A Christian Right Group Wants to Undo a Bedrock of Church/State Separation

For more than 40 years, courts have decided whether a certain action violates the principle of church/state separation by applying the Lemon Test. There are three parts to it:

1) The statute must not result in an “excessive government entanglement” with religious affairs.

2) The statute must not advance or inhibit religious practice

3) The statute must have a secular legislative purpose.

That’s it. It’s that simple. If any of those three prongs are violated, the statute is considered unconstitutional and in defiance of the Establishment Clause.

And now, the Christian right group Liberty Counsel wants to do away with the test because they think it hampers their ability to foist Christianity on the rest of us. In an amicus brief filed in response to the case of Felix v. Bloomfield — in which Wiccans are suing the city of Bloomfield, New Mexico over a Ten Commandments monument on city property — attorney Mat Staver explains how, because we’re totally a Christian nation, government officials should be allowed to put up Christian displays:

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Suspected Serial Killer of 20 Victims, Now in Custody, Says God Instructed Him To “Cut Off Children’s Heads”

A suspected serial killer of children, apprehended in Ivory Coast, said he killed on God’s instructions. Drissa Coulibaly is thought to have been responsible for the hacking deaths of possibly dozens of children over a span of just months. He has confessed to three of the murders so far (though some reports say he later withdrew his formal confession).

From AFP:

“The man came out with a machete. I fell down. He started to hack at me.” Little Souleymane was in shock, but he survived, unlike many victims of a wave of child murders in Ivory Coast. The 10-year-old boy, along with many other children and women from Abidjan’s poor Yopougon neighbourhood, was fetching water from a well by a lagoon on Sunday when the assailant struck.

The man, nabbed later by security forces, calmly told police that God had told him “to cut off children’s heads … and then I would be made king.”

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“The Belief Book” Teaches Children About Religion from an Atheist Perspective

Any atheist parents out there may want to check out this new children’s book about religion written by David G McAfee and Chuck Harrison (who is also the illustrator). It’s called The Belief Book (with the emphasis on “lie”) and it walks children through what religion is and why people believe in it:

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South Carolina Legislator Asks Potential Judges for Their Views on Gays, Guns, and God Before He Can Vote for Them

Newly-elected South Carolina state Rep. Jonathon Hill (below) has a few questions he’d like potential judges to answer before he can vote to confirm them. Simple questions, really. He just wants to make sure they’re conservative and Christian. Otherwise, I’m not sure what he’s doing asking them any of these things: 2. What religious or [Read More…]

Atheist Groups Around the World Have Formed a Coalition To Eliminate Blasphemy Laws Everywhere

It is always heartening to see secular groups working together and this is a perfect cause. A new coalition announced yesterday, called the End Blasphemy Laws Campaign, will aim to (you guessed it) eliminate blasphemy laws everywhere. And, as you can see in the map below, those laws are in effect in much of the world:

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