Oh, the Irony

Todd Starnes, of Fox News. has a story of a school discriminating against a group of students that want to form a Christian club at their school called Students United In Faith (SUIF).  The school in question is Ward Melville High School, part of the Three Village Central School District on Long Island New York.

SUIF was denied the ability to form a club last year and the school was threatened with a lawsuit by Liberty Institute, “a law firm specializing in religious liberty cases.”  Starnes reports that Superintendent Cheryl Pedisich reversed the ban after an investigation.  She said the reason for rejection was inaccurately conveyed.

Again, this year, the school denied SUIF a club at the school.  John Raney, the founder of SUIF, told Starnes-

“I feel like they have something against me and my faith.  I feel marginalized.”

Starnes writes, “Nearly 20 young people wanted to join the club – but the school said no.” The story says the SUIF club is being refused support from the school due to their Christian faith.

When Starnes contacted the school they sent a prepared statement to him.  The statement said-

The religious club called Students United in Faith was denied because contractual guidelines regarding minimum participation (20 students) in student co–curricular programs was not met, nor did Ward Melville High School have the financial means to fund this program. The district does not have a practice of discrimination of any kind. We embrace our diverse school community and strive to maintain an environment that promotes tolerance, understanding and respect for all.

So, the truth is not that the school is discriminating against Christians, it’s just that the number of students that want to form the club does not meet the minimum number of 20 that the school’s contractual guidelines mandates.  This 20 member guideline is confirmed on another story on newsday.com.

This year, after the school district denied the SUIF group from being a school club once more, Liberty Institute again threatened a lawsuit based on religious discrimination.  This is based on the fact that the school allows other student clubs but has tried to deny the SUIF club which the Liberty Institute says violates the Equal Access Act.  That act requires all groups be treated the same.   It doesn’t seem to matter to the Liberty Institute, SUIF, or Todd Starnes, that the club does not have the required number of students in order to qualify for a club.

Of course, the school district caved and is allowing SUIF to form a club even though they are short a few students from complying with the guideline.

The ironic part comes in when Starnes writes this about the school district-

It seems to me they’re just engaged in a bit of bullying and intimidation.

It seems to me that the bullies here are the students of SUIF and the lawyers of Liberty Institute who are bullying the school into going against contractual guidelines in order to give the “nearly 20” persecuted Christians a school club when they don’t meet the minimum number of members.  This club is not being treated like other clubs, they are being allowed to form without the required number of students.  Sounds like special privilege instead of religious discrimination.

The intimidation comes in the form of a federal lawsuit staring the school district in the face.  The district must have decided it is less expensive to give into the demands of Liberty Institute and the SUIF students than it is to fight this out in court.

Who are the bullies again Todd?

The Bad News about the Good News Club

Scott Burdick has released a new video on Youtube on a group called The Good News Club that is trying to spread Evangelical Christianity in our public schools.

 

Sophia Investigates The Good News Club

 This club has the backing of the Supreme Court who, in a 6 to 3 decision, said the club has the right to meet in public schools after hours.

The issue is that the leaders of these meetings are teaching the kids who attend to push their beliefs onto their classmates during the school day when your kids are required to be there. 

If you are an atheist parent, your child is being converted to fundamentalist Christianity by their classmates. This can be going on without your permission, or even knowledge. If your school district has one of these clubs, you should understand what is going on at your child’s school.

In God we Trust “Mandatory”

What does it say of the Religious right, when they are so scared that someone might not love their God, or believe in him that it must be plastered on the currency, walls, and not license plates of America?  I drew a bit of criticism from people on the right when I posted about Ohio’s Latest attempt to place “Through God All things are Possible” on our new license plate designs due out soon.  (Surprised?)  Their arguments ranged from ‘this isn’t specific to any one god’ to ‘if you don’t like it go back to Russia you commie”..     However a Georgia bill would now make a variation of the idea, a plate that says ‘One Nation under God” mandatory — but you can pay extra to cover it up. The Secular News Daily reports:

 

 

 

A new bill pre-filed in the Georgia General Assembly this month would not only allow drivers to obtain license plates reading “In God We Trust,” but would in fact require them on all vehicles – unless drivers pay to cover it up. Georgia SB 293 would amend current law to mandate that, starting next summer, all plates would be imprinted with the religious declaration. If someone does not wish to exhibit this statement of faith, they would be required to purchase a sticker from the state displaying the name of their county that could be used to cover “In God We Trust.”

