Despite Warning, Gideons Reps Illegally Hand Out Bibles at Georgia Elementary School

In September of 2012, representatives from Gideons International came to White Elementary School in Georgia during the school day and distributed bibles to students who wanted them. The principal even announced the distribution to students.

All of this is illegal and the Freedom From Religion Foundation said as much to Superintendent John F. Harper of the Bartow County School System, and he assured them it would never happen again. More importantly, he said:

… “any future practice will be reviewed carefully” and that “No principal, teacher or any other school official will encourage a student in Bartow County School System to accept a Gideon Bible in the future.”

You know why I’m bringing this up.

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Conservative Congress Looks to Further Reward States That Teach Abstinence-Only Sex Ed

Facing a(nother) looming budget showdown, conservatives in Congress wasted no time in steering negotiations toward conservative goals, like so-called “pro-life policy” such as focusing on abortion coverage and promoting abstinence-only sex ed.

Nevermind that abstinence-only ed is a monumental failure; nevermind that abstinence educators often mislead and degrade students. It’s part of the Christian conservative social agenda, and legislators are (predictably) pursuing it.

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Arizona High School Softball Players Allege They Were Kicked Off Their Team for Refusing to Pray

A team captain and two other players on a Mesa, Arizona public school softball team are suing after allegedly being booted from the team for refusing to lead team prayers.

The students claim that local Mormon parents and students, as well as coach Joseph Gordman, painted the girls as bullies who were jeopardizing “team morale and unity” over religious issues. The supposed offenses included not conducting and participating in team prayers, playing hip-hop music that “offended [the] religious sensitivities” of one student at a tournament, and one plaintiff’s social media postings.

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PA School District Says Ten Commandments Monument at Junior High Isn’t Religious Because It Includes a Bald Eagle

This is a picture of Connellsville Junior High East in Pennsylvania… with a Ten Commandments monument right in front of it. It’s been there since the Fraternal Order of Eagles donated it in 1957:

A couple of years ago, Americans United for Separation of Church and State and the Freedom From Religion Foundation wrote letters to the district to have it taken down, and it resulted in the monument being boarded up with plans for it to be donated to a local church.

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GRACE Releases Report on Bob Jones University’s Culture of Sexual Abuse

A chronic and systemic issue in the more conservative Christian community is a degree of insensitivity toward sexual abuse victims. Purity culture and abstinence teachings often result in shaming of the victim, rushing post-traumatic processing and recovery, and flippancy about the responsibility of the perpetrator for the abuse.

Bob Jones University, a hyper-conservative private Christian college in Greenville, South Carolina with about 3,000 students, has been under some scrutiny over the past few years over swirling reports of mishandling of sexual abuse cases and victim-blaming.

In November of 2012, BJU voluntarily hired GRACE (Godly Response to Abuse in the Christian Environment) to investigate and report on their handling of cases of sexual assault, after a protest by alumni. Partway through the investigative process, BJU fired GRACE abruptly, but eventually rehired and renegotiated the relationship before continuing on with the investigation.

Yesterday, the final report went public.

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