Atheist Family in Ontario Finally Puts an End to Public School Distribution of Holy Books

Last year, I wrote about how, in Toronto, the Gideons wanted to distribute Bibles to fifth grade students and how the District School Board of Niagara was letting them do it.

Rene and Anna Chouinard, who have three kids in the district, attempted to put a stop to that for years, beginning in 2009. They told the school board that if the Gideons could distribute Bibles to children, then they should be able to distribute copies of Dan Barker‘s Just Pretend: A Free Thought Book for Children and Losing Faith in Faith: From Preacher to Atheist. That year, the school board ended up saying no to both kinds of books.

The year after, the board changed their policy to allow for the distribution of all religious materials. The Chouinards said Fine! Let us distribute our atheist books!… and the school board said no.

Huh?! The Bibles were okay, but the atheist books were not? What gives?

Only last year did a court finally agree to look at the case.

It took a year, but the Chouinards have finally prevailed!

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Hawaiian Atheists’ Lawsuit Alleges That Churches Have Deprived Public Schools of $5,600,000

Mitch Kahle, founder of the Hawaii Citizens for the Separation of State and Church, has been a successful activist for a few years now:

In 2010, he protested an invocation prayer in the Hawaii State Legislature and won a lawsuit after being roughed up and arrested by police for “disorderly conduct.”

Last year, after a public school partnered up with a local church to raise money for a Christian charity, he wrote a letter to the Department of Education and stopped the Constitutional violation.

This is a guy who knows how to stand up for his principles, even if they’re unpopular.

Now, along with his partner Holly Huber, he’s tackling his biggest case yet.

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Did School Prayer Just Become a Reality in a Louisiana School District? One Blogger Got to the Bottom of the Story

I’m a huge fan of bloggers who function as community watchdogs, making sure things like church/state separation are being respected in areas that larger media outlets may not be paying much attention to.

For months now, Randall Hayes has been tracking House Bill 660 in Louisiana, a bill sponsored by Democrat Katrina R. Jackson (below), that would have required all the state’s elementary and high schools to recite the Lord’s Prayer.

Last we heard, that bill had been renamed House Bill 724 and gutted to the point that no formal prayers would be allowed in school and no students would be required to participate.

On Tuesday, however, Randall noticed something strange in the Bastrop Enterprise newspaper:

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Don’t Believe the New Study About Irish College Students’ Attitudes About Religion… Yet

In Ireland, where atheism is already on the rise as are godless funerals, a new study — being touted on multiple websites and by Richard Dawkins — seems to show that the percentage of young Irish atheists is pretty high, too:

A student survey has uncovered some very interesting statistics regarding Irish students and their changing attitudes towards religion.

Shockingly, while less than 60% of respondents considered themselves Catholic; the second group to top the scale were Atheists at 20%.

That’s not the only shocker: Only a third of Irish Catholic students said they believe communion wafers are the physical body of Christ. Which I thought was one of the items on the Catholic Checklist.

And there’s this:

According to the survey, students regard ‘looking good’ (5th) as being more important than ‘religious beliefs’ (6th), with friends and family topping the list of importance.

Lots of interesting stuff.

But I’m not accepting any of it yet. Neither should you.

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Should Low-Income Public Schools Accept Help from Non-Evangelizing Evangelicals?

Short answer: Yes.

Longer answer: Yes, but only with strong oversight.

Samuel G. Freedman at the New York Times has an article in today’s paper about how a group of evangelical Christians are helping revitalize Roosevelt High School, a public school serving a lot of low-income families. They paint walls, repair bleachers, offer tutoring, help coach the football team, etc.

Normally, that’s not a good match… but it seems to have worked out fairly well for this school and many others in the area:

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