Where Should We Draw the Line on Tolerance for Religious Practices?

The video below, part of The Atheist Voice series, answers the question: Where should we draw the line on tolerance for religious practices?

We’d love to hear your thoughts on the project — more videos will be posted soon — and we’d also appreciate your suggestions as to which questions we ought to tackle next! [Read more...]

I’m Glad Angels Could Confirm This

I love this headline from British humor site The Daily Mash:

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This Pro-Life Christian Website Has an Unusual Commenting Policy…

If you run a website like this one, you have to consider how you want to handle comments. I prefer letting my posts speak for themselves and allowing commenters to agree or criticize as they see fit. Regular readers know I welcome religious voices (or critical atheist voices, for that matter) and I remove trolls to the best of my abilities.

LifeSiteNews, a Christian website covering stories appealing to social conservatives (pro-life, anti-gay, you get the drift) has plenty of stories worth picking apart, but they’re not interested in a true dialogue. Their commenting guidelines actually state in writing how little they care about voices that disagree with them:

I’m all for thoughtful, respectful comments and I definitely understand a firm line on moderation. But I just don’t understand this:

LifeSiteNews gives priority to pro-life, pro-family commenters and reserves the right to edit or remove comments.

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Quebec Charter of Values Lifts Christianity Above Non-Christian Faiths

In a move that has been criticized by English-Canadian politicians as “playing identity politics,” the provincial governing party of Quebec has unveiled plans to institute a Quebec Charter of Values that will bar most symbols of religious observance worn in public service.

For the secularly-minded, it’s tempting to celebrate the Parti Quebecois for their efforts at enforcing church-state separation… Until you look more closely at the rules being proposed.

Some religious symbols are seen as more acceptable than others, mostly because they are small, unobtrusive, and easily concealed. The “acceptable” items include small, modest pieces of jewelry featuring a cross, Star of David, or other religious symbol. Items deemed “unacceptable” include Sikh turbans, Jewish kippahs, and Islamic head coverings like the hijab and niqab. In other words, the faith symbols typical of Quebec’s Judeo-Christian history are — coincidentally, I’m sure — mostly acceptable, but symbols of “immigrant faiths” are banned.

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Humanist Group Sues School District That Held Graduation in Church and Included Christians Prayers in Ceremony

Back in June, we learned that administrators at Mountain View Elementary School in Taylors, South Carolina held their “graduation” ceremony inside of a church.

Maybe they could’ve gotten away with that — other public schools have held cermonies in similar places — but the event’s program didn’t even attempt to shy away from promoting Christianity, listing two separate prayers:

As I wrote then, “school officials didn’t just cross the line. They destroyed the line and then prayed to Jesus to patch it back up.”

The American Humanist Association’s Appignani Humanist Legal Center sent the district a letter warning them of the consequences of continuing future ceremonies in the same location with these prayers.

The district responded the next day, but failed to say how they would change their plans for the future:

With regard to the prayers given at the program by students of Mountain View Elementary School, the District can assure you that the school will not endorse the use of prayer by students at any awards program or school-sponsored event in the future.

That’s legalese for “We won’t publicly admit that we support the students, but we’re not going to stop the Christian prayers.”

In fact, a school official asked a student to deliver the first prayer. And the closing prayer, also recited by a student, was this:

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