I like to say thanks to God and the glaciers.
Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, on the state’s abundant deposits of coarse-grained “fracking” sand in demand worldwide
Capital Times, 10-10-13
The people of this state need a candidate who can clearly and unapologetically articulate Biblical values without fear or compromise. They need a candidate who will tell the simple truth that abortion is murder, and homosexuality is condemned by God (but that Jesus forgives and heals those who repent).
Press release from “kill the gays” Pastor Scott Lively, proclaiming “humanism breeds corruption” and announcing his run for governor of Massachusetts
Scott Lively Ministries, 9-30-13
Pray that conservatives in the House and Senate will not succumb to a godless compromise and that the Senate will not try the “nuclear option” (change Senate rules to require just 51 not 60 votes to end a filibuster and force a vote). Pray that the American people will wake up and demand that their senators defer implementation of Obamacare and find a responsible compromise on the continuing resolution and debt ceiling.
Plea to the Family Research Council’s “prayer team”
Holly and I made a decision to build a house. It’s a big house. It’s a beautiful house. It’s 8,400 square feet of heated living area to be exact. That’s a big house, no doubt about it.
Steven Furlick, pastor of Elevation Church, Charlotte, NC, addressing news reports about the couple’s $1.7 million home, which totals 16,000 square feet in all
Charlotte Observer, 10-27-13
The Constitution would not have been written by Freemasons. They go against God. . . . You cannot serve two masters. You cannot serve two masters. Praise be to God. Lord Jesus Christ.
Dianne Reidy, U.S. House stenographer, shouting from the dais during a vote on whether to end the government shutdown
For the past 2 and ½ weeks, the Holy Spirit has been waking me up in the middle of the night and preparing me (through my reluctance and doubt) to deliver a message in the House Chamber. That is what I did.
Dianne Reidy, email to Fox News host Greta Van Susteren
Washington Time, 10-18-13
The priest who does not pray cannot live chastity, which is a gift from God. He should live obedience and poverty. In these days, one has to be more and more careful, because we are like sheep among the wolves.
Cardinal Juan Luis Cipriani, archbishop of Lima, on recent clerical scandals in Peru
National Catholic Register, 10-17-13
O.J. is very religious now, and he’s been counseling other inmates with bible studies for months. When I talk to him on the phone, all he wants to discuss is religion. He’s obsessed!
O.J. Simpson associate Norman Pardo, who says the 66-year-old, eligible for parole in 2017, wants to launch a worldwide crusade called “Holy Safari!”
National Enquirer, 10-17-13
Rules grow like barnacles on a ship: They’re easy to pick up and hard to remove, and they really slow us down. The writ of Sarbanes and Oxley wounded the entrepreneurs in ways that only decades can heal. Consider abolishing some rules every now and then, as a sign of your love for your people.
Forbes contributor Todd Hixon, “An Entrepreneur’s Prayer For Better Government”
I don’t want to support lesbianism, I don’t want to support Planned Parenthood, and I don’t want to support abortion. And if that be the case, I’m not buying Girl Scout cookies.
Radio host Kevin Swanson, also a teaching elder at Reformation Church, which meets at Clear Sky Elementary School in Castle Rock, Colo.
New York Daily News, 10-22-13
God will help us. That is our prayer.
Duraimony Dickson, pastor of Houston Tamil Church near Rosharon, Texas, on a fire of unknown origin which destroyed the church
We don’t cater to you people.
Comment allegedly made by a Hobby Lobby employee in Marlboro, N.J., to a customer asking why the store doesn’t stock bar mitzvah cards
Hopelessly Partisan blog, 9-27-13
They do not value children the same way that you do. You cannot bring a child into this world with someone who does not value the child as God does and as you do.
Mark Driscoll, pastor of Mars Hill Church in Seattle, reason No. 3 of “9 reasons to not marry someone who’s pro-choice”
If I go to my service tonight and God moves on me, and I mean the Holy Ghost anoints that place and you got people shouting, you got people getting saved, people getting healed, delivered and God moves on me to pull out a four-and-a-half-foot rattlesnake and it lays fangs into me, if I’m anointed by God, that snake is not going to harm me. I don’t care if it bites me 20 times, there’ll be no harm.
