Freethought Today · Vol. 28 No. 10 December 2011

Published by the Freedom From Religion Foundation, Inc.

In the news December 2011

Bullying law drops religious exemption

State Senate Republicans abandoned an anti-bullying bill dismissed as a “license to bully” by Democrats, and on Nov. 29 instead adopted a version approved by the state House, the Grand Rapids Press reported.

The measure, which requires all school districts to have anti-bullying policies, was signed into law Dec. 6 by Gov. Rick Snyder. The bill was named “Matt’s Safe School Law” for Matt Epling, a teen who killed himself in 2002 after years of bullying.

The Senate’s first version had a provision that exempted from the law “a statement of a sincerely held religious belief or moral conviction of a school employee, school volunteer, pupil, or a pupil’s parent or guardian.”

Democrats said that language “gutted” the bill and wouldn’t have protected gay students. Schools must institute a bullying policy within six months. Parents of all parties involved in an incident must be notified.


UK Girlguides could be God-free

The London Telegraph reported Nov. 20 that the Guide Association, aka Girlguiding UK, is considering dropping the phrase “to love my God” from its pledge for members. The pledge is is optional, but girls who don’t take it are barred from receiving some badges.

Several families objected to the current wording. Caroline Mason told the Association, “As a family, I am bringing up my children with strong morals, but no religious belief. This is our choice as parents, and I do not understand why my daughter should be excluded from something because of it.”

A spokesman said the Scout Association for boys doesn’t plan to review its pledge to do “duty to God and to the Queen.”


Man says refusing ‘666’ got him fired

Billy Hyatt alleges in a lawsuit that he was fired from a plastic plant near Dalton, Ga., because he wouldn’t wear a “666” sticker.

The Associated Press reported Nov. 18 that the sticker said the plant had been accident-free for 666 days, a number some Christians call “the mark of the beast,” meaning Satan.

Hyatt alleged he got more and more nervous as the number of accident-free days neared 666, fearing he would “be condemned to hell” if he wore it. He was suspended for three days for refusing to wear it and fired several days later, the suit claims.

He filed a complaint with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, which granted him the right to sue in August.

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