Jehovah’s Way: At the First Sign of Their Religious Doubt, Freeze Out Your Own Flesh and Blood

This is a cell phone picture of blogger Rick Gonzalez‘s dad, demonstratively not sharing a meal with his son and with Lucas, his four-year-old grandson.

The elder Gonzalez is a Jehovah’s Witness. After his son expressed doubts about the movement, its Watchtower Governing Body promptly ordered the father to shun Rick and Lucas. This is how Rick tells it:

After my mother died eight months ago, my dad, being all alone, went to the elders in the congregation he attended to see if he’d be allowed to visit with me. They said that since I was his son, he could visit with me at his house. But he could not discuss religion – nor could he share a meal with me at the same table.

Two weeks ago, I called my dad and asked if his grandson and I could visit him. He said “yes” and even offered to make lunch. But shortly before serving the meal, he said that he wasn’t going to sit at the same table with us. When I asked why, his reply was, “The organization says so.”

So at lunchtime, Gonzalez père took his plate and situated himself with his back to two of the people in the world who he loves the most. Because his cult told him that this is God’s way.

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An Update on the Financial Boycott Against the Park District Board Member Who Wouldn’t Stand for the Pledge

Last week, I posted about how the American Legion Post 134 was financially boycotting the Morton Grove (Illinois) Park District because its Commissioner Dan Ashta wouldn’t stand for the Pledge of Allegiance at board meetings. Legion Commander Joseph Lampert is withholding $2,600 from the park district until Ashta stands up.

As I wrote then, the boycott has nothing to do with patriotism. It’s all about a government official not bowing down to Christian privilege and a Christian veteran not taking that fact in a healthy way. It’s as if he fought for our freedoms, but now wants to punish someone who’s exercising them.

Readers of this site were eager to respond in a positive way — and you’ve pitched in more than $2,000 to make up for the park district’s lost funds.

I’d like to cross that goal ASAP.

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Freedom From Religion Foundation Sues Pismo Beach (California) City Council for Its Sectarian Invocation Prayers

Just days before the Supreme Court hears the case of Town of Greece v Galloway, the city of Pismo Beach, California just got served with a major lawsuit by the Freedom From Religion Foundation over sectarian prayers at city council meetings.

In short, the Pismo Beach City Council has offered explicitly Christian invocation prayers at its meetings 125 of the past 126 times (from 1/1/2008 through 10/15/2013). That one exception still included the city’s Chaplain Paul Jones saying the Pledge of Allegiance. (And why does the city have an official Chaplain in the first place?)

These are not non-denominational prayers. These are prayers to Jesus. These are prayers that promote Christianity. These are prayers that have no business at government meetings.

There’s also historical revisionism in many of the prayers, the kind that would make Christian pseudo-historian David Barton proud.

FFRF has the transcripts (more than a hundred pages of them, which must have taken an incredibly long time) and the invocations are simply indefensible:

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Bad Jesus, No Candy: Illinois School Does About-Face When Student Dresses as Savior for Halloween

If you like comedy, there is much to love about this news story of a teenager who dressed up as Jesus for Halloween — starting with his mom’s penchant for inadvertent punnery.

17-year-old Marshon Sanders stepped into Highland Park High School Thursday morning wearing a white toga, red sash, sandals, a giant cross necklace and a crown of thorns.

He nailed it,” [said] proud mom Angenetta Frison.



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Irish Atheists Urge Repeal of Nation’s Blasphemy Law at Constitutional Convention

Over the weekend, the Convention on the Constitution held meetings in Ireland to discuss changes to the nation’s Constitution and then make recommendations to the government.

Relevant to us is the need to repeal the blasphemy law, which currently states:

The publication or utterance of blasphemous, seditious, or indecent matter is an offence which shall be punishable in accordance with law.

Atheist Ireland has been fighting for the law’s repeal for a while now and the group’s Chairperson Michael Nugent spoke at this weekend’s convention alongside fellow advocates for the law’s repeal, Professor David Nash of Oxford Brookes University and Human Rights Officer of Atheist Ireland Jane Donnelly:



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