Pastor Andrew Hamblin of Tabernacle Church of God in LaFollette, Tenn., on “Snake Salvation”
Christian Post, 10-23-13
It was staggering to me that thereâ€™s the statistics that were thrown out about the number of people in this world who are not familiar with Jesus Christ and the Gospel, and the numbers were really, really something that I would have never guessed in this day and age that it would be that way.
Mayor Robert Willey, Easton, Md., speaking at the 31st annual Mayorâ€™s Prayer Breakfast at the Tidewater Inn
Star Democrat, 10-28-13
Jesus died for our freedom. And Jesus destroyed Satan so that we could be free, and that is manifested in what is called the Constitution of the United States. God created this nation and God created the Constitution. It is written on biblical principles.
Former U.S. Rep. Tom DeLay, R-Texas, interview with Pastor John Hagee
Global Evangelism Television, 10-20-13
I’m not religious in terms of believing in organized religion. If you look at the genocide that happened in the witch hunts and the killing of women, it was about wiping out female power.
Actress Julia Ormond, who plays a witch in Lifetime’s new series “The Witches of East End”
MCT News Service, 10-4-13
Secularism and excellence in moral reasoning are what’s necessary for a high standard of human rights. So today at the dinner table, ask your kids where their rights come from. I have rights, you know. Really!? From where? Push them! Teach them a lesson! Because if you don’t push them now, they’ll be pushed, shoved and shot by religious fanatics later.
“Atheist in Wheaton” [Ill.] James Kirk Wall
Ghana’s economic productivity is under threat because workers are spending too much time at all-night church services, according to a senior cleric.
News story quoting Rev. Frimpong Manso, head of the Assemblies of God Church in Ghana, where two-thirds of the population is Christian
The Guardian, 10-28-13
If you believe that the world is only 6,000 years old, as some of these people do, given that the true age of the Earth is 4.6 billion years, it’s equivalent to believing the width of North America is 8 yards.
Biologist Richard Dawkins
“Real Time With Bill Maher,” 10-25-13
I was once Christian. But I sincerely considered the matter and found no evidence to support faith. I then decided to change for a more positive and healthy perspective on life, love and compassion. As I moved away from religion, I found both peace and a lot of good, similarly minded people. So if some think I’m going to hell, I’ll probably be in better company than those who would condemn me for this.
Ricky D. Smith, Danville, Ky., letter to the editor
[If] I were a coach, even a Christian one, I would not want team prayers at all. That’s because it’s no better for team-building than it is for nation-building, which our founders wisely recognized. And that’s because, obviously, you exclude every player who doesn’t believe in the prayer leader’s god, or doesn’t believe in any god, or is just smart enough to see the folly of praying to a peaceful god when playing a game as violent as football.
Columnist Dan DeWitt, an atheist, on a Florida school superintendent’s memo asking coaches to not lead prayers
Tampa Bay Times, 10-8-13
Sing “The Star-Spangled Banner” or do something else to make it a grand occasion. Don’t appropriate religion for that purpose. Keep religion separate and special and have the sphere of government be religion-free so that everyone feels equally included. I think that is the American tradition.
Ann Althouse, University of Wisconsin-Madison law professor, arguing against prayer at events such as graduations
Wisconsin State Journal, 10-6-13
I’m suggesting we take holy books out of the process. Instead, people will have to show they understand they could be sent to prison if they don’t tell the truth.
Ian Abrahams, Bristol, UK, on a Magistrates’ Association proposal to stop having witnesses swear on the bible in court
Charisma News, 10-14-13
She called me a filthy little liar and gave me a big dose of castor oil. I couldn’t keep it down — threw up.
Witness in the trial of Fr. Finian Egan, alleging a nun disciplined her for reporting Egan molested her when she was 10
Sydney Morning Herald, 10-14-13
I can stand at the beach’s edge with the most devout Christian, Jew, Buddhist, go on down the line, and weep with the beauty of this universe and be moved by all of humanity, all the billions of people who lived before us, who have loved and hurt and suffered. To me, my definition of God is humanity and is the love of humanity.
