There Will Be No 11-Story Cross in Brandon, Mississippi; Church Decides Issue is Too Divisive

Last night, supporters of the planned 110-foot cross that was to go up in Brandon, Mississippi, were sorely disappointed by this message that appeared on the Facebook page dedicated to the initiative:

After prayerful consideration, the Pastor, Staff leadership and Deacons of First Baptist Church Brandon have elected to immediately withdraw the churchʼs application for a variance from the City of Brandon Zoning Ordinance to allow construction of a 110 foot cross on church property. The decision to withdraw the variance application and end this controversy is motivated by our churchʼs love for our community and our deep desire to effectively minister in the Name of Jesus to our community. First Baptist Church of Brandon believes that our ability to minister to our community, our Jerusalem, is a priority calling that no amount of controversy or negative exposure should be allowed to damage. This decision is not a reflection upon our belief in the merit of the cross project. We steadfastly believe that the symbol of Godʼs plan of redemption, the symbol of His unmerited favor, the symbol of His sinless substitute for sinful man, should be raised and displayed in as many places as possible.

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Ask Richard: A Follow-Up Letter from a Teenage Atheist Four Years Later

Dear Richard,

I wrote to you back in 2009 when I was in the 8th grade and you really helped me and I wanted to thank you for that. I just recently rediscovered your blog and I figured I would write to you again. I’m now a senior in high school and in the time since the 8th grade I’ve completely reassessed my faith. For a little while I kept trying to be Christian, and for about a year I was. I feel like that was good for me though. Maybe I’m wrong, but I think it’s a very unwise thing to completely disown one’s faith in middle school. I have, however, come to the conclusion that I am an atheist, and I honestly do not see that changing. I’m just worried about any fallout caused by this, and I don’t quite know how to approach certain situations that I face on a near daily basis. I’m trying to get some answers to questions preemptively in hopes that when I’m faced with these situations (either once again or someday in the future) I will know the best way to handle them.

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Republican Ken Cuccinelli Gets Straight F’s on Secular Coalition for America’s Virginia Governor’s Race Scorecard

This November, Virginians will be electing a new governor, and the Secular Coalition for America has just released a scorecard on the candidates.

The candidates include Terry McAuliffe (Democrat), Ken Cuccinelli (Republican), and Robert Sarvis (Libertarian).

(Go ahead: Try predicting this one. I promise you’ll be 100% accurate.)

The full scorecard goes more in depth, but the final rankings are right here:

Straight F’s for Cuccinelli.

And that’s *before* you even take into account that his running mate (albeit one he didn’t choose himself) is E.W. Jackson, a guy who thinks evolution is a lie and sin leads to birth defects.

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High Court Indicates Support for Indian Teacher’s Right Not to Pray

An update on a story I brought you last week: Sanjay Salve, a teacher in India, was denied traditional pay grade increases because of his refusal to visibly pray during a school assembly. According to The Hindu, however, his fortunes may be turning around.

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Pedophile Priest Scandal in Dominican Republic Puts Vatican Officials in the Hot Seat

Once again, the scandal of child sexual abuse perpetrated by priests has made it all the way to Rome. In this case, the Dominican Republic’s papal nuncio (the Vatican version of an ambassador) has been called back to Rome after his name was linked to abuse allegations.

The Vatican insists that Polish-born Archbishop Jozef Wesolowski, removed from office late last month, has not been accused of molesting anybody. However, official channels are withholding details about what really happened. A Vatican spokesman confirmed that the Church is conducting an investigation but refused to provide details about its subject matter. Francisco Dominguez Brito, the Attorney General for the Dominican Republic, however, has not been so reticent, and has announced his plans to investigate and prosecute Wesolowski in spite of the difficulties of criminally investigating a diplomatic figure.

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