The bill text currently available on the legislature’s website really drives home the dramatic change in attitudes by the Assembly, as you can clearly see what has been crossed out and changed. While displaying the county name is the current “default” choice for Georgia drivers and alternatively they may purchase an “In God We Trust” sticker, this bill would directly swap the two, making the religious motto the routine option.

Mandating that individuals pay money to the government in order to not flaunt religious views is absolutely ridiculous. As the website Georgia Politico aptly puts it, “In other words, if you feel the government should not be establishing a religion, you are going to have to pay to prove it.”

In a recent back and forth with a subject who’s screen name is ironically “Exposerofmorons” he issued a challenge to the secularist

Exposerofmorons – I’d like to see clear, irrefutable proof of your assertions that anyone in any official capacity is trying to pervert the Constitution towards any religion. And also, that anyone is trying to create “state” religions.

Well after providing what I feel was ample evidence there, Georgia doesn’t let me down, but giving me yet another example of how the Religious Right is attempting to blur the line between the separation of  Church and State.

 

GOP Presidential Hopefuls Seek to Instill Christian Nation

One name keeps coming up when “Christian Nation” is spoken in reference to todays GOP presidential hopefuls. That Name is David Barton. David Barton believes that the founding fathers established this nation as a Christian Nation and has twisted history in an effort to prove it.

Newt GingrichMichele Bachmann, and Mike Huckabee all point to David Barton, describing him as the greatest historian of our time. David Barton claims that the founding fathers meant for America to be a Christian Nation and that our government should return to biblical principles.

Mike Huckabee at the Rediscover God In America conference, stated that every American should be forced to learn from David Barton, at gunpoint, if necessary.

Additional information on David Barton can be found here: slaveryhere, and here.

While no references to Herman Cain have been found in relation to David Barton in my search he has stated that everything should be based on biblical principles.

David Barton promotes a “Christian Nation”, at least 3 of the presidential candidates for the GOP point to him as their historian of choice, exclaiming that he is the greatest historian of our time. This is adequate as proof that the GOP candidates desire to establish this country as a “Christian Nation”. In reality this means that these candidates would not serve the people, but instead, would serve what they see as a higher authority. In essence, the Christian religion, church, would be in charge of national and international policy.
Drenn

Freethinker’s Corner

O- H- I- O— Oh God, not again.

Several months ago with the help of Hemant Metha over at the Friendly Atheist the  Atheist community helped us defeat a new voting sticker in Ohio that would have acknowledged God on that sticker..

Well here in Ohio the Administration is at it again, changing our License Plate design.  They have offered 59 pre-set slogans and the ability to do a custom slogan.  One of the pre-set slogans is “With God all things are possible”.

 

The final selections will appear as part of the background of the plate.

So take a second and pop over to the website and vote!  You can vote 10 times every 24 hours.  Here at MOA we will be voting for Beautiful Ohio, and I encourage you to join us, or make up your own!

https://ext.dps.state.oh.us/BMVOnlineServices.Public/NewPlateSloganVote.aspx

Michigan Bullying law

It’s been almost two weeks since the Michigan State Senate passed an anti-bullying bill with language that essentially protected religiously-motivated bullies or others with a “sincerely held…moral conviction.”

Now they’ve changed their mind and after weeks of outrage have decided that bullying is bad for all.

However this kind of legislation should not be forgotten.  While this is a momentary victory against the continual onslaught of the religious right and their attempt to erode the separation of church and state, their war on personal freedoms is far from over.

This led me to considering what other religiously motivated hatred may have been protected in Michigan had this law stood.