Endurance swimmer Diana Nyad, 64, telling host Oprah Winfrey that she’s an atheist
“Super Soul Sunday,” 10-13-13
Doesn’t it just plain suck that the Old Testament isn’t cool anymore? The book’s got everything: genocide, incest, and even talking donkeys! That’s why David Tuchman has taken it upon himself to rehabilitate the text as OMGWTFBIBLE.
From comedian David Tuchman’s “new take on the Old Testament,” recorded live in New York City the third Monday of every month and available by podcast
Tablet Magazine, 10-14-13
I’m quite sure a Christian would not be happy if the town meeting began by everybody announcing how thankful they were we’ve finally learned there is no God. One could say it’s just teaching Christians to be tolerant of atheists, but nobody would or should take that seriously.
Arnold Loewy, Texas Tech University law professor, arguing that government meetings shouldn’t start with prayer
Lubbock Avalanche-Journal, 10-20-13
Archbishop Michalik’s words make us feel fear and revulsion.
Ewa Orlowska, victim of a Polish pedophile priest, on Archbishop Jozef Michalik’s comment that a troubled child “seeks closeness with others and may get lost and may get the other person involved, too.”
Associated Press, 10-22-13
We’re pretty sure all babies are born atheists and, rather than commit them to some religion before they’re old enough to have a say (let alone control their pooping functions), we’d rather celebrate their undoubted belief in Mummy and Daddy.
Kickstarter promotion for baby shoes by Atheist Shoe Co. in Berlin
It’s time for the atheist movement to get off the political sidelines. It’s time to truly help this country become a better place to live for all its citizens. The recent Values Voter Summit demonstrated that the likely 2016 GOP frontrunners and its base wish to transform America’s secular state into a tyrannical theocracy — a nirvana absent gays, liberals, immigrants, Muslims and science books. If the atheist movement doesn’t evolve into a politically agitated, unified and mobilized Secular Left, then the Christian Right might just get its way.
CJ Werleman, author of Crucifying America and God Hates You. Hate Him Back.
Gay marriage, pot, religion’s the next one to fall.
Entertainer Bill Maher
“Real Time With Bill Maher,” 10-25-13
[A Catholic] professor once asked me, “When I talk about God, I mean love and justice and reconciliation, not a man in the sky. You talk about love and justice and reconciliation. Why can’t you just call that God?” I replied, “Why must you call that God? Why not just call it what it is: love and justice and reconciliation?”
Chris Stedman, assistant humanist chaplain at Harvard University
Sky News reports today that in Britain, increasing numbers of prison inmates are being bullied into converting to Islam. The Prison Officers Association says this is a result of the growing influence of Muslim gangs in British prisons. Some victims have been terrorized by the gangs. But there is also concern that some of the converts could become radicalized. 13% of Britain’s prison population is Muslim.
Blog synopsis of growing British prison problem
Religion Clause, 10-20-13
[Barack Obama] believes government is your God.
Rev. Rafael Cruz, Purifying Fire Ministries pastor and father of Texas Sen. Ted Cruz, speaking at a National Federation Of Republican Assemblies prayer breakfast
In your lifetime, much of your potential, or lack thereof, can be known simply by swabbing the inside of your cheek. Are we prepared to select out the imperfect among us?
Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., warning a packed house at the late Rev. Jerry Falwell’s Liberty University in Virginia that scientific advancements will lead to eugenics and more abortions
Associated Press, 10-28-13
The Freedom from Religion Foundation and the American Civil Liberties Union of Ohio have settled a lawsuit against the Jackson City School District in Jackson, Ohio, with the district agreeing not to continue to display a portrait of Jesus.
FFRF Senior Staff Attorney Rebecca Markert wrote a Jan. 2 letter of complaint on behalf of parents with students at the school, provoking Superintendent Phil Howard to publicly vow that the “Head of Christ” painting would only be removed by court order.
That order came in October in the form of a consent decree mandating that the portrait be permanently removed from school property. Parties agreed to a financial settlement requiring the school to pay the plaintiffs a combination of damages and legal fees totaling $95,000. FFRF’s share of the legal fees was $7,500.
