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Mayor Skips Prayer Breakfast

Newly-elected Mayor Kitty Piercy, of Eugene, Ore., skipped the June 3 annual Eugene-Springfield Mayors’ Prayer Breakfast out of concern for state/church separation.

Thank Mayor Piercy

City of Eugene
777 Pearl St
Eugene OR 97401

Antiabortion Bill Signed at Church

Texas Gov. Rick Perry came under heavy criticism for ostentatiously signing legislation restricting abortion rights at a conservative Christian school on Sunday, June 3. The law requires written parental consent for teenagers seeking abortion care.

Perry also signed a resolution banning gay marriage that will go before voters at Calvary Christian Academy in Fort Worth.

The ceremony” was replete with religious references. Perry condemned abortion before 1,000 people, and thanked “pro-life” and “pro-family” organizations. Perry’s office had emailed thousands of “pro-family Christian friends” an invitation. The signing, during which Perry was surrounded by more than 20 local pastors and antiabortionists, was met with shouts of “Amen!” from the audience.

Contact Gov. Perry

Rick Perry
Office of the Governor
PO Box 12428
Austin TX 78711-2428

Arkansas Promotes Creationism

An advertising supplement paid for by the state Department of Parks and Tourism in Arkansas includes a promotion of a new creationism museum.

“Located on the grounds of The Great Passion Play in Eureka Springs, the Museum of Earth History presents the biblical account of early history with high-quality, scientific exhibits displayed in a totally biblical setting,” the Parks brochure says.

“Viewers will journey through three epic periods of ancient history often overlooked by modern historians: life before the fall, the post-fall world and life after the devastating effects of the great flood described in the Book of Genesis.”

Director Richard Davies defended inclusion of the creationism museum as a bonafide tourist attraction. The department has promoted the Passion Play for years.

Write Arkansas Department

Arkansas Department of Parks & Tourism
Richard Davies, Director
One Capitol Mall
Little Rock AR 72201

Kansas Dj Vu

It’s “dj vu all over again” in notorious Kansas, which previously made itself a national laughingstock by temporarily expunging evolution from the school curriculum in 1999.

In early May, a conservative Board of Education held what critics termed “rigged” public hearings to consider teaching “intelligent design.” Science groups boycotted the hearing, in which board members also considered a redefinition of the very word “science.” Proponents claim the standards favor atheism because science is defined as the search for natural explanations.

Connie Morris, a Board member, has called evolution an “age-old fairy tale” that is defended by “anti-God contempt.”

The state Board of Education is expected to vote on proposals by August. Six of the ten publicly favor a “more critical approach” to evolution.

Write Kansas Board of Education

State Board of Education
Janet Waugh, Chair
c/o Kansas State Board of Education
120 SE 10th Ave
Topeka KS 66612

Beware “True Lies”

A Montana father’s complaint over an abstinence speaker in his child’s Bozeman High School has exposed the religious agenda of a national ministry aptly named “True Lies.”

Attorney Tom Wells, father of a ninth grader, made a formal complaint to his school board in May over the “thinly veiled ministry” and “misinformation” of speaker Tina Marie Holewinski, of Hollywood, Calif.

The school paid Holewinski $1,500 for her talk and expenses.

Also Beware “Can’t Hide” Group

A mandatory assembly for 135 middle schoolers by “You Can Run But You Can’t Hide,” containing “religious, right-wing messages,” caused concern by faculty, students and their parents in Eureka Springs, Ark.

Billed as “drug and alcohol awareness,” the assembly provoked some offended students and teachers to walk out. High school principal David Childers had to intervene on students’ behalf when two teachers ordered them back into the assembly.

After what a local newspaper termed a “musical assault” that exceeded decibel safety levels, speaker Bradlee Dean, founder of the Minneapolis-based group, spoke about his life as a reformed cocaine addict.

“Speaking at a blistering pace while writhing from one foot to the other, Dean shouted about homosexuality, abortion, divorce, single-parent families, liberal politicians, the news media, gun control, the Kennedy assassination, creationism, Christianity and the sanctity of virginity,” according to Lovely County Citizen. After the two-hour harangue, girls and boys were divided into separate groups. One girl walked out when a “Can’t Hide” staffer told girls they would be serving “leftovers” to husbands if they lost their virginity before marrying a “God-fearing man.”

Supt. Rick Wallis said he took “responsibility” for the fiasco. He said organizers misrepresented their program and he would not have invited them had he known about their “religious, right-wing message.”

The group drove a $100,000 rig out of town after the revival, according to the news account. It received $2,700 for the three-hour “rave” at the expense of the Eureka Springs School District, with federal funds via the state.

The group’s website lists as corporate sponsors Best Western, Wal-Mart, Sam’s Club, Super 8 Motel and Holiday Inn.

Freedom From Religion Foundation