London School of Economics Apologizes for Censoring Atheists Who Wore ‘Jesus & Mo’ Shirts

Two months ago, Abhishek Phadnis and Chris Moos, students at the London School of Economics, were manning a table for their school’s atheist group at an organizational fair when they were told they had to remove their “offensive” shirts that featured the title characters from the webcomic Jesus & Mo:

When we asked what rules or regulations we were in breach of, they told us that they did not need to give reasons for removing students, and we would be informed at a later point in time. As we refused to take off our t-shirts or leave without appropriate explanation, we were told that LSE security would be called to physically remove us from the building. We came to the Freshers’ Fair to promote our society to new students. Our ability to do that was heavily curtailed by the actions of the LSESU staff. We especially felt that the abrasive behaviour of the LSESU staff was not aimed at protecting other students from harm, but rather an attempt [to] humiliate us in front of dozens of students.

The next day, in protest, they wore the shirts again, this time with tape over the images of the characters with the phrases “This has been censored” and “Nothing to see here” written on it. That didn’t go over well, either:

Shortly after midday, the LSESU Deputy Chief Executive Jarlath O’Hara approached us, demanding we take the t-shirts off as per his instructions of the previous day. We explained to him that we had covered the “offensive” parts this time, and offered to use our tape to cover any other areas deemed “offensive”. He refused to hear us out, insisting that if we did not take off the whole t-shirt, LSE Security would be called to bodily remove us from the premises. He left, warning us that he was summoning LSE Security to eject us.

Keep in mind these were not offensive images of Jesus or Muhammad. It was criticism of religious ideas, not Muslims. Yet, the students were told to change their clothes because they were “offending” people. It was ridiculous, spurring many students to wear Jesus & Mo shirts of their own on campus in protest.

Today, the LSE issued an apology to Moos and Phadnis. And it’s about damn time:

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Want to Help the Satanic Temple Build a Monument Near the Oklahoma State Capitol Building?

You may have heard that the Satanic Temple wants to donate a monument to the Oklahoma Capitol Building to accompany its Ten Commandments display.

As it stands they haven’t been approved by legislators… but they’d like to forge ahead and create the monument, anyway. So they’ve taken to Indiegogo to raise the funds:

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Dave Silverman is Wrong; You Can Be Non-Religious and Jewish

This is a guest post by Kate Bigam. Kate is a social media professional and freelance writer living in Washington, D.C.

When I was a child, I prayed every night. I asked God to get my crush to like me back, help me find the allowance I’d misplaced, and make my dad’s cancer disappear. My childlike view of God was a common one, that of a big guy in the sky who grants wishes to good boys and girls.

I don’t pray to God anymore because I am no longer sure that one exists.

But I don’t self-identify as an atheist, as Dave Silverman, President of American Atheists, may want me to. Instead, I identify as a Jew — a proud one, at that.

A recent Tablet article profiles Silverman’s new strategy of targeting secular Jews like me and encouraging them (us!) to stop identifying as Jewish.

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Despite Jesus, the Flying Spaghetti Monster, and a Festivus Pole in Capitol, Florida Officials Say No to Satanists

This is unbelievable. The Florida State Capitol Building is currently home to a Nativity scene, Festivus Pole, three signs from atheist groups, and an homage to the Flying Spaghetti Monster:

So you would think the everyone-is-welcome mentality would be welcoming of a display from the Satanic Temple as well, right?

Nope. The temple’s display was deemed “grossly offensive”:



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Catholic School Officials Fire Engaged Teachers for Having Out-of-Wedlock Pregnancy, but There’s a Happy Ending

Remember that innkeeper who told Mary and Joseph they might as well sleep in the stable because there was no room at the inn? That’s what came to mind as I read about Sean Houlihan and Natalie Ferland.

Both were teachers at Lawrence Catholic Academy in Massachusetts, a school describing itself on its website as “a community of believers who strive to permeate the school with the love and compassion of Jesus Christ.” Houlihan and Ferland were friends and colleagues for years before they began dating last spring. When Ferland discovered in October that she was pregnant, the pair made plans to marry.

When the school’s principal and the affiliated priest became aware of the situation, however, Lawrence Catholic Academy fired both Ferland and Houlihan for violating their employment contracts, which require them “to adhere to the teachings and principles of the Catholic Church.” Out-of-wedlock pregnancies, even with the sincere intention of marriage, go against Church teachings.

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