Why is This Mayor Writing About God in Her Monthly Newspaper Column?

The Hancock Clarion is the local newspaper for residents in Hawesville, Kentucky (part of Hancock County). Like many small-town newspapers, the mayor writes a monthly column talking about local government issues, but what makes Mayor Rita Stephens‘ columns stand out is that she sprinkles them with God and Jesus:

The Freedom From Religion Foundation has compiled a short list (PDF) of her godly comments:

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These People Wrongly Believe Atheists Will Be Angry About the Ten Commandments Monument on Their Church’s Property

Over the weekend, a Ten Commandments monument was unveiled in front of St. Paul’s AME Church in Uniontown, Pennsylvania, courtesy of the group Thou Shall Not Move.

You’re probably thinking: Who cares? That’s not a story.

You’d be right.

But the church members — for reasons that have everything to do with a complete lack of understanding about how the law works — thought they were hoisting up a giant middle finger to atheists:

“Freedom from religion offends Christians,” Colatch said. “Christians don’t believe that atheists should tell us what we can and cannot do. This monument is the free speech zone.

“They have wakened up people of this area,” Colatch said. “We decided to stand up for Freedom of religion — not from religion. No one is going to move this stone. We will not allow it. We’ve decided to stand up for this monument and to stand up for Jesus Christ.”

And the atheist response has been a collective:

Seriously, it’s fine. No atheist group has any plans to take down this monument.

So what’s this all about?

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Attendees of Milwaukee’s Festa Italiana Get Free Admission… if They Attend Mass

Last summer, there was a kerfuffle in Milwaukee over their Mexican and Irish festivals.

Mexican Fiesta, an event sponsored by the city, cost $13/person for entrance… unless you attended Mass, in which case it was only $5:

The Freedom From Religion Foundation called them out on it and organizers eventually issued a compromise: they said anyone who came for the 10:30a Mass on Sunday would get a discounted ticket… but atheists wouldn’t have to participate in the Mass. They’d just have to sit around and wait for 90 minutes.

I never said it was a good compromise.

Now, the city’s Festa Italiana is doing the same damn thing.

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If a State’s Holocaust Memorial Includes a Jewish Star, Does It Violate Church/State Separation?

Daniel Libeskind is the son of Holocaust survivors and he was thrilled to be selected as a finalist to construct a Holocaust memorial that would be displayed on the grounds of the Ohio Statehouse. His eventual submission featured the story of an Auschwitz survivor told on two giant tablets… with a Star of David in the negative space between them:

The monument would mostly be paid for with private donations of up to $2,000,000, but the state would kick in about $300,000 for the preparation of the site.

It raises a very interesting question: How do you oppose a memorial like this without coming off as disrespectful?

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Did the Daily Oklahoman Reject a Full-Page Ad from an Atheist Group?

Last week, the Christian chain Hobby Lobby ran an ad (PDF) in dozens of newspapers proclaiming the Christian heritage of our country, with “godly” quotations from the Founding Fathers, the Supreme Court, and Congress. (They’ve been doing this for years.)

In response, the Freedom From Religion Foundation paid for several full-page ads of their own, celebrating our “godless Constitution” and how our Founding Fathers actually supported separation of church and state:

Everything seemed to go smoothly… except at the Daily Oklahoman, where FFRF says their ad was rejected.

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