After Atheist Student Blows the Whistle, Elmira Superintendent Reminds Staff That No One Has to Stand During Pledge

Well, that was fast.

Earlier this week, the American Humanist Association’s Appignani Humanist Legal Center sent a letter to the Elmira City School District in New York after an atheist student was threatened with punishment for not standing up during the daily recitation of the Pledge of Allegiance.

Superintendent Hillary Austin, to her credit, took action the moment she heard about the problem, sending a short statement to the media and emailing all district staffers to remind them of the law:

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No, *This* is Why Southern Baptist Churches Are Losing Millennials

Southern Baptists are in trouble, they say, because they’re not baptizing enough young people.

But don’t worry! They had a task force look into the problem and the members of the team settled on five explanations for the “baptism drought”:

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Dennis Markuze, Who Threatened Atheists Online for Years, Pleads Guilty for the Second Time

In 2011, the notorious death-threat-spewing, non-sensical-phrasing, email/Twitter spammer Dennis Markuze (a.k.a. David Mabus) was finally arrested. (Skeptic Tim Farley brilliantly documented all the drama.)

Markuze pled guilty to making the threats, spent months in drug/alcohol rehab, and received a suspended sentence of 18 months, during which he had to refrain from “participating in a social network, blog and discussion forum.”

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Catholic Women Get Excommunicated After Ordination Attempt (but Pedophile Priests Remain in the Church)

A band of women have made the news recently for being ordained… and for being kicked out of the Catholic Church in the bargain.

While many Christian denominations wouldn’t bat an eye at women in ministry, the Catholic Church still treats the priesthood as a boys’ club: only men are allowed. Even Pope Francis, lauded as God’s gift to liberal theology, considers that rule entirely unalterable. Though Francis wants to see women playing a greater role in Catholicism, he speaks about that role in very traditional terms — “the presence of women in a domestic setting” and “transmission to future generations of solid moral principles.” He’s not talking like someone who expects or supports women’s ordination. Benedict was even more direct about the chances of seeing women one day follow in his papal Prada footsteps.

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Better Than I Deserve? Dave Ramsey’s Debt-Free Kingdom of Power

I really don’t like Dave Ramsey, but I’ve never had much to point to in order to back up my general discomfort with the man, besides his brash conservative persona and his bad theology.

But thanks to Matthew Paul Turner‘s article that ran on The Daily Beast yesterday, I’m able to connect some of the dots a little better.

Ramsey runs a (Christian) financial advice business that’s worth something like $55,000,000. His basic premise makes some sense, if you’re a middle class white guy with a steady-salaried job and health benefits. Stay out of debt, pay off your debt, trick yourself into spending less by using cash, pay off your small loans first so you feel like you’ve accomplished things, etc.

But the instant you step out of that bracket, it stops making sense and (to use one of his catchphrases) becomes “just stoopid.”

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