When I Wanted to Adopt Kids, the Agency Asked About My Religious Beliefs. What Would You Have Done?

Last week’s post by Veronica Chenik Gilmore, about her adopted children, held special significance for me.

My daughters (see below), now 11 and 9, are adopted too.

My wife and I worked through an international adoption agency, Gladney, that is at least nominally Christian, having been founded by a Methodist minister more than a hundred years ago. I wasn’t aware of this at the start, but wouldn’t have cared one way or the other. All that mattered to me was that the agency was staffed with experienced, caring, competent, and fair people. And it was. I have nothing but abundant praise for our case workers and everyone else up and down Gladney’s chain of command.

Throughout the years-long process, there was just one hiccup that had to do with religion.

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After Being Told He Couldn’t Compete, 5th Grader Wins Contest with Speech About the Harm Caused by Religion

Last week, I posted about how 5th grader Zachary Golob-Drake was planning to give a speech that could’ve earned him a spot as one of the representatives to the regional 4-H Tropicana Public Speech contest… unfortunately, the assistant principal at USF/Patel Partnership Elementary School (in Tampa, Florida) told him he would have to rewrite his speech or drop out of the contest altogether. The reason? His speech was all about the harms of religious extremism and how the Golden Rule should prevail… and it was deemed too inappropriate:

School District Spokeswoman Tanya Arja said school officials told her that the controversy wasn’t about the religious aspect.

“The concern was over the topic of mass murders,” Arja said. “Because these are 4th and 5th graders.”

Zachary made a point of saying that mass murder was wrong, but let’s be honest: He was just talking about world history. Religion has contributed to those mass murders. Why hide the fact? (You can read the speech for yourself to see how “offensive” it really isn’t.)

There’s finally some good news: Zachary was allowed to compete with his speech and he won!

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Why is Pope Francis The Advocate‘s ‘Person of the Year’?

Yesterday on my daily binge-reading of Advocate.com, the daily website of the country’s oldest LGBT newsmagazine, The Advocate, a headline caught my eye: The Advocate‘s Person of the Year: Pope Francis.” 

My heart sank and my brain nearly imploded. The leader of the most homophobic institution in the world with a “NOH8″ logo splashed on his cheek? Really?

Pope Francis was named TIME magazine’s Person of the Year last week, and that makes a little more sense to me. TIME speaks to a greater audience than The Advocate, for one. Pope Francis has undoubtedly said and done more decent things thus far in his papacy — acknowledged the worthy humanness of female convicts and LGBT folk, conjured an image of the Catholic Church as a church of healing and acceptance, etc. — than popes who came before him, and the man certainly has a lot of influence over the estimated 1,200,000,000 Catholics in the world. For TIME, that’s something worth noting. (Maybe not grand-prize-winner-something, but fine. I’m letting it go.)

But for The Advocate? Absolutely not. I’m deeply disappointed the staff felt otherwise.

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Just in Time for the Holidays, the Flying Spaghetti Monster Comes to the Wisconsin Capitol Building

It just got a little more cluttered in the Wisconsin Capitol building.

There’s already a “natural nativity scene” there thanks to the Freedom From Religion Foundation:

And FFRF also put up a couple of signs in honor of the Winter Solstice:

That’s all in addition to the Festivus pole that’s also on display.

Now, the Atheists, Humanists, and Agnostics at the University of Wisconsin–Madison are adding a display of their own to the mix: The Flying Spaghetti Monster.

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Elisabeth Hasselbeck Interviewed Creationist Ken Ham and a Black Hole of Ignorance Was Formed

On Fox News yesterday, Elisabeth Hasselbeck interviewed Creationist Ken Ham about those pesky atheists and their billboards proclaiming that people can celebrate the holidays without Jesus.



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