“We’re pleased that the plaintiffs — parents and students — whose identities will be protected, will each receive $3,000 in claims and damages,” said FFRF Co-President Annie Laurie Gaylor. “It’s just and appropriate that students and parents who risk public exposure amid threats of retaliation for speaking up for the First Amendment should receive damages and that public school officials who violate the First Amendment be held accountable.”
The portrait was posted prominently in Jackson Middle School but was later moved to the high school after the ACLU and FFRF filed the lawsuit. The school tried to argue that the portrait was part of a “limited public forum,” but eventually agreed in court to remove it from the school, reportedly to avoid “risking taxpayer money.”
The school district worked with an upstart Texas Religious Right group, the Liberty Institute, that proclaims at its website: “We have never lost a case to the ACLU, [or] Freedom From Religion Foundation.” (This was FFRF’s first case in which the Liberty Institute had interceded.)
Negotiations were stalled when it was discovered that the portrait had never actually been removed from the school. It had been moved to an art closet and was “resurrected” for a prayer meeting on the school lawn, which was attended by school faculty and administrators on the National Day of Prayer last May.
This violation of the court agreement prompted another round of legal filings by both sides, delaying the settlement and increasing legal fees, all of which, as the ACLU of Ohio pointed out, was unnecessary. FFRF received a small portion of the legal fees payment.
The case was before Judge Algenon L. Marbley, U.S. District Court in the Southern District of Ohio.
The Freedom From Religion Foundation filed a lawsuit Nov. 1 in California state court against the city of Pismo Beach, challenging prayers at city council meetings and the city chaplaincy post.
The U.S. Supreme Court heard oral arguments Nov. 6 in a related and closely watched case involving a challenge by two plaintiffs to Christian prayer by the town of Greece, N.Y. The plaintiffs are women, one atheist and one Jewish, who are seeking to invoke protections under the U.S. Constitution.
FFRF’s new lawsuit invokes only the California Constitution’s No Preference and Establishment Clauses, as well as a civil rights provision. Regardless of how the Supreme Court decides the Greece case, FFRF’s case can proceed, and could carve out protections against government prayer for all citizens in the country’s most populated state.
Plaintiffs are FFRF, which has about 2,800 California members, and local FFRF member, Dr. Sari Dworkin, who is also a member of Atheists United of San Luis Obispo, which brought the First Amendment violation to FFRF’s attention. AUSLO and FFRF have been preparing the suit for more than a year.
Dworkin, who identifies as “an atheist Jew,” was surprised to encounter the council’s Christian prayers, which “cause her to feel offended, disenfranchised, and intimidated about participating in her own government.”
Pismo Beach established an official city chaplaincy in 2005, appointing a Pentecostal preacher, Rev. Paul Jones. He’s affiliated with the International Church of the Foursquare Gospel, which emphasizes “speaking in tongues” (although he has refrained from doing that during city council prayers). Jones delivered 112 of the 126 prayers scheduled by the council between Jan. 1, 2008, and Oct. 15, 2013. All but one of the 126 prayers were addressed to the Christian god.
In virtually every city prayer, Jones pressured citizens and the council to live a Christian lifestyle, to vote for “righteous” leaders and to make decisions that honor Jones’ particular god. The board meets twice a month.
At least 54 of the prayers contained a “Christianized” view of history. FFRF’s legal complaint documents several egregious examples, including Jones’ claim that:
• The Constitutional Convention approved a prayer motion (there was no such prayer).
• James Madison said our government was based on the Ten Commandments (he did not).
• George Washington claimed it was impossible to govern without the bible (fabricated quote).
• James Madison read from the bible at the Constitutional Convention (untrue).
FFRF seeks a declaration that the prayers violate the California Constitution. The complaint also alleges that the prayers violate California civil rights laws by coercing and forcing citizens to undergo Christian worship if they wish to participate in their government. FFRF is also challenging the establishment of a city chaplaincy.
FFRF thanks Dworkin, attorney Pamela Koslyn for taking the case pro bono, FFRF Staff Attorney Andrew Seidel, AUSLO for its support and AUSLO members for prayer transcription.