After Rejecting Wiccan, Huntsville City Council Promotes “Diversity” by Inviting Methodist to Give Invocation Prayer

A couple of weeks ago, we learned that the City Council in Huntsville, Alabama had invited Blake Kirk to deliver an upcoming invocation, only to rescind that offer after learning that he was a Wiccan. They cited “community fears” as the reason for his rejection.

Some readers wrote emails to council members in response, and the general consensus among those members seemed to be that they had no idea why this happened. The selection of invocation speakers, they said, was done by Rev. Frank Broyles, a local interfaith leader who coordinated the invocation calendar.

Well, after that brouhaha, the council was determined to make sure future invocations would reflect the “diversity of beliefs of Huntsville citizens.

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Nearly 40% of Non-Religious Americans Disapprove of Obama’s Job Performance… but We’d All Still Vote for Him

President Obama’s job approval rating for the first half of this year has been 43%. (Which sounds low until you realize Congress is at a pitiful 7% approval.)

But in a just-released Gallup poll, they broke down those numbers by religious groups and found that Muslims overwhelmingly support him, Mormons overwhelmingly disapprove of him (they’re still upset about Mitt Romney, I’m sure), and the atheists (mixed in with those who use no religious label but who may believe in God) are roughly split but still on his side:



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More Than a Year Later, School Board’s Decision to Not Have Prayers at Meetings Still Controversial

In May of 2013, the Rockingham County Board of Education (in North Carolina) debated whether or not to pray at meetings instead of sticking to a moment of silence.

One board member, Leonard Pryor, was so appalled prayer might even be considered that he resigned in protest, presumably before any lawsuits came the board’s way:



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Rep. Louie Gohmert, Who Thinks Climate Change is a Hoax, Explains Why Atheists are Intellectual Inferior

Rep. Louie Gohmert, who makes Sarah Palin sound like she has a Ph.D., went to a Christian revival event last night and told the audience that atheists just don’t get it:



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The Woman Saudi Arabia Tried to Shut Up: An Interview with Josephine Macintosh

Last month, I wrote about the remarkable events at the UN Human Rights Council, where Saudi Arabia attempted to shout down Josephine Macintosh, a representative of my employer the Center for Inquiry, as she delivered a forceful statement condemning Saudi Arabia’s human rights abuses, specifically the persecution and imprisonment of Raif Badawi and Waleed Abu al-Khair (who just this week was sentenced to 15 years in prison).

The Saudi representative was desperate to quiet her, demanding that the council president “shut that woman up!”, but delegations from the U.S., Ireland, Canada, and France stood up for Josephine’s right to deliver her statement. (You can read my full writeup here.)

I finally managed to actually make contact with the hero of the whole story, Josephine herself, who’s been busy traveling and without regular Internet access. I took the opportunity to ask her about the whole episode and to learn a little about what motivates her, too. What follows is an edited transcript of our conversation. I’ve emphasized some key portions.

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