Private Christian Schools That Receive Taxpayer Dollars Are (Legally) Expelling Gay Students

Usually, when church/state advocates argue against school vouchers, they’re fighting against tax dollars being used to pay for religious schools that may preach Creationism or revisionist history.

Alex Morris shows us in the latest issue of Rolling Stone that there’s another concern: LGBT students can be legally expelled from schools that are receiving this government cash:

As religious institutions, these schools have the legal right to uphold and enforce any faith-based belief system they please. And parents who enroll their children — if not always the children being enrolled — understand the repercussions of such policies. However, by exploiting recent legislation, Christian schools in Georgia that openly discriminate against gay students have been receiving millions of dollars in diverted public funds as a result of a 2008 law meant to provide funding to help [low­-income] children transfer to private schools. Tristan, Jason and Emily, along with about 500 other students, attend a school that participates in this program.

It’s not just Georgia — 11 other states now have laws that offer tax credits to those who give scholarships for private schools.

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East African Witch Doctors Are Hunting Albino Children to Amputate Their Limbs and Turn Them into Magic Potions

In Tanzania and other East African nations, people with albinism don’t just worry about developing vision problems and skin cancer — common afflictions among those whose bodies don’t produce enough melanin. They also have to keep an eye out for assassins who want to harvest their body parts, says Scientific American. The crimes are motivated

… by superstitious beliefs that albinos’ body parts can lead to power and wealth. A rash of more than 100 crimes against individuals with albinism have been reported in the past seven years in Tanzania, according to the Tanzania Albino Society, an advocacy organization.

The authorities are trying to crack down on witch doctors who make albino potions and charms, and on the buyers of such wares.

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Woman Sues InterVarsity Christian Fellowship for Firing Her (but Not Men) After a Divorce

Alyce Conlon worked as a spiritual director for InterVarsity Christian Fellowship in Michigan for about seven years (and for the company in general for more than two decades) before she got fired following her divorce.

If that sounds unnecessarily cruel, well, what do you expect? IVCF is the same organization that once told a gay Christian he couldn’t be an officer of his campus IVCF group because of his cooties.

Conlon’s now suing IVCF — good for her — claiming that she was treated very differently compared to men who had been in the same position. The more you read about how her situation was handled by the company, the less respect you’ll have for this Jesus-loving group:

“During this leave of absence, plaintiff followed each and every requirement of the Separation and Divorcing Staff Policy including counseling sessions and continuing communication with her supervisors as to her progress.”

During the absence, [IVCF's regional director of the Great Lakes Region Fred] Bailey and [Ohio Valley Division director Marc] Papai contacted her husband, David Riemer, to discuss the marriage — without Conlon’s knowledge, the lawsuit said.

Papai also provided a “Staff only confidential policy” to the husband, then he and Bailey asked him to write a letter about their marriage. They also ordered Conlon to see a counselor of her husband’s choice, the lawsuit said.

Meanwhile, the lawsuit contends, two men who also went through divorces still have their IVCF jobs:

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Today Marks the Release of a Comic Book Series Featuring Atheist Superheroes Battling Supernatural Threats

For the comic book fans out there, today is the publication date of the first issue in the four-part series S.H.O.O.T. First by Justin Aclin with illustrations by Nicolás Daniel Selma:

The title will center around a group of hardcore atheists who protect mankind from the supernatural threats that they do not believe in.

“It’s about a team called the Secular Humanist Occult Obliteration Taskforce, who use the power of their own disbelief (as filtered through sci-fi weaponry) to protect humanity from supernatural creatures that seek to do us harm,” Aclin told Parallel Worlds.

“But for S.H.O.O.T., that means demons, angels and everything in between.”

The team dismiss all the manifestations of ghouls and monsters as ‘Outside Actors’ — extra-dimensional attempts to manipulate mankind’s primal fears.

It’s actually a very fascinating approach to the atheist conversation. We’ve said for a long time that doubt is the enemy of faith, that critical thinking can vanquish religious beliefs, and this graphic novel puts those ideas right at the center of a superhero-genre story:

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Boston Atheists Tell Oprah to Stop Relabeling Atheists

After seeing the incredibly awkward interview between Oprah Winfrey and marathon swimmer and atheist Diana Nyad, in which Winfrey implied that Nyad wasn’t really an atheist because she found awe and beauty in the world around her, the Boston Atheists (an affiliate of American Atheists) are calling for an apology:

In response to Oprah Winfrey’s biased comments against atheists in an October 2013 interview, the Boston Atheists are asking for support in asking her for an apology and some gesture of acknowledgment and affirmation toward the secular community. Whether that means inviting she invites [group President] Josiah D Van Vliet on camera for a sit-down on camera to talk about atheist community organizing, or about how atheists can listen to and understand and appreciate music, depends entirely on how much noise we can make about this!

I doubt that Oprah’s going to invite an atheist on her show just because we’re upset about something she said, but offering an apology to Nyad, on her show or on her website or even on Twitter, would at least be a gesture in the right direction.

To that end, the group has created a number of highly-sharable images that you’re welcome to spread through your social media networks:



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