Christian News Suggests That Teaching Bible Classes in Public Schools Might Be OK… Because It’s a Tradition

Earlier this month, Friendly Atheist featured a story about several public elementary schools in North Carolina that are teaching Bible classes — and about the Freedom From Religion Foundation’s insistence that the school district puts a stop to that.

I just read the remarkable take on that situation over at Christian News. The publication first lays out the facts fairly. But then, three-fourths of the way into the article, author Heather Clark veers into this:

The first textbook used in the American colonies even before the nation’s founding, “The New England Primer,” was largely focused on the Scriptures, and was stated to be popular in colonial schools for at least one hundred years. It used mostly the King James Bible as reference, and spoke much about sin, salvation and proper behavior.



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Texas Judge Begins Court Sessions with a Five-Minute Bible Reading and Prayer

I’m pretty certain that high on the list of Things Judges Should Never Do is make the parties in front of them extremely uncomfortable.

Both sides expect a fair hearing and anything that detracts from that is a problem. Obviously.

So what the hell was Texas Justice of the Peace Wayne Mack (below) thinking when he opened a recent court session with a five-minute Bible reading followed by a formal prayer?

That’s what the Freedom From Religion Foundation wants to know:

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Religious References on Georgia High School’s New Monument Will Be Covered Up or Removed, Says School Board

Last month, I posted about a Christian monument in front of the newly-renovated Madison County High School in Danielsville, Georgia:



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Texas A&M Now Holds University-Supported Prayers Before Football Games

Over the weekend, before Texas A&M lost to Ole Miss, the Aggies held not one, not two, but three separate prayers on the field before kickoff. The first two were led by Student Body President Kyle Kelly. The third was led by Memorial Student Center President Ryan Trantham.

Kelly said the idea originated from the South Carolina game when he noticed how the Gamecocks led a prayer before the game. He said he liked the idea, but didn’t think anything more of it.

The following week, Kelly said he received a phone call from Regent Jim Schwertner, who asked if Kelly had also noticed the gameday prayer.

“Our school has got such time honored traditions and values and I thought why aren’t we doing that?” Schwertner said.

Because it’s illegal, that’s why.

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Pastor Jim Garlow Endorses Political Candidate at Church, Then Tells IRS, “Sue Me”

Last week, I posted about “Pulpit Freedom Sunday,” an event where church pastors defy the law by endorsing political candidates from the pulpits of their tax-exempt churches. (The law basically says that non-profit groups, including churches, don’t have to pay taxes — in exchange, though, they can’t endorse or campaign against specific candidates.)

The IRS ignored pastors participating in this event for years due to (what they say were) bureaucratic reasons, but they recently settled a lawsuit brought about by the Freedom From Religion Foundation and promised they would prosecute pastors who violated the law.

So what does it look like when a pastor endorses a candidate? CNN’s Sara Grossman tells us:

On Sunday, pastor Jim Garlow of Skyline Church in California stood before his congregation of more than 2,000 and told them he would be making an unusual announcement.

The pastor proceeded to warn his audience against voting for a candidate in the upcoming midterm elections who supports gay marriage and abortion, even if that candidate, Carl DeMaio, is a Republican.

Garlow told his followers he would be endorsing DeMaio’s rival, Democratic incumbent Scott Peters, representative for California’s 52nd District, to send a scathing message to Republican leadership that candidates who back abortion and gay rights are unacceptable to the party’s Christian base.

You can watch the video below. It was part of a sermon series called “Brave” (sure…) and featured an in-person message from Rick Santorum. The fun begins around the 53:00 mark:



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