Did a Tennessee College Professor Really Force Her Students to Wear a Rainbow Ribbon?

Here’s the story as the conservative media tells it: Linda Brunton, a liberal professor at Columbia State Community College in Tennessee, forced students to wear rainbow ribbons and tell people who asked them about it that they were supporters of gay rights.

Students then had to observe public reaction and write a paper about how they were allegedly “discriminated against” while wearing the ribbons.

When several students objected to being forced to support conduct that violates their faith convictions, Brunton brushed aside their concerns, described their views as “ignorant and uneducated,” and explained that she hoped this assignment would cause them to change their beliefs. Regardless of their convictions, students had to express the views she mandated in order to receive class credit.

The Christian legal group Alliance Defending Freedom even sent the school a letter (PDF) demanding an apology and a promise that this assignment will never be given again.

Of course, I’m having a hard time believing that a professor would “force” students to do this against their will. But let’s take this one issue at a time.

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What You Need to Know About the ‘Newer Atheists’

We don’t know the exact number of people who have become atheists since Sam HarrisThe End of Faith began the “New Atheism” boom in 2004, but it’s undoubtedly huge.

Is there anything we can say about those “newer atheists,” those who became atheists only in the past decade?

Brother Richard thinks so, and he offers a few clarifications to critics who go after them, though some of them could also apply to people like me who became atheists before 2004:

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Ellery Schempp Looks Back, Fifty Years After His Supreme Court Victory

This is a guest post by Ellery Schempp.

I was in a contemplative mood as I wrote this. Somewhat overwhelmed by good wishes from good people.

I thank you for remembering this anniversary. I am happy to have lived long enough to remember not only the Abington decision (1963), but also pioneers like Vashti McCollum (1948), Steve Engel (1962), Madalyn Murray (joined with Abington, 1963), and later cases such as Lemon and Weismann, Epperson, Edwards, Griswold, many others. All these cases came from real people, and often the children suffered.

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Archbishop Says Tax Avoidance is Sinful. If Only Someone Would Remind the Churches…

When British Archbishop John Sentamu (pictured below) isn’t busy slamming gay rights or denouncing atheists, he likes to lecture people about fairness. Easy to do… I mean, who doesn’t like fairness, right?

Sentamu, the second-highest authority in the Church of England, confidently trained his sights on tax avoiders the other day:

Tax avoidance is “sinful” and tantamount to robbery, one of the UK’s most senior clerics has said as G8 leaders prepare to discuss the issue. Dr. John Sentamu, the Archbishop of York, told the BBC that individuals and companies needed to be held accountable for their actions when it came to tax. Tax avoidance was hindering efforts to tackle hunger and malnutrition in developing countries, he suggested.

You know what they say about how, when you point a finger, three of your digits are pointing back at you?…

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Atheist Hotline Reaches $30,000 Fundraising Goal and Is Now Ready to Accept Volunteers

A few weeks ago, I wrote about The Hotline Project, a proposed 24/7 hotline for people who were struggling with religious doubt:

In order to get the project off the ground, the group putting it together, Recovering From Religion, needed to raise about $30,000 before the end of this month.

Well, with all the recent media attention given to the project (some, courtesy of Christian ignorance), there’s good news to report: With more than a week to spare, The Hotline Project has raised the money!

And they’re ready to hear from volunteers.

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