Spartanburg (South Carolina) Coroner Marks Traffic Deaths by Painting a Cross on the Road

In Spartanburg, South Carolina, whenever there’s a fatal accident on the road, County Coroner Rusty Clevenger honors the lives of those who died by marking the spot with a Christian cross:

Clevenger said painting the crosses was first approved through the state Department of Transportation. He said the painted crosses on the asphalt are more permanent and serve as a reminder to drive carefully since the painting is at the spot on the road where the crash occurred.

The evening following the cross painting, Clevenger spoke at an annual vigil for those slain in violent crimes. He defined sympathy as a feeling of compassion for another’s suffering and read a scripture from the Bible.

On a personal level, it’s admirable what he’s trying to do. However, since the Spartanburg Herald Journal won’t ask the obvious questions, I guess I have to play the bad guy here:

[Read more…]

Michigan’s New Adoption Laws Are Designed to Make Life Harder for Foster Children Who Need a Loving Home

This is a guest post by Josh Derke, a Michigan native supporting equality and justice. You can reach him on Facebook or Twitter at @arushedjoke.

I ran for State Representative in Michigan on a platform of social justice and equality in a conservative district. It was my first foray into the political arena as a candidate, so I wasn’t very well known outside of my home town. I gained notoriety in my district and around the world when I responded to a bigoted survey, but I lost the election by about 7,000 votes in a year that was not favorable to Democrats. My campaign was focused on having conversations about important issues sure to come up in the state legislature, such as the expansion of the Elliott-Larsen Civil Rights Act (ELCRA) to include LGBTQ peoples.

[Read more…]

Alberta Politicians Battle Over Gay-Straight Alliances in Schools

Alberta is known for being Canada’s greatest hotbed of religious fundamentalism and conservative attitudes. So when some proposed legislation aimed to make high school a little safer for queer teenagers, things get a little bit messy.

The legislation in question is Bill 202, the Safe and Inclusive Schools Act. It’s a private members’ bill aimed at decreasing anti-LGBTQ bullying by requiring all schools to permit the formation of gay-straight alliances (GSAs). If the bill passes, it means school administrators won’t be allowed to stand in the way of students who wish to form a GSA.

[Read more…]

Congress Will Likely Transfer the Mount Soledad Cross to Private Land

We are still talking about the Mount Soledad cross for some reason.

Here’s a quick recap in case you’re unfamiliar with the story: This controversy, which began nearly 25 years ago, is the longest-running Establishment Clause case in American history.

It involves the Mount Soledad cross in San Diego — a huge cross on public land erected in 1954. After the now-deceased Philip Paulson challenged the cross’ constitutionality more than two decades ago and after atheist Steve Trunk took up the case a few years ago, atheists have generally prevailed in the court system. In 2012, the Supreme Court declined to hear any more challenges from Christian groups, putting the future of the cross back in the hands of lower courts.

[Read more…]

Seven States’ Constitutions Say Atheists Can’t Hold Public Office; Why Not Toss Out Those Unenforceable Laws?

There are seven states which have laws banning atheists from holding public office.

None of them are enforceable, thanks to the Supreme Court case Torcaso v. Watkins, but that’s what their constitutions say.

Here’s a quick reminder:

[Read more…]