Luxembourg’s New Prime Minister Wants to Replace Religious Instruction in School with Ethics Classes

The country of Luxembourg, population just 525,000 (but an international powerhouse of finance), just became the first nation in the world whose top two leaders are openly gay.

While I imagine that few local voters care with whom prime minister Xavier Bettel (left) and vice prime minister Etienne Schneider share their beds, one of Bettel’s proposals may ignite controversy:

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The Homeschooled Christians Who Escaped

Kathryn Joyce, whose muckraking books about abuses within fundamentalist Christian circles are as frightening as they are illuminating, takes us inside the world of “The Homeschool Apostates” in the latest issue of American Prospect.

She profiles two daughters who broke free from their prison-warden-like parents:

The family’s isolation made it worse. The children couldn’t date — that was a given — but they also weren’t allowed to develop friendships. Between ages 10 and 12, Lauren says she only got to see friends once a week at Sunday school, increasing to twice a week in her teens when her parents let her participate in mock trial, a popular activity for Christian homeschoolers. Their parents wanted them naïve and sheltered, Lauren says: “18 going on 12.”

Her sister Jennifer had it worse. She was vegan, which pissed off her parents (because, you know, the Bible says God made animals so we could eat them).

Lauren and Jennifer eventually got away from their parents, thanks in part to a network of other former-homeschooled kids called Homeschoolers Anonymous.

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Catholic School Fires Veteran Teacher After He Decides to Get Married

Michael Griffin graduated from Holy Ghost Preparatory School in Bensalem, Pennsylvania. Later, he taught foreign languages at the school for 12 years. And on Friday, he was fired.

He didn’t do anything wrong. There were no problems with his teaching. He just decided to get married to his long-time boyfriend and the school wouldn’t accept it. Griffin briefly explained the situation on his Facebook page Friday morning:

Today I applied for a marriage license since NJ now has marriage equality. After 12 years together I was excited to finally be able to marry my partner. Because of that, I was fired from Holy Ghost Preparatory School today. I am an alumnus of the school and have taught there for 12 years. I feel hurt, saddened, betrayed and except for this post, am at a loss for words. If you’d like to share your words with my principal or headmaster, please do. jdanilak@holyghostprep.org or jmccloskey@holyghostprep.org


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Todd Starnes of Fox News Lies Again: A Texas School Did Not Ban Christmas Trees and the Colors Red & Green

I think this is the third fake story “reported” by Fox News’ Todd Starnes in the past two weeks. But I could be wrong since I’ve only read three of his stories in the past two weeks.

His latest version of “fair and balanced” spin takes us to Frisco, Texas, where Starnes writes that an elementary school has “banned Christmas trees and the colors red & green from an upcoming ‘winter’ party”:



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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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