Atheists’ Lawsuit Against Churches That Deprived Public Schools of $5,600,000 Finally Results in Partial Recovery

Back in August, atheist activist Mitch Kahle, along with his partner Holly Huber, filed a lawsuit against a group of churches in Hawaii.

The problem was not that the five churches rented out worship space at public schools — that’s perfectly legal — but that there was evidence that the churches had not paid fair rental price for about six years, thereby shortchanging those schools up to $5,600,000. (One of the schools that was owed more than $3,000,000 could’ve used that money after it had a roof collapse.)

If all of that wasn’t shady enough, it turned out Hawaii’s Board of Education chair Don Horner was also a pastor in the New Hope church system, one of the churches implicated by Kahle and Huber…

It’s also worth noting that this was a qui tam lawsuit, meaning that Kahle and Huber didn’t have to have standing or prove they were personally affected by the churches’ deception in order to bring about the lawsuit. They (along with their lawyer) did the research, they were helping the government recover lost fees, and a victory meant that they stood to gain anywhere from 15-30% of the money recovered.

There’s finally a little bit of good news to report. One of the churches has decided to settle the case instead of dragging it out in court (you can read the settlement decision here):

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This Kansas Elementary School Has a Cross Atop the Building and Officials Refuse to Take It Down Until Someone Sues

If you were to visit Spearville Elementary School in Dodge City, Kansas and looked up before you entered the building, you’d be in for a bit of a surprise:

That’d be a giant cross welcoming children through the public school’s door.

Americans United for Separation of Church and State sent the district a letter months ago — and another one last month — but the school board didn’t get around to discussing it until this week and they finally came to a decision:

They’re going to pretend nothing happened.

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High School Administrator in North Carolina Blocks Formation of Atheist Club Because It Wouldn’t ‘Fit In’

Last summer, the Secular Student Alliance formed a strategic partnership with the Freedom From Religion Foundation in order to protect the rights of young atheists. It was a match made in hell, in all the right ways.

Looks like that partnership is being put to use thanks to a developing situation in North Carolina, where administrators at Pisgah High School in Canton are refusing to allow an atheist club to form:

After first meeting with Assistant Principal Connie Weeks, the student was told that Weeks needed to “look into” the formation of the group. At subsequent meetings, the student was told by Weeks that they should just join a different club, because the secular club didn’t “fit in” to the community at Pisgah High School, and there were no faculty sponsors available — despite the Equal Access Act stating that if a sponsor couldn’t be found, the administration is required to assign one.


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South Carolina State Senator Stops Evolution Standard from Being Adopted Because He’d Rather ‘Teach the Controversy’

The way it works in South Carolina, the state Board of Education and the state’s Education Oversight Committee have to agree on new educational standards before they’re adopted for the public schools to implement. On Monday night, the BOE adopted new science standards, which is all well and good… but the EOC refused to approve the following clause:

Conceptual Understanding: Biological evolution occurs primarily when natural selection acts on the genetic variation in a population and changes the distribution of traits in that population over multiple generations.

Performance Indicators: Students who can demonstrate this understanding can:

Analyze and interpret data, using the principles of natural selection, to make predictions about the long term biological changes that occur within two populations of the same species that become geographically isolated from one another.

Why wouldn’t they approve it? Ask State Sen. Mike Fair:



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Alabama Legislator Proposes Bill to Recite Prayer in Public Schools for Up to 15 Minutes a Day

Have you ever thought to yourself: Alabama is great and all, but what it really needs is more Jesus? I know. Me too. Thankfully, State Rep. Steve Hurst is here to save the day with his new proposed bill:

House Bill 318 would put prayer right back into school. Specifically, Hurst wants teachers to lead their students in the same sort of prayers chaplains (or their guests) recite before sessions of Congress — and he wants schools to set aside up to 15 minutes a day for this purpose:

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