Kill Fortunetellers

A man or a woman who acts as a medium or fortuneteller shall be put to death by stoning; they have no one but themselves to blame for their death.  (Leviticus 20:27 NAB)

This makes it extremely dangerous for all you new age types out there.  As long as its a “sincerely held…moral conviction.”  Under the Michigan law they would have essentially given a loop hole to anyone who wanted to commit murder based on Biblical mandates.

So who could you have  killed and gotten away with it in Michigan had this law stood?

  1. Kill People Who Don’t Listen to Priests (Deuteronomy 17:12 NLT)
  2. Kill Witches  (Exodus 22:17 NAB)
  3. Kill Homosexuals (Leviticus 20:13 NAB)
  4. Kill Fortunetellers (Leviticus 20:27 NAB)
  5. Death for Hitting Dad (Exodus 21:15 NAB)
  6. Death for Cursing Parents  (Proverbs 20:20 NAB) and Leviticus 20:9 NLT)
  7. Death for Adultery  (Leviticus 20:10 NLT)
  8. Death for Fornication (Leviticus 21:9 NAB)
  9. Death to Followers of Other Religions (Exodus 22:19 NAB)
  10. Kill Nonbelievers  (2 Chronicles 15:12-13 NAB)
  11. Kill False Prophets (Zechariah 13:3 NAB)
  12. Kill the Entire Town if One Person Worships Another God (Deuteronomy 13:13-19 NLT)
  13. Kill Women Who Are Not Virgins On Their Wedding Night (Deuteronomy  22:20-21 NAB)
  14. Kill Followers of Other Religions (Deuteronomy 13:7-12 NAB)
  15. Death for Blasphemy (Leviticus 24:10-16 NLT)
  16. Kill False Prophets (Deuteronomy 13:1-5 NLT)
  17. Infidels and Gays Should Die (Romans 1:24-32 NLT)
  18. Kill Anyone who Approaches the Tabernacle (Numbers 1:48-51 NLT)
  19. Kill People for Working on the Sabbath (Exodus 31:12-15 NLT)

And many more…

Now many Christians will criticize me because the list above comes from the old testament, and people will defend the evils of the old testament and laws of Moses and remind me that with the death of Jesus Christians entered the new covenant.  The following is part of an email exchange I had with a new testament Christian in regards to much of the hate preached in Leviticus.
Even if we consider that morality was a factor in these rules, it is part of the Code, and when the Code became obsolete, as it is under Christ, that rule, as part of the Code, became obsolete. These verses in Old Testament have nothing to say to us today beyond the eternal principle of the need for purity in the worship of God.

With that in mind many Christians comfortably ignore the evils of the old testament.

However not everyone is willing to disregard the old testament, at lest not all of it.  Most all everyone who wants to justify their hatred of Homosexuals will jump right to quoting Leviticus.  These Christians are quick to point out that Jesus orders Christians to follow the Law of Moses in the Old Testament:  “Do not think that I [Jesus] have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them.  I tell you the truth, until heaven and earth disappear, not the smallest letter, not the least stroke or a pen, will by any means disappear from the Law until everything is accomplished.  (Matthew 5:17-18)” 

How ever they are more than happy to ignore the list of sanctioned killing also ordered in the Old Testament.

So where dose this leave us?  Smack dab in the middle of a ‘no true Scotsman’ fallacy.  Where both Christian sides of this argument will accuse the other of not being a ‘true’ Christian and misunderstanding the true intentions of the Bible.

 

 

The DeWeese farce is over. Or is it?

Richland County Common Pleas Court Judge James DeWeese has been trying to hang a religious poster in the Richland County Courthouse for over ten years now.  He first started with a poster of the Ten Commandments in 2000.   The ACLU filed suit on behalf of a local attorney and won in Federal Court. DeWeese removed the poster, only to replace it with another one a short time later.  The second poster also had the Ten Commandments and was even more egregious than the first in that it also stated the Judge’s personal religious beliefs.    The ACLU tried to get the judge on contempt of court charges but the court said the poster was not the same one he was ordered to remove.

