Freedom From Religion Foundation Files Amicus Brief for Supreme Court Prayer Case

Just a day after a whole host of other atheist groups submitted their joint amicus brief for Town of Greece v. Galloway, the Supreme Court case that could decide the fate of government invocation prayers, the Freedom From Religion Foundation has submitted theirs as well.

Just as the other brief did, this one focuses almost entirely on the Supreme Court case of Marsh v. Chambers (1983), the last time the Court decided a case involving government prayer.

Unlike the other brief, though, this one’s just flat-out blunt about how awful Marsh was and urges the Court to overturn it — or, barring that, to affirm the Appeals Court’s ruling against the blatantly sectarian prayers in the town of Greece, New York. It also highlights the changing demographics in our society in order to show that, even if we were once a Christian-majority country, we are no longer heading in that direction:

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After Her Teacher Compared Atheism to Smoking (Saying Humans Naturally Rejected Both), a Young Atheist Took Action

The summer before Sara Sheppard began her senior year of high school in Katy, Texas, she took an Economics class. Her teacher was well-liked by the students but Sara noticed that he spent a lot of time talking about Christianity in the classroom:

As the semester went by I realized that his passion for passing on his knowledge was not focused on economics but focused on religion, prayer, and spirituality. Instead of teaching economics he would teach us that certain historical people were among the greatest because of their spiritual enlightenment. He also expressed to the students that it was human nature to have a spiritual and religious component, therefore making atheists unnatural and against human nature. This teacher went so far with this idea to even compare atheism to smoking and how the body originally rejects smoking just like “the mind rejects the concept of atheism.”

Even though she called him out on that last statement, explaining that he shouldn’t say things like that in the classroom, it didn’t change anything.

Reporting his conduct didn’t seem like a safe option — it could have made her a target of students and other teachers. So Sara did the next best thing.

She recorded the lectures with her iPhone.

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FFRF’s ‘Celebrate Our Secular Constitution’ Ad Appears in Indiana Newspaper

Tuesday is Constitution Day (which, I guess, is a thing) and the Freedom From Religion Foundation is celebrating with a full-page ad in today’s Bloomington Times-Herald newspaper in Indiana:

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Group with Atheist-y Name Claims Responsibility for Bombing of Christian Group’s Veterans Memorial

You may recall that, back in August, there was a small explosion near the Mingus Park Vietnam War Memorial cross in Coos Bay, Oregon. No one was hurt, but the cross was slightly damaged.

At the time, the fingers were pointing straight at atheist groups like the Freedom From Religion Foundation:

“We unfortunately are now to the point where explosive devices are being placed next to crosses,” said Hiram Sasser, director of litigation at the Liberty Institute.

“These people will stop at nothing to intimidate communities to tear down their veterans memorials,” Sasser told Fox News. “Now the crazies are trying to blow one up.”

Sasser called on the FFRF to stop “fanning the flames of hostility toward veterans memorials.”

“There are consequences for fomenting hatred for what were once obscure veterans memorials,” he said. “The FFRF should immediately condemn this dangerous criminal act.”

FFRF challenged the religious memorial on legal grounds, but we know they would never resort to tactics like this. Still, days later, just to set the record straight, FFRF condemned the actions:

FFRF condemns this violent and reckless act. We are in fact not aware of any act of violence committed by a nonbeliever in the name of keeping religion out of government. We have had FFRF billboards and banners vandalized and stolen on occasion, and been the recipient of many threats of violence over the years, so we know how it feels. Dynamiting the Buddhas at Bamiyan or terrorizing abortion clinics are the tyrannical tactics of religious fanatics, not the Freedom From Religion Foundation. We have never, and will never, advocate or employ violence against those with whom we disagree.

In the weeks to follow there was little development in the case, but yesterday, there was a strange breakthrough: All City Council members and The World (a newspaper serving the Coos Bay community) received a letter from the purported criminal(s).

The writer appears to be a member of an atheist group.

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In Hobby Lobby We Don’t Trust: Why Their Independence Day Ad is Full of Distortions and Lies

Since 2008, the Christian-owned chain Hobby Lobby has run full-page ads in newspapers across the country on Independence Day. The ad features quotations from our Founding Fathers and others discussing our country’s “Christian heritage”… and, as you might expect, it takes all sorts of liberties in the process:

Now, the Freedom From Religion Foundation’s Andrew Seidel and Chuck Roslof have done what Hobby Lobby refuses to do: Tell the truth about what all those people actually meant and, in some cases, said.

The quotes are meant to give the false impression that the U.S. is a Christian nation and that our nation “trusts in God.” But, just like Hobby Lobby’s god, the quotes aren’t very trustworthy. They are wildly inaccurate in some cases.

They have created a beautiful website that picks apart all of the quotations used in the Hobby Lobby ad — they explain how distorted or irrelevant the statements are, what the actual quotations were (in context), and offer links so you can check it all out for yourself.

For example, Hobby Lobby quoted the French observer Achille Murat in 2009 this way:

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