Even the Student Athlete Punished for His ‘Gesture to God’ Now Says His Religious Freedom Wasn’t Violated

A few days ago, I posted about Columbus High School athlete Derrick Hayes, who ran the anchor leg for his track team’s 4 x 100-meter relay. His relay team’s time would have qualified them for the state tournament… but then something wacky happened:

As Hayes crossed the finish line in first, he “put his hand by his ear and just pointed to the heavens,” Hayes’ father said.

Officials ruled that the gesture violated a state scholastic rule against excessive celebration, which includes raising one’s hands. The team was disqualified, and barred from competing at the state championships.

A lot of Christian and mainstream sites argued that this could have been tantamount to religious discrimination. All he did was thank God! Why was he punished for that?! (Keep in mind that there was no video released to the public of this display or the aftermath.)

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Catholic School President Fired After Being Falsely Accused of Homosexuality

Regis Catholic Schools (in Eau Claire, Wisconsin) has been searching for a new president. But it won’t be Tim Nelson, as the parochial-school organization originally announced; they’ve withdrawn their announcement from early April that he was the best candidate for the job.

Nelson is hopping mad, and claims that decision is based on erroneous information about his sexual orientation. He says the organization approached him with misgivings about a name connected with him in his father’s obituary — almost the same way another Catholic school discovered that Carla Hale was a lesbian. Nelson insists the name, which was in parentheses next to his, belonged to a close family friend who is his roommate and prayer companion, but not his partner or lover. The format of the obituary may have misleadingly implied a romantic relationship, but Nelson pleads ignorance of obituary-writing etiquette.

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Eugenie Scott, Longtime Advocate for Science Education, Will Retire

Eugenie Scott, the tireless Executive Director of the National Center for Science Education, has announced her retirement after 26 years with the organization:

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In Response to Atheist Literature Distribution, One Christian Student Poured Water on Pamphlets

Last week, atheists distributed books and pamphlets at 11 high schools in Orange County, Florida in response to a similar distribution by Christian groups earlier in the year.

I’m hoping to have more information on how that went soon, but one response was worth sharing: At Boone High School in Orlando, one student named Heather told a television reporter that she poured water on the atheist literature (0:42 mark):

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School Board Member Resigns in Protest After Colleagues Decide to Vote on Prayers at Meetings

The Rockingham County Board of Education (North Carolina) has decided to vote on whether or not they should pray at meetings at the request of board member Ron Price. They currently have a moment of silence but that could change after the May 13 meeting. And we all know prayer doesn’t count unless everyone else can hear it.

Board member Leonard Pryor won’t be around for that vote, though, because he resigned in protest this week:

In a letter he sent to Chairwoman Nell Rose on May 1, Pryor wrote:

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