Despite Overwhelming Pushback Against It, Mobile County Commission (AL) Approves “In God We Trust” Plaque

Last Thursday, the Mobile County Commission (in Alabama) voted 2-1 to put the words “In God We Trust” on a plaque in the city’s Administration Building. (The most surprising thing about that? Until now, “In God We Trust” wasn’t on a government-issued plaque in Mobile, Alabama.)

Here’s where it gets interesting: Before the vote took place, eight people spoke to the commissioners about the plaque — and seven of them opposed it. Here’s just a taste of what they said:

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Omaha Atheists Revealed to Be Non-Satan Worshipping

A few weeks ago, the mayor of La Vista, Nebraska, Doug Kindig, made earned his fifteen minutes of infamy with secular folks when he had this to say about the Omaha Atheists‘ concerns over a “Faith & Freedom Day”:

Take me to fucking court because I don’t care. … Minorities are not going to run my city.

Apparently, things are beginning to smooth over, but it opened an opportunity for the community to learn more about its atheist neighbors, and that’s where a really nice piece by Adam Klinker at the Bellvue Leader comes in. It’s a fairly lengthy profile of some of Omaha Atheists’ members, and it serves as a wonderful contrast between the stereotype of the litigious atheist gadfly and the reality, which is that these folks are really just good, smart, politically-conscious people in the community. [Read more…]

New York State Senator Rages about Satan, Makes Things Up at March for Marriage

In my post about the March for Marriage, I wondered what kind of person it must take to have the wellspring of loathing and hatred to go to all the trouble to attend and express unbridled enthusiasm for such an event. Here’s one answer, a guy like this. [Read more…]

Administration Getting Heat for Public Funds Going to Religious Groups That Discriminate in Hiring

The Obama administration has disappointed secular activists on many an occasion (and, to be fair, it’s also done right by us here and there), but there’s probably no more overt snubbing of the secular agenda, such as it is, than the president’s failure to act on this infamous campaign promise from 2008 regarding “faith-based initiatives,” which I like to think of as “Zanesvillegate.” (No one else calls it this.) Let’s all say it together:

If you get a federal grant, you can’t use that grant money to proselytize to the people you help and you can’t discriminate against them — or against the people you hire — on the basis of their religion. Federal dollars that go directly to churches, temples and mosques can only be used on secular programs.

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Making #TwitterTheocracy about Pakistan and Blasphemy Laws

Secular organizations came together last week to support a campaign (going by “#TwitterTheocracy”) that addressed Twitter’s compliance with Pakistan’s request to censor “blasphemous” tweets and Twitter accounts. Or, that’s one way to phrase it. Another might be that secular organizations came together to address the fact that Pakistan was demanding that Twitter censor certain material and block certain users under the aegis of its blasphemy law.

See the difference? One version makes Twitter the campaign’s target. The other makes Pakistan the target. [Read more…]