Cullman County School District in Alabama Is the Site of Even More Violations of Church/State Separation

Just the other day, I posted about a “prayer caravan” organized by Cullman County Schools (Alabama) Superintendent Billy Coleman. The idea was that he would lead a group of people to all the schools in the district and pray… becauseI guess that raises test scores in Alabama or something. They’ve been doing this for a few years running.

We also learned from the Freedom From Religion Foundation (PDF) that the caravan wasn’t the school’s only violation of the law:

We were also informed that schools in the Cullman County system recite the Lord’s Prayer over the loudspeaker each morning. We understand that an attempt to mask this illegal practice is made by giving students “the option” to participate.

So why bring this all up again?

Because FFRF has learned that they’ve only hit the tip of the iceberg when it comes to violations of church/state separation in the district:

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A Facebook Protest Against Ramadan Fasting in Tunisia

During Ramadan, Muslims are not supposed to eat or drink from dawn to sunset (with some exceptions). In Tunisia, the laws don’t prohibit eating during the day, though some restaurants are closed during normal business hours because of the religious holiday.

Adel Almi is a Tunisian preacher who runs the “Commission for the Promotion of Virtue and Prevention of Vice,” and he has threatened to photograph and publicly shame anyone who eats during the daytime. Ditto with anyone who goes to the beach, which he says is also forbidden. He’s even gone to the Tunisian Interior Minister, asking him to enforce penalties in the case of any fasting violations. Given the religious extremism some people hold, you wouldn’t want to be “caught in the act,” or else you might face some really awful consequences…

But here’s the amazing part: There’s a Facebook campaign called “Photos Taken During The Ramadan Chmeta Fi Adel Almi” and it’s a collection of people postings images of them at the beach and/or eating out! Here’s the report from the Middle East Media Research Institute:

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Why Are Millennials Leaving Church? Atheists Play An Important Role

A few days ago, Rachel Held Evans wrote on CNN’s Belief Blog about why millennial Christians (like her) were leaving the church:

When I read her piece, though, I felt she only covered half the story. Yes, churches are pushing young people away, but atheists are also pulling those young people closer to our side.

CNN has now posted my piece in which I address what our side is doing right:

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Navy Employee Told He Can’t Get Married in a Government Chapel Because He’s Not a Christian

Ensign Sean A. Cruz is an active-duty officer who graduated last year from the United States Naval Academy in Annapolis. He likes the place so much that he asked for permission to get married there. To be precise, he would like to tie the knot in the Naval Academy’s Main Chapel:

The Chapel’s wedding coordinator, Claire MacCallum, asked Cruz to submit an application, and eight weeks after he did, she turned him down. The reason? Cruz, his name notwithstanding, is not a Christian. He had told MacCallum that he had chosen Jason Torpy to do the ceremony; Torpy is the president of the Military Association of Atheists and Freethinkers and a registered Humanist celebrant in Maryland (as well as an occasional contributor to this site). Cruz is also a MAAF member and a Humanist, so the request makes a lot of sense.

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Salon Asks: Why Aren’t Women Atheists More Visible?

Salon, which has a habit of publishing pieces that treat atheists unfavorably, posted an article entitled “Five Reasons There Aren’t More Women in Atheism” by Soraya Chemaly (who is on the Secular Woman Advisory Council — way to go, Salon!)

As a “woman in atheism,” there were two thoughts going through my mind as I read the piece:

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