Despite Warning, Gideons Reps Illegally Hand Out Bibles at Georgia Elementary School

In September of 2012, representatives from Gideons International came to White Elementary School in Georgia during the school day and distributed bibles to students who wanted them. The principal even announced the distribution to students.

All of this is illegal and the Freedom From Religion Foundation said as much to Superintendent John F. Harper of the Bartow County School System, and he assured them it would never happen again. More importantly, he said:

… “any future practice will be reviewed carefully” and that “No principal, teacher or any other school official will encourage a student in Bartow County School System to accept a Gideon Bible in the future.”

You know why I’m bringing this up.

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New York Fire Department Wishes Jesus a Happy Birthday with Large Sign Out Front

Churches are welcome to openly celebrate Christmas. So are individual families, who can put up Nativity scenes in their yards.

But when the local fire department begins promoting the birth of Jesus — by putting up a sign out front that says “Happy Birthday Jesus” and “We Love You” as if they were children — they’ve clearly crossed the line. They might as well put up a sign that says “Jews Don’t Matter” since the implication is already there.

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PA School District Says Ten Commandments Monument at Junior High Isn’t Religious Because It Includes a Bald Eagle

This is a picture of Connellsville Junior High East in Pennsylvania… with a Ten Commandments monument right in front of it. It’s been there since the Fraternal Order of Eagles donated it in 1957:

A couple of years ago, Americans United for Separation of Church and State and the Freedom From Religion Foundation wrote letters to the district to have it taken down, and it resulted in the monument being boarded up with plans for it to be donated to a local church.

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West Virginia County Officials Give Church $1,000 Grant to Bring In Christian Musician

The Immaculate Conception Men’s Group, part of a West Virginia church, really wanted to bring in musician John Angotti (below) for a concert. The cost was $3,000 and they raised most of the money… but they got a $1,000 grant from a strange place:

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The Daily Show Was Wrong to Imply That Addressing a Minor Act of Discrimination Was Petty

The Daily Show aired a segment the other night about the Freedom From Religion Foundation’s response to the “prayer discount” offered by a diner in Winston-Salem, North Carolina. (We covered the story on this site yesterday.)

The gist of the segment was that it was wrong for atheists to interfere. While the punchline of the report was that FFRF co-President Dan Barker was a “dick,” Daily Show correspondent Jordan Klepper uncritically presented restaurant owner Mary Haglund‘s assertion that merely taking a quiet breath would have netted the same 15% discount.

To me, that seems to be a dubious claim for something that was termed a “prayer discount,” but I mention it less to quibble over the particular than to illustrate the general nature of the interview.

The segment conveyed the impression that FFRF’s interference was petty, unwarranted, and cruel.

While the piece got some good laughs at the expense of atheists, its message was wrong and, frankly, disappointing from a show that usually champions causes of fairness and equality.

Here’s why:

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