How Well Do You Know the Pledge of Allegiance’s History?

Atheist Alliance of America created a fun little quiz on the Pledge’s history and you can take it here.

I’m ashamed to admit I didn’t get a perfect score. But c’mon, who knew there were *that* many changes to the Pledge?!

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Tennessee Dept. of Children’s Services Commissioner Says Religion is the Only Foolproof Form of Rehabilitation

You may have heard about how 32 teenagers escaped from the Tennessee Department of Children’s Services’ Woodland Hills Youth Development Center last week. Most of them are back in custody, but the community wants answers. Why did it take so long for officials to contact the police about the escape? What are they going to do to prevent this in the future?

This week, DCS leaders held a community meeting to try and answer some of those questions.

But I want to draw special attention to comments made by DCS interim commissioner Jim Henry:

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Oklahoma Officials May Revise Religious Headwear Rules for Driver’s License Photos After Pastafarian Dons a Colander

Enid, Oklahoma resident Shawna Hammond is an atheist and a Pastafarian. When it came time to renew her driver’s license earlier this month, she made the decision to wear a colander — her religious headwear — in her photo. The choice was met with giggles but not disputed at the time: a colander might be unorthodox, but it is the religious headwear of followers of the Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster.

Hammond explained her decision to wear a colander as being an important expression of religious freedom:

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Florida School Board Member Tells Pagan He Can’t Deliver an Invocation Because It Might Offend the Audience

Last month, David Suhor (who calls himself an Agnostic Pagan Pantheist) spoke to the Escambia County School Board in Florida, saying that they were not very welcoming of non-religious viewpoints when it came to their opening invocations. He acknowledged that one board member invited him to deliver one (though he had a conflict on that date), but that was a rarity:

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This Week, an Appeals Court Heard Arguments to Reinstate Tax-Free Housing for Pastors

For years now, the Freedom From Religion Foundation has been in a legal battle to end the “Parsonage Exemption” that allows ministers to deduct the cost of rent for their church-owned houses from their taxable income. FFRF believes that this shows preferential treatment by the government for religious leaders.

FFRF’s own board has even paid its co-presidents Dan Barker and Annie Laurie Gaylor $15,000 each as part of their housing allowance, but because they don’t qualify as “ministers of the gospel,” the law doesn’t apply to them. That’s one of the ways they’ve tried to prove the law is illegal.

Last November, U.S. District Judge Barbara B. Crabb ruled in favor of the FFRF, writing that the exemption was indeed unconstitutional.

You can read much more about Crabb’s decision here.

That case was (to no one’s surprise) appealed by the U.S. Justice Department, and oral arguments took place this week in Chicago. Tom Cara, the President of the Freedom From Religion Foundation’s Metropolitan Chicago Chapter, was in the courtroom and offers his take on the situation below:

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