Florida School District Accused of Telling Kids They’re God’s “Possession”

How many church/state violations does a school district need to commit before they’ve crossed the line?

Correct answer: One.

But the Levy County School District in Florida committed at least seven.

According to a letter from the Freedom From Religion Foundation to Superintendent Robert O. Hastings, here’s what the District allegedly did:

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“Jesus Welcomes You to Hawkins” Sign Isn’t Religious, Says Mayor of Texas Town

If you were to drive into Hawkins, Texas, you’ll be greeted by this 18-foot-wide sign saying “JESUS welcomes you to Hawkins”:

For some reason, this sign has been around since 2011, when Mayor Will Rogers requested that it be put up. But now that the Freedom From Religion Foundation is pointing out its illegality, we’re starting to hear the ridiculous arguments for why it should remain up:

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Georgia Science Teacher Reportedly Proselytized to Atheist Student and Showed Class Preaching Videos

In the several years I taught at a high school, I ran into a number of religious students. Some of them wanted to talk about religion with me but I did what I could to change the subject. Even if I strongly disagreed with their beliefs, it wasn’t my place to challenge them — certainly not in the classroom.

I suspect most teachers would agree with everything I just wrote. But not James Tillman of Douglas County High School in Georgia. A letter sent to the District by the Freedom From Religion Foundation says that Tillman, upon finding out that a student was an atheist, took it very personally:



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Ohio Public School District Includes “Higher Power Exists” as a Core Value for Students

A few weeks ago, a student sent me a page from the Rossford Exempted Village Schools handbook. The Ohio public school district listed its “core values” in the book and one of them was acknowledging that a “Higher power exists”:

That was out of place and illegal… (not to mention really grammatically awkward).

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An Outdoor “Advance” for Atheists in the Smokey Mountains This July

Several years ago, I had the pleasure of attending the FFRF-sponsored Lake Hypatia Freethought Advance (because atheists don’t “retreat,” dammit) in Talladega, Alabama. Between the softball game (atheists vs. Agnostics), picnic-like atmosphere, great talks, and moment of bedlam (because we need to stop being silent), it was a fantastic weekend.

So I’m sad to hear that, due to some personal matters, the organizers needed some time off this year — though they will hopefully be back in 2016. But the Rationalists of East Tennessee will be hosting an alternative event in its place with FFRF’s (secular) blessing.

It’ll take place in the foothills of the Smoky Mountains in Townsend, TN on Fourth of July weekend.

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