesworth, who is just now coming forward, was put on indefinite leave for three months, then fired.

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How Do You Tell Your Parents You’re an Atheist?

I’m working on a project with a local professor called The Atheist Voice in which I tackle some burning question people often ask atheists… It’s more or less off-the-cuff, so you’ll have to forgive me if I missed saying something totally obvious or repeated myself, but we’re experimenting with this so you can be the judge of whether or not it’s useful.

The video below answers the question: How do you tell your parents you’re an atheist?

We’d love to hear your thoughts on the project — more videos will be posted soon — and we’d also appreciate your suggestions as to which questions we ought to tackle next! [Read more…]