American Legion Group Demands Prayer at Public School’s Veterans Day Ceremony, but School Officials Say No

This past June, the Freedom From Religion Foundation sent a letter to Wallenpaupack Area Schools (in Pennsylvania) Superintendent Michael Silsby letting him know that if a clergy member ever again led a prayer at the district high school’s graduation ceremony, they would be hit with a lawsuit. Silsby wrote back in August: “The District will no longer have religious rituals as part of the commencement ceremony.”

Excellent. Problem solved.

So you can imagine how Silsby reacted when he learned what American Legion Post 311 wanted to do during Wallenpaupack Area High School’s Veterans Day ceremony next month. Normally, the event includes announcing the winners of an essay contest, singing patriotic songs, and listening to a guest speaker. But this year, the Legion made an additional, ungrantable request: Let our chaplain say a prayer at the assembly.

Silsby, not wanting to go through the same legal battle again, told them prayer wasn’t an option. It was a public school ceremony. There would be no mixing of church and state.

The veterans didn’t take the news so well. They’re now saying if the school won’t allow their chaplain to say a prayer at the event, they just won’t show up:



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Why Did This Christian Group Fire a Divorced Woman but Not Fire Divorced Men?

The video below, part of The Atheist Voice series, discusses how InterVarsity Christian Fellowship recently fired a woman after she got divorced… even though they didn’t fire men who did the exact same thing:

You can read more details about the story here.

We’d love to hear your thoughts on the project — more videos will be posted soon — and we’d also appreciate your suggestions as to which questions we ought to tackle next!

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Tea Partier Suggests Class-Action Lawsuit Against Homosexuality

A former Baptist pastor has figured out the answer to ridding the world of those pesky gays once and for all: just sue ‘em.

Tea Party organizer Rick Scarborough and conservative activist Peter LaBarbera reportedly spoke last week about how to strengthen the Christian anti-gay movement (no, seriously). LaBarbera is the president of Americans for Truth about Homosexuality, an organization that seeks to counter the “homosexual activist agenda” and definitely doesn’t sound like a bunch of closeted gay men trying to make themselves feel better. Nope. Not at all.

[caption id="attachment_93149" align="alignnone" width="394"]Rick Scarborough[/caption]

Their brilliant solution? A class-action lawsuit tantamount to those filed against tobacco companies, because apparently the two groups are guilty of equally heinous harms against society.

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Ask Richard: Newly Out as Gay and Atheist, Treated Hatefully by Uncle

Dear Richard,

I recently came out to my family and friends as gay and atheist. Throughout all of it, I have received an overwhelming amount of unexpected support. But, in every family, there is at least one bigot.

I have an uncle who, when I came out as gay, instead of rationally discussing it with me, decided he was going to start screaming Bible verses at me in front of the whole family. He ran off afterwards. I’d hoped that it was over and that he would just leave me alone, but he will not.

First, I started getting messages on Facebook telling me that I have “chosen” to lead a very wrong and sinful lifestyle. He said that he “loves” me, but I am going to burn in hell for “choosing” to be gay. He said I am a dark person and I am just angry at God.

I tried to explain to him that I did not choose to be gay and that I am not angry at God because I do not believe in him. He completely ignored this and just started spewing hate and bigotry again. I finally just blocked him from Facebook because I had enough of it.

Fast forward a few days. He found my blog that I write about atheists. He started to comment on the posts telling me I’m a horrible person, I am choosing to live the wrong lifestyle, that Darwin was an idiot atheist who didn’t know what the hell he was talking about, and saying that science has proved there is a God, etc. [Click headline to read more...]
***UPTDATE: Dustin’s blog is now open to receive your supportive comments!*** [Read more...]

Transgender Atheist Fights Kenyan Government (And Christian Law Firm) For Recognition

One of the biggest names in the global transgender rights movement is also an atheist, giving her home country yet another reason to target her.

Audrey Mbugua is a 29-year-old Kenyan trans woman who is suing the government of Kenya for failing to recognize her identity and name on legal documents such as her state-issued ID and her passport. She transitioned in 2001 and was diagnosed in 2008 with gender identity disorder, the medical diagnosis sometimes given to trans and gender-nonconforming individuals as a prerequisite for legal or medical gender transition procedures. But according to her governmental identification documents, she is still legally male and has a different name.

The Kenyan government has refused to update her documents accordingly, resulting in increased prejudice, discrimination, and difficulty finding a job in a country where being LGBT is illegal. (Not surprisingly, Kenyan media coverage of the case has been sloppy in using her correct name and pronouns.) In May, she sued the Attorney General and the Kenya National Examinations Council, but government officials are clearly taking their sweet time.

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