Is the Government’s New ‘Office of Faith-Based Community Initiatives’ a Constitutional Concern?

Nearly a year ago, a “Religion and Foreign Policy Working Group” made a recommendation (PDF) to Secretary of State John Kerry to establish some sort of “institutionalized mechanism” with which to advise the State Department on religious engagement:

Yesterday, Kerry formally announced that he was taking that advice and creating the State Department’s Office of Faith-Based Community Initiatives:

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Marine Corps Training Document Suggests That Atheists Are Suicide Risks

The United States Marine Corps’ training manual for commanders (PDF) has a very interesting section regarding how to recognize when soldiers are at risk for suicide. They should look out for soldiers who recently suffered a breakup, soldiers whose family history includes members who committed suicide, soldiers who have serious financial concerns, soldiers who have lost their spiritual faith, soldiers who have a past or current substance abuse problem, soldiers who—-wait, what?!

The manual cited “lack or loss of spiritual faith” as a subset of one of the 11 factors that could increase the risk of suicide. Specifically it was a subset of the “Guidance/Moral Compass” category, a detail that’s equally problematic.

The factor would put all atheist soldiers on The List; that sort of stigma could eventually prevent them from getting promotions or certain assignments:

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If Abortion Were Illegal, These Pro-Lifers Want Women Who Obtain One to be Sent to Prison or Put to Death

Here’s a question that’s always fun to ask pro-lifers: If abortion were illegal, what should the punishment be for women who have one?

The Facebook group “Life Begins At Conception” asked its members and the responses were a big bowl of terrifying:

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Pennsylvania Legislator Wants Science Teachers to ‘Teach the Controversy’ About Evolution

Pennsylvania State Rep. Stephen Bloom thinks he has a brilliant idea to make our science classes better: He wants everyone to debate already-settled scientific concepts like evolution and global warming:

“In the real world, outside of academia, scientific theory is up for all kinds of argument,” Bloom said. “I don’t think it’s right to exclude any particular kind of argument prima facie. If a student wants to discuss a criticism, he or she should be able to.”

I love that first sentence. Bloom is saying that when you talk to people who don’t know a lot about science, they debate things that real scientists already understand. No kidding. And instead of letting the experts dictate the curriculum, Bloom wants the people who know the least about it (including himself) to tell teachers what to discuss in their classrooms.

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Disgraced Chaplain Claims On-Camera That Martin Luther King Endorsed Discrimination of Gays

There’s no spiritual message so clear and straightforward that a creative Bible-beater can’t find a way to claim it means the opposite of what the original source intended. How many Christians do you know who somehow never understood — or more accurately, never lived by — one of their prophet’s purported core messages — to love one another, to love your neighbor as yourself, etc.?

Add to that pantheon of hypocrites and obfuscators the officially disgraced Reverend Gordon Klingenschmitt, a.k.a. “Dr. Chaps.”

Whoops, sorry, wrong picture.

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