This meant the ACLU had to start over with a new lawsuit to have the second poster removed.  Eventually, DeWeese was ordered to not display the second one two years ago, in October 2009.  He appealed that decision and finally, after all Federal Courts that heard this case sided with the ACLU, on Monday, October 3rd, the U.S. Supreme Court refused to hear the case.  This lets the original ruling stand, that DeWeese cannot display the poster.

Notice the order was to “not display” the poster.  The order does not say to remove the poster.  So, just like a petulant child, DeWeese kept the poster on the wall of the courtroom where he presides.   He just covered it with a cloth and attached a sign that says “Censored”.  Even after the Supreme Court didn’t think his appeal was worth hearing, DeWeese was quoted saying, “I will probably eventually take the display down.”

What does ‘probably’ mean?  Does it mean there is a chance that the poster will remain on the courtroom wall?  What does ‘eventually’ mean?  Does it mean the poster will stay up long term, as in- until DeWeese is no longer the judge?

This farce has gone on too long.  Judge DeWeese has received his answer from his appeals; that his religious display has no place in the people’s courtroom.  This is no different from the answer he received after displaying the first poster.

On behalf of the members of Mid Ohio Atheists, I ask Judge DeWeese to remove your unconstitutional poster from off the wall of the people’s courtroom, and don’t replace it with another one.  Higher courts have decided against you multiple times.  I think you should follow their orders, just as you expect the people who appear before you to follow yours.

Ron Stephens
President
Mid Ohio Atheists

http://tinyurl.com/6db2l8a

The Separation of Church and State

Secularism:

1. Religious skepticism or indifference.

2. The view that religious considerations should be excluded from civil affairs or public education.

A lot of Christians feel that if the Government is secular that it is atheist. This simply is not the case. Whenever someone makes the assertion that the Church and State must remain separate and secular, they are simply saying in effect, that the state must remain separate and neutral from religion.

Our founding fathers came to America to escape the religious tyranny in Europe. In the United Kingdom the church ruled supreme, oppressing any contrary religious beliefs.

In an effort to ensure that everyone would enjoy complete religious freedom, free from oppression, it was decided to declare the government and religion separate entities. The government was not to take part in the establishment of any religion and to refrain from interference in the practice thereof.

Immediately Christians began a crusade that has lasted to this day of attempts to foil this concept of “Separation of Church and State”.

Numerous attempts to make tax monies available for religious use have occurred. No sooner has one attempt been foiled than another is discovered. These blatant attempts having been foiled, the religious finally found another way to sneak around this prohibition. Government needs a certain amount of income to function, to supply essential services, and to run the legal system. The churches’ tax-exempt status removes it from the tax roles and sloughs the burden of taxation onto the individual citizen. In this way, everyone, religious or not, is forced to support your local church.

This entanglement of religion and state must end. No tax monies of any kind should go to religious institutions no matter how noble the purpose, no matter how desperate the need. The tax-exempt status of the church needs to be abolished to relieve the burden of the individual tax-payer. If the tax-exempt status cannot be ended, then at the very least churches should be made to account for the expenditure of every last dime of donations, just as all other non-profit entities must now. The free ride of religious institutions must end.

-Drenn

(http://drenn1077.wordpress.com/2011/09/11/the-separation-of-church-and-state/)

original post by MOA member at his personal blog 

The Revised American History

“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights”
What I always find interesting is Christians will point to the opening of the Declaration of Independence to ‘prove’ that the nations founders where Christian.  At best this proves they were Deists.  It says ‘endowed by their Creator’ which gives the population as a whole the ability to identify their ‘Creator’ that ‘endowed’ them as anyone or anything they would like.

 Personally my Creator is Evolution, by means of Natural Selection, and if that ‘endows’ me with ‘certain unalienable Rights’ then good, however I repeatedly see attempts to infringe on those Rights in respect to myself and people who share my world view.

 

“that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.” Continue reading