It’s Time to Stop Putting Pope Francis on a Pedestal

Pope Francis is doing some good things with his influence. He’s called for greater tolerance. He’s advocated for action on climate change. He’s pushed the Church to focus more on helping those suffering in poverty. In an unprecedented and inspirational speech before Congress last week, he called for an end to the death penalty, action on the refugee crisis in the Middle East, environmental protections, progress on issues relating to social justice, advocacy for workers rights, and an end to the arms trade, all while holding up progressive champions of human rights throughout history.

Wonderful. Fantastic. Love it. If he can influence members of the Church to embrace more progressive ideals personally, I’m excited. But before we put the Pope on a pedestal, it’s time for a reality check.

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Tennessee Sheriff Dismisses “In God We Trust” Complaint with One-Word Response

With all the “In God We Trust” stickers being place on vehicles belonging to police departments and sheriff’s offices across the country, it’s inevitable that groups like the Freedom From Religion Foundation would push back and remind government officials that, even if they claim to love the national motto, this is just pushing religion onto their communities.

The other day, I pointed out that one police chief responded to FFRF with a message ending with the suggestion to “go fly a kite.”

Turns out that’s neither the shortest nor most immature response.

In Lexington, Tennessee, Henderson County Sheriff Brian Duke responded to FFRF with just two letters.

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The People of Roseburg Don’t Need Your Prayers; They Need Better Laws

I posted this cartoon by James MacLeod back in July but it seems all too appropriate today.

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VA Public Schools End Christian Recruiting Program After FFRF Warning

Two weeks ago I reported on a sweeping program of organized religious coercion of student athletes by their Christian coaches at public high schools across southwestern Virginia. Since then I’ve received reports of two more schools involved, bringing the total number we know to host this program to twelve:

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Tennessee Lt. Governor Tells “Serious” Christians to Arm Themselves After UCC Shooting

Even though there’s no solid evidence that yesterday’s shooting at Oregon’s Umpqua Community College was directed at Christians, that’s not stopping Tennessee Lt. Governor Ron Ramsey from assuming this was a religiously motivated crime.

On Facebook today, Ramsey told his followers that Christians are under attack and “serious” believers needed to arm themselves:

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