This May Be the First Atheist Megachurch

Last we heard from the London-based Sunday Assembly (a.k.a. Atheist Church), they were being evicted from their home:

Unfortunately, they may have to find permanent space sooner than they expected. Trustees from the Steiner School (housed in the same church) have kicked them out of the building. While the trustees cited safety reasons (too many people in the building), Jones contends there’s a less benevolent reason for the eviction. He said that some of the trustees found The Sunday Assembly to be “antithetical to their own ethos.” You can decide for yourself whether it was the living better, helping often, or wondering more that upset them the most.

In fact, The Sunday Assembly has complied with all safety regulations, including turning people away at the door if the crowds were getting too large.

There’s some good news on this front, though: This June, the Sunday Assembly will begin holding services at the 1,200 seat York Hall in Bethnal Green:

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American Atheists Responds to Ten Commandments Monument Outside City Courthouse with Monument of Its Own

About a year ago, Community Men’s Fellowship (a Christian group) gave the city of Bradford County, Florida the gift of a Ten Commandments monument to put outside the county courthouse:

At the time, American Atheists filed a lawsuit against the county. County officials were ready to take down the monument… but the Community Men’s Fellowship refused to remove it. In fact, God told them not to:

… Community Men’s Fellowship wrote back: “We have prayerfully considered your request and have determined that we will not comply with the County’s order.”

How’s that for brazenness? We broke the law, but we’re not going to fix the situation.

So what could the city do?

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Anonymous No More: Gay Catholic Priest Comes Out

The author of a book about life as a gay Catholic priest has officially come out about his true identity.

Father Gary Meier (pictured above), a priest for the Archdiocese of Saint Louis, wrote a book in 2011 called Hidden Voices: Reflections of a Gay, Catholic Priest, but published it anonymously.

Earlier this month, he released a statement announcing the book would be released a second time under his own name and explaining the decision:

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New Gallup Poll Says Religion is Losing Influence in Our Society

A new Gallup poll out today says that Americans believe religion is losing its influence on society:

Over three-quarters of Americans (77%) say religion is losing its influence on American life, while 20% say religion’s influence is increasing. These represent Americans’ most negative evaluations of the impact of religion since 1970, although similar to the views measured in recent years.

What’s interesting is that it doesn’t seem to matter how often you attend church or how personally religious you are, you still think religion is losing power. Victory is ours!…

… or not.

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Kountze High School Cheerleaders Are Going Back to Court Over Their Bible Banners

Earlier this month, the Kountze High School cheerleaders won a lawsuit that said they could hold up banners with Bible verses on them to support the football team:

You may recall that the cheerleaders were actually fighting their school district in court (not some atheist group) because then-Superintendent Kevin Weldon had told them to stop with the banners. So when Judge Steve Thomas ruled in favor of the cheerleaders, he was simultaneously telling the district it couldn’t stop them from being all preachy on the football field. Thomas wrote in his decision (PDF).

There are two big problems with this ruling.

One: It makes no sense at all. How could any reasonable person see cheerleaders in school uniforms hoisting banners with Bible verses on them and not see a link between the school district and Christianity?

Two: The decision isn’t very clear about what is allowed. Judge Thomas wrote that no law “requires Kountze I.S.D. to prohibit the inclusion of religious-themed banners”… which means the district doesn’t have to put a stop to the students’ banners.

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