Tim Minchin’s Amazing Graduation Speech

The University of Western Australia recently invited singer/songwriter/provocateur Tim Minchin to give a graduation speech, and as with just about everything he does, he delivered beautifully:

The best part of the video is watching the man behind Minchin giggle as he speaks…

Minchin’s advice boils down to this:

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Richmond CIty Council Members Sponsor Prayer Tour Through the Public Schools

Michelle Mosby is a first-time councilwoman for Richmond, Virginia who works alongside colleague Cynthia Newbille. Both councilwomen want to stop the rampant violence in our public schools and they’ve figured out the perfect way to do it: Through prayer.

[caption id="" align="alignnone" width="337"]City Council members Michelle Mosby (left) and Cynthia Newbille[/caption]

Mosby says it was a divine inspiration that gave her the idea to organize a community hour of prayer this Saturday at all 49 Richmond public school buildings.

Flyers distributed for the event list Newbille and Mosby as council members and sponsors of the community prayer. Mosby’s staff person employed by the city is listed as the point of contact, and even though the event is not put on by the city, the few hundred fliers were printed in city council offices by city staffers.

“I guess you’re dealing with an out of the box thinker,” said Mosby when asked about the decision to print the flyers at city hall.

That’s one way to deflect Constitutional concerns: Just praise yourself for having a mind so brilliant, it can’t understand how the law works.

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Alabama Residents Argue That Offering Arabic Classes in High School Amounts to Indoctrinating Children with Islam

Which foreign languages should public high schools offer their students?

Are there some that might be more useful to learn than others? I think you could make a strong argument that Mandarin Chinese and Arabic belong in high schools and administrators would be doing students a favor by offering those courses.

At Daphne High School in Alabama, the sole French teacher retired last year. Instead of finding a replacement, the administrators went in a different direction: They decided to hire Sanaa El-Khattabi to teach an Arabic class:

Alan Lee, superintendent of the Baldwin County school system, said Daphne High, with an enrollment of about 1,400, includes students from 30 countries, and that offering Arabic is one of many ways that the school keeps an international focus and helps its graduates prepare for the global economy.

“If you look at the languages of the world, Arabic certainly would be one of the languages that I would want my own child to learn, because of the opportunities it would provide” in terms of careers and paths of study, Lee said.

That makes insanely good sense. Yet, instead of praising the decision, residents of the community and parents in the district are reminding us that ignorance is still an obstacle to obtaining a world-class education. They’re making an argument that teaching Arabic is somehow pro-Islam and anti-Christian:

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Florida House Speaker Wants to Change the Law to Allow Football Coaches to Lead Athletes in Prayers to Jesus

This is the Florida House Speaker Will Weatherford:

He’s a Republican. Which is going to become painfully obvious after you hear what he wrote to a public school superintendent the other day:

If a football coach wants to lead a prayer with his players on the field after a game they should be able to do that. I believe that our law we passed (last) year would allow you to set guidelines for it. If not, I will work on a bill for it next year.”

Weatherford doesn’t get how the law works. Including, apparently, the law he passed last year. That legislation — the “Inspirational Message” law, which is really the “Christians are in the majority so we’re gonna pray harder than you” law — gave students the chance to deliver religious messages at public school events provided that they alone got to choose the speaker. It added that school officials — including football coaches — could not participate in or influence the decision of whether a prayer would take place or who would deliver it, a fact that Pasco County Schools Superintendent Kurt Browning reiterated to his principals last week.

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Why Are So Many High School Football Coaches Preaching to Their Athletes?

The video below, part of The Atheist Voice series, discusses how dozens of high school football coaches in the South are preaching Christianity to their athletes:

You can read more details about the story here.

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...]


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