Freethought Today · May 2014

Published by the Freedom From Religion Foundation, Inc.

Overheard

The tendency to promote the majority faith is strong, and the court’s decision could be taken by some as an invitation to do only the minimum to respect other beliefs. And that’s too bad, because such practices honor neither the Constitution nor the Golden Rule.

USA Today editorial board, disagreeing with the Supreme Court’s 5-4 decision in Town of Greece v. Galloway that allows sectarian prayer

USA Today, 5-5-14

 

The East [High School] students I talked to couldn’t be distracted from homework any longer, and this “nontroversy” did not interest them. But one of my anonymous sources had this to offer: “It’s not about patriotism; it’s about religion.”

Reporter Catherine Capellaro on two students who allegedly substituted “peace” for “God” while saying the Pledge of Allegiance over the intercom in Madison, Wis.

Isthmus, 5-2-14

 

For many years the country had quieted down after the initial shock of the ruling . . . and people agreed [separation of church and state] was a good thing and went on with their lives. Somehow, with the rise of the Religious Right and evangelical Christians, the issue has bubbled back to the surface in a real way — a threatening way, in my opinion.

Ellery Schempp, plaintiff in Abington Township v. Schempp, in which the Supreme Court in 1963 banned prayers and bible reading in public schools

Rochester Democrat & Chronicle, 4-7-14

 

For a lot of people, religion is the little lie that people believe so they can believe the big lie of justice, mercy and fairness.

Chris Kluwe, agnostic and former Minnesota Vikings punter, who was basically forced out of pro football for supporting marriage equality

Salt Lake Tribune, 4-19-14

 

Rather than wrestling with ways to make the invocations meet the letter of the law, we strongly urge the council to discontinue the spoken invocations.

Newspaper editorial, “Dropping public prayer was right call,” on settlement of a lawsuit in FFRF’s favor against the city council in Pismo Beach, Calif.

San Luis Obispo Tribune, 4-18-14

 

Readers of The Blade come from many faiths and no faith. Atheism is one element in religious orientation, and it shouldn’t be ignored just because atheists say there is no God.

TK Barger, religion editor, defending a news feature on Camp Quest, “Readers criticize religion page story on atheist camp”

Toledo Blade, 3-30-14

 

Some of us feel some of these televangelists have taken advantage of the fact that churches have little regulation by government and few reporting requirements.

Paul Streckfus, tax attorney and editor of the Exempt Organization Tax Journal, “Can a Television Network Be a Church? The IRS Says Yes”

National Public Radio, 4-1-14

 

This is an attempt to reclaim a word [atheist] that has been turned negative.

Julia Bruce, president, Harvard College Humanists, Agnostics and Atheists, on “Atheist Coming Out Week”

Harvard Crimson, 4-2-14

 

The simple fact of the matter is that prayer belongs in churches and in homes. It does not belong in government meetings. Perhaps the Christians will show a little charity to those of us who don’t agree with their views and separate their beliefs from the government business at hand.

Roy Birk, Glen Burnie, Md., letter to the editor, “An atheist’s view of public prayer”

Baltimore Sun, 4-13-14

 

I just had to keep my mouth shut about being an atheist at those meetings. I felt dumped on when I mentioned it. Like I wasn’t really a member of their club.

George S., participant in one of two secular 12-step programs delisted by Alcoholics Anonymous for being God-free in Vancouver, B.C.

Vancouver Sun, 4-3-14

 

I know his beliefs. When he ran one of his commercials he said, “I need your prayers” and I asked, “When did you get religious?” He said, “When I needed votes.” He broke out the religious card, and he’s about the most nonreligious person I know.

Heath Peacock, on U.S. Rep. Vance McAllister, R-La., who was caught on tape passionately kissing Peacock’s wife, a staffer for McAllister, who is married with five children

CNN, 4-8-14

 

I want us to be a community that really gives back. I don’t want it to be just a big Sunday party, I also want it to be something outside of that.

Helen Stringer, atheist executive director of Kansas City Oasis, a freethought group that features live music and discussions every Sunday

Religion News Service, 4-11-14

 

The human wreckage he leaves behind him gets to file out of court. Where’s their rehabilitation program?

Australian Judge Frank Gucciardo, on the victims of serial predator priest Frank Klep who walked out of Klep’s presentencing after he was convicted of molesting 15 schoolboys from 1973-84

Sydney Morning Herald, 4-3-14

 

On the issue of religious symbols on public property, Gaylord Dean Smith of Wisconsin wrote: “I strongly believe that religious freedom should be protected under the First Amendment, but I don’t think that includes allowing religious symbols on government property. Violation of the separation of church and state is a slippery slope. The Mount Soledad cross has been a bone of contention for many years and constitutional litigation often takes many years. I hope that the cross is removed (not blown up) and moved to welcoming private property, where it belongs.” 

Reader comment on “Crosses Spark a Constitutional Fight”

Wall Street Journal, 4-15-14

 

When the song ends, the congregation sits. [Pastor Mike] Will prays, then begins his children’s sermon, even though not one of the dozen in church this particular Sunday is younger than 50. Will, 53, is almost always the youngest in the room. “That doesn’t mean that the children aren’t here,” he tells them. “They’re just not easy to see. We all have a child inside of us.”

News story, “Columbia pastor balances two Sturgeon churches with declining memberships”

Columbia Missourian, 4-18-14

 

What happens when a student asks, “Wait, how is salvation supposed to work? God came to Earth to sacrifice himself — to himself — to save humanity from being punished — by himself?” Pity the teachers stuck in this impossible spot. 

Scott Rhode, Alaska radio news anchor/reporter, “Teaching the Bible: Careful What You Pray For”

650keni.com, 4-24-14

 

In a historic match-up of papacies past and present, Pope Francis and emeritus Pope Benedict XVI will honor Popes John XXIII and John Paul II in the first-ever canonization of two popes.

Associated Press news story

Time.com, 4-26-14

 

A young man has been fatally crushed after a statue erected in honor of Pope John Paul II in northern Italy fell on top of him. Marco Gusmini, 21, died instantly and a second man was taken to hospital after the 100-foot sculpture fell on top of him.

News story, “Pope statue collapse called bad omen”

Irish Times, 4-25-14

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