After Putting His Initials on a Lawsuit Against a Preaching Teacher, a Young Atheist Outs Himself and Explains Why

Last week, we learned about a lawsuit filed by the American Humanist Association against Fayette High School’s district in Missouri.

The problem was pretty clear: Gwen Pope, a math teacher at the school, led Christian devotional prayers in her classroom every Friday morning, prayers that were announced over the loudspeaker.

In addition to all that, Pope’s husband Michael would attend the meetings and Pope was quoted as telling her math students that “God will punish them if they are not good.”

The lawsuit’s lead plaintiff was a student at the school, G.H.:

Now, that student — a junior this year — has outed himself. His name is Gavin Hunt and he explains in Humanist Network News why he decided to step into the spotlight:

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Check Out How a Fox News Reporter Spins This Story About a School District ‘Confiscating’ Holiday Cards

Todd Starnes, the Fox News commentator who frequently spins stories to raise the ire of fellow conservatives, has done it again with a tale about a Georgia elementary school that “confiscates Christmas cards.”

Here’s Starnes’ version of the story:

For as long as anyone can remember, teachers at Brooklet Elementary School have posted Christmas cards in the hallways outside their classrooms — until Monday.

When boys and girls returned from Thanksgiving break, they discovered that their teachers’ Christmas cards had been removed — under orders from the Georgia school’s administration.

Robb Kicklighter’s wife is a third grade teacher at the school. He said many teachers are disgruntled by the school’s decision to confiscate the Christmas cards.

“They took down the cards so the kids can’t see them,” he told me. “Some of the cards had the word ‘Christmas’ and some had Nativity scenes.”

Assuming that the display of cards wasn’t just limited to those professing faith in Jesus, why would the display be a big deal?

Answer: It’s not.

Starnes’ story is pure spin.

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The Solution to Gender-Based Segregation is Not More Gender-Based Segregation

Earlier this year, physicist Lawrence Krauss was scheduled to debate Islam lecturer Hamza Andreas Tzortzis on the question of whether atheism or Islam made more sense. Just as the debate was about to begin, though, Krauss decided he wanted no part of it. He saw that women were being forced to sit in the back while men (and couples) were given seats up front:

When Krauss saw people being moved from their seats, he said he would not speak at an event that was segregated and walked out to cheers and boos from the audience. An organiser pursued him and said segregation would be abandoned.

Dana Sondergaard who attended the event, wrote on her Facebook page: “After having been told the event would NOT be gender segregated, we arrived and were told that women were to sit in the back of the auditorium, while men and couples could file into the front.

“After watching three people be kicked out of the auditorium for not following this seating plan, Dr Krauss bravely defended his beliefs of gender equality and informed event staff that he would not participate unless they removed the segregated seating.

“Needless to say, the staff got their shit together pretty quickly and the event (thankfully) continued.”

In this particular case, the Islamic Education and Research Academy (a sponsor of the event) denied the enforced segregation but was banned from participating in future events at the college.

Now, Universities UK, an advocacy group for universities in the United Kingdom, has published a guide for how to deal with controversial speakers.

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Board of Education May Vote to Put ‘In God We Trust’ on an Elementary School’s Welcome Sign

If you were to visit Pine River Elementary School in Leroy, Michigan, you would see this sign in front of the building:

I have a couple of issues with that sign… do adults who work there also have a great day, or just the kids? And what exactly is the name of that book? It’s like they were trying to cram buzzwords on its spine. Idea! Think! Book! But those are minor issues. It’s a cute sign that I’m sure serves some purpose.

It actually went up earlier this year when the other two elementary schools in the district shut down and the remaining school was renamed and given a bit of a makeover. This sign helped inaugurate the new building.

But when LeRoy High School Class of 1943 graduate Carl Gustafson made the sign, the spine of the book had another phrase on it: “In God We Trust.

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After a Reporter’s Biased Story of a Christian Politician’s High School Visit, a Student Who Was There Speaks Out

The other day, I posted about Pennsylvania state Rep. Rick Saccone‘s visit to a local high school to discuss, among other things, his plan to put the words “In God We Trust” in every public school in the state.

Saccone visited Avonworth High School to speak to students in a “Problems in Democracy” honors-level class. Reporter Trina Orlando‘s coverage of the event for Pittsburgh’s CBS affiliate made it sound like everything went just fine:

“I think [the bill] teaches students the history of our national motto and I also think that it reeducates people that there isn’t always a strict separation of church and state,” [student] Brady Collins said.

“I thought that they were very-well versed in the subject. They had great questions. Actually, they had better questions than some of the committee questions I received. So, they did their homework and I thought it was very exciting,” Rep. Saccone said.

Students at Avonworth took an informal vote on the issue prior to today’s debate.

About 60 percent of students supported the bill.

Even though that report featured students who supported Saccone’s bill, and the commentary implied a general level of support, too, the comments on the news station’s website told a very different story. Students who were at the assembly, it appeared, were chiming in that a majority of them firmly disagreed with Saccone — and took him to task for trying to push God into the classroom — and that perspective was missing from the news report.

Yesterday, I was able to get in touch with Max, one of the seniors who attended the event. (I was able to verify that he is, indeed, a student at the school.)

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