Australian University Bans Satirical Piece on Islam from Student Paper, Citing Likelihood of Religious Violence

For a while now, the editors of Woroni, a student newspaper at Australian National University (ANU), have run a satirical series called “Advice from Religion.” The articles have so far made light of Catholicism, Scientology, Mormonism, Judaism, and — finally — Islam.

Predictably enough, perhaps, the piece on Islam was the only one that caused immediate paroxysms of fear and cowardice, resulting in the university chancellor’s successful demands for a retraction and an apology.

The Woroni article, presented as an infographic, asked “How should I value women?” It answered with references to Aisha, the nine-year wife of the prophet Muhammad (PBJLOL) and to the 72 big-bosomed virgins who, according to the Koran, will be awaiting the male faithful after death. The Woroni editors observed that the Koranic passages read like “a rape fantasy.”

I was hoping it didn’t need to be said, but the normal give-and-take in an advanced democratic country (let’s say Australia rather than Saudi Arabia) calls for anyone who doesn’t like an editorial piece to respond in ways that contribute to the discussion, rather than shut the author up. If something sufficiently offends you, you may start a Facebook page or protest website, send requests for a rebuttal piece, fire off letters-to-the-editor, stage a demonstration, and so on. Welcome to the marketplace of ideas.

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New Legislation Will Allow Iowa’s Homeschooling Parents to Not Teach Their Children

This past week, the Iowa legislature passed House File 215, a bill that changes the way homeschooling is regulated. In short, it removes a good chunk of state oversight, leaving the education of homeschooled children completely in the hands of their parents — and Christian homeschooling families couldn’t be more thrilled (emphasis theirs):

HF 215 is truly a gift from God for homeschool families. [Network of Iowa Christian Home Educators] deserves a huge “THANK YOU” from the entire Iowa homeschool community for their awesome work spanning many years on [Independent Private Instruction].

So what are the big changes for homeschooling parents because of this bill?

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Even After Atheists Stop a Formal Prayer, This Kentucky High School’s Graduation Ceremony Still Honors Jesus

On Friday night, Lincoln County High School held its graduation. If the school’s name rings a bell, it’s because the administration had traditionally allowed (the obviously-mostly-Christian) students to vote on whether or not they wanted to say a prayer at the event, and — can you believe it?! — they always voted yes!

But this year, that changed when a group of atheist students spoke with the principal:

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The Stealth Christian Attack on Public Schools

Simply put: Many of these so-called bible study clubs and other religious initiatives are not what they say they are. They have an agenda far more sweeping, and potentially threatening to public education, than they let on. The biggest factor driving this insertion of religion into public schools is judicial activism from the right.

I know these are bold claims. Some people will say they’re alarmist. I have learned firsthand that they aren’t. [Read more...]

Texas Set to Pass Bill Protecting the Phrase ‘Merry Christmas’ from… Well… No One, Really

Texas Governor Rick Perry is set to sign a bill (HB 308) that will allow teachers and students to say “Merry Christmas” or “Happy Hanukkah” or “happy holidays” without repercussion.

Even though no one was ever trying to stop them.

The same bill allows for holiday displays, too:

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