An Atheist Visits the 9/11 Memorial Museum, Sees the Cross, and Goes “Meh”

John Rafferty, the president of the Secular Humanist Society of New York, visited the 9/11 Memorial Museum and wrote about his experiences for The Humanist. The most interesting part may be where he comes across the controversial 9/11 Cross that American Atheists filed a(n unsuccessful) lawsuit over:



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Australian News Program Looks Into Christian Indoctrination Taking Place in Public Schools

Australian public schools offer “special religious instruction” (SRI) which is something of a joke when you realize how badly that privilege is abused. In theory, it’s great because kids can learn about the beliefs of all different faiths. But in many schools, the religious education is primarily Christian and the education veers into heavy indoctrination. Volunteers — and they’re always Christian, it seems — often use the time with students to make converts instead of merely educating them about what they believe.

The last time I mentioned this problem, the group called Fairness In Religions In School (FIRIS) was raising awareness of the abuses within the SRI program in part because they said parents don’t really know what’s going on in their kids’ schools. To that end, they put up a billboard in Melbourne to show parents what their kids may be learning:

Beautiful.

The leader of ACCESS Ministries — a Christian group that provides about 96% of SRI in the state, in 850 of the 1300 primary schools — was quick to denounce the billboard, not because it wrongly depicted humans and dinosaurs living at the same time, but because it was mocking Jesus. Which it wasn’t.

Yesterday, an Australian show called A Current Affair looked into ACCESS Ministries and exposed how the organization works:

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Faced with Threat of Atheists Speaking at Meetings, Troutman (NC) City Council Caps Invocations at Two Minutes

The Supreme Court decision to allow religious invocations has also opened the door to openly atheistic invocations at government meetings across the country.

In Troutman, North Carolina, Town Attorney Gary Thomas was explaining to the city council what the law now meant for them… and faced with the prospect of an atheist invocation, one alderwoman made a unique suggestion:



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Law Society of British Columbia Votes to Reverse Accreditation of Anti-Gay Christian School

Back in December, I posted about a proposed new law school in British Columbia affiliated with (Christian) Trinity Western University where gay students who acted on their sexual orientation would not be allowed through the doors:

At the time, I defended the school’s right to exist. My thinking was that, like private Christian schools in the United States, they could discriminate however they’d like — and it won’t ultimately matter since the students would still have to learn and defend Canadian law as written and pass the Canadian version of the bar exam. In other words, their Christian anti-gay bigotry wouldn’t work in the real world. (A few commenters attempted to refute my thinking here.)

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Hawaii Nixes Sex Ed Program After Politician Complains It Will “Normalize” Homosexuality

Sex education in Hawaii middle schools will only be available on an opt-in basis, thanks to a scathing campaign by one of the state’s most notoriously homophobic politicians.

For months now, Rep. Bob McDermott (below) has railed against any and all pro-LGBT measures in his state. He filed a lawsuit to try to halt marriage equality in Hawaii — and failed — and whined about the Southern Poverty Law Center lending a “Teaching Tolerance” curriculum about diversity and acceptance to Hawaii schools.

Now, for his latest feat, he’s targeted the federally-funded sex education program Pono Choices, which is geared toward middle-school students. The program was developed to help reduce teen pregnancies and prevent STDs, but McDermott takes serious issue with its definition of sex — or, more specifically, the fact that it offers a definition of sex at all.

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