UC Berkeley Students Are Protesting Bill Maher’s Upcoming Commencement Speech, Claiming He’s a “Bigot and Racist”

It’s the Ayaan Hirsi Ali controversy all over again…

This time, comedian Bill Maher was invited to deliver the commencement address at University of California, Berkeley’s winter graduation ceremony.

[Read more…]

Alabama High School Football Team Performs Baptisms on the Field After Practice

I’ll never understand why some Christians, clearly breaking the law, choose to do so publicly. When you break the rules, you shouldn’t be bragging about it on social media or the Internet.

Yet that’s what the Freedom From Religion Foundation claims is happening in the Russellville City Schools (in Alabama).

Like the football team’s (alleged) chaplain Tanner Hall who baptized players after practice earlier this month, a ritual that was documented on Twitter (by the school’s athletic director) and Facebook:

[Read more…]

Penn State Atheists Get “Stoned” with Water Balloons as a Fundraiser

Good news: The Penn State Atheist and Agnostic Association held a “Stone an Atheist” event in order to raise money to bring speakers to campus. If you’re unfamiliar with it, that’s where students can purchase water balloons to throw at group members a la Leviticus 24:14.

Bad news: It’s freakin’ October… *Brrr*

[Read more…]

New Zealand State School Offers Bible Classes Under the Guise of Values Education; Some Parents Protest

Who doesn’t like “values”? Values are what those of us with kids would probably most like to impart to them. But whose values?

That’s what Roy Warren, an Australian father, is asking a state school after his five-year-old son was subjected to a values curriculum. The teaching is, to say the least, a little one-sided.

The program is run by the Churches Education Commission, which acts on behalf of Christian churches to teach religious education in state schools. …

[Says Warren:] “I went through the 18 lessons and every one of them is about God. For 18 weeks these children are being told to believe in God. It’s evangelistic.”

Families can opt out of the program but Warren did not want to isolate his son. “I thought it was very unfair to take him away from his classmates and get him sitting by himself coloring in and making him feel ostracized,” he says. “And then have to explain to him he hasn’t been bad or naughty, but it’s just against what we believe in as a family.

[Read more…]

Middle School Survey on Character Strength Includes Questions About How Much Religious Faith Students Have

Officials at Bethlehem Central Middle School (in New York) want to promote positive values to their students so they have put together a variety of ways to reward students who display them:

The school hosts pizza parties for students who display good character traits like caring, respect and fairness. Teachers give out Eagle Awards throughout the school day to students who show acts of kindness, courtesy and cooperation. A lunch table is set aside each week to recognize students who behave positively during lunch.

Sounds great. But things got weird when they gave students the opportunity to take an optional survey to “assess their character strengths,” with the results made available to the teachers and principal. On the surface, that might be fine, but when you look at some of the 96 questions on the Via Institute on Character survey, you realize that you get punished for not having religious faith:

[Read more…]