Australia Pushes Ahead with $244,000,000 Federally-Funded School Chaplaincy Program That Excludes Secular Workers

Ron Williams (below) wanted his children to attend a secular school in Australia, so you can imagine his surprise when his children told him they were attending “assemblies where the chaplain presided and a rap song was played extolling the virtues of chaplains over teachers as adults kids could trust.”

His lawsuit eventually went all the way up to Australia’s High Court, where, in 2012, they ruled that that it was illegal for secular schools to offer chaplaincy services for students through a government program that gave participating schools up to $24,000 each. The judges said no legislation allowed for this.

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After Long Ignoring Their Requests, Chico City Council Invites Atheists to Deliver Multiple Invocations Next Year

The Atheists of Butte County (in California) have been urging the Chico City Council for a while now to let them deliver invocations at meetings.

For a while, the city council just ignored their requests, despite receiving a letter from the Freedom From Religion Foundation.

But group leader George Gold (below) kept trying:



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Appeals Court Rules that a North Dakota Ten Commandments Monument on City Property is Legal

In 1958, the Fraternal Order of Eagles donated a Ten Commandments monument to the city of Fargo, North Dakota. Like many similar monuments across the country, no one complained for decades, whether out of ignorance that it was illegal or fear of repercussions.

In 2002, a group of five individuals — all members of the Red River Freethinkers — filed a lawsuit to have it moved to private property because it was violating the Establishment Clause. In 2005, a judge ruled that the monument could stay put:

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Help Me Track Legislation in Every State That Threatens Church/State Separation

I’ve written lots of posts over the years about state legislation that threatens to erode the wall between church and state, whether it’s making the Bible the official State Book or altering science curriculums so that public schools teach Creationism alongside evolution.

Normally, I hear about these bills second-hand, like when a local newspaper reports on it or someone writes a blog post about it — and a reader directs my attention there. There are two downsides to that: Some bills may go under the radar and I may discover these things too late to urge people to take action. I want to be more pro-active, but I need your help. Despite my best efforts, I can’t keep track of all the bills introduced in every state.

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Leaving the Christian Right: Harder Than You Think

I didn’t know who Joyce Elaine White was until I read this piece in the American Prospect. I’m still not entirely sure why this piece ran, but I’m glad it did. The article covers her life from about 1973 to 2011 and unravels each layer of her departure — from being a fundamentalist homeschool preacher’s wife and mom in a cultish group, to divorcee and right-wing Christian political leader, to interior designer and conservative political bystander. I think her story is important to read for those on the outside of this world, just to understand how complex it is to untangle yourself from the religious, political, and social ideologies as they interplay in conservative Christian